This is a story of two spoons, one French, the other English. La cuillère à café was petite yet shapely, designed to stir a tiny cup and bring small, delicate tastes to elegant rosebud bouches. The other implement was a practical sort, the more generously endowed cuillère à thé. Despite their similar functions, between the coffee spoon and the teaspoon there was not a drop of comprehension.
“Pardonnez-moi, Mademoiselle,” said the coffee spoon. “Around here we take our coffee in thimble-sized tasses. You are rather too hefty for our liking.”
“Well, excusez-moi,” said the teaspoon, polishing her accent. “I am much appreciated all over the world for my spoonful of sugar. And I’m a whizz at scooping breakfast cereal. You may look pretty but you are clearly not up to snuff.”
“Pfft! I can assure you my lineage is sterling. Not only do I stir with the best but I am used at many fine French tables with dessert.”
“Dessert? But that is the job of the fork.”
“La fourchette to eat dessert?” scoffed the coffee spoon. “Ma pauvre cousine, quel manque d’éducation!”
“You sure talk fancy in French but you strike me as a bit of a lightweight. How much do you weigh, exactly?”
And that is when things got rather ugly. They scooped and clashed and poor teaspoon, for all her heaping size, rather swooned. La cuillère à café was petite but she packed a good punch.
“I shall leave this place and never return,” declared teaspoon, defeated. And off she went, accompanied by a dish.
And it was ainsi.
The moral of the story? Here in France the cuillère à café, also known as la petite cuillère, is commonly used for coffee and dessert. If you, like me, feel the need for the heftier teaspoon, you will have to import it.
Do you prefer to eat dessert with a spoon or a fork?