Elevate Difference

Spouted Lazy Ladle

Chicago has ample historical precedent for soup kitchens and breadlines, manifestations of want that more may revisit in our bright shiny here and now. Gangster Al Capone even sponsored one as a public relations boost after the 1929 crash—no word on whether Scarface spooned out minestrone or his grandmother's Italian Wedding Soup recipe. Seeing that everything old might be new again, it's splendid to note that there are many socially conscious soup opportunities in the Chicagoland area. Unfortunately, I missed the season for the Hideout's weekly Soup-on-Wednesdays fundraisers for the Chicago Food Depository, but they're scheduled to resume in the fall. If you'd like to help out in the interim, the recently downsized can donate their time and stay out of trouble by bagging donated foodstuffs or serving soup at sites listed at the CFD's website. Also, Jane Addams Hull House Museum sponsors a Soup-and-Conversation series at lunchtime on Tuesdays, and the area arts organization INCUBATE coordinates a Sunday soup brunch that doubles as micro-grant arts funding.

Whether you're scooping soup for the public good, or serving your own homemade freegan or marked-down culinary efforts, it's nice to know that you can do so with a tool that is actually a work of art. William Morris observed, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” and this is among my favorite injunctions. The site eco-artware.com offers unusual, solid, ecologically aware and artfully crafted items for all parts of life. The Spouted Lazy Ladle is a smoothly designed utensil that combines usefulness and aesthetics, and the wild cherry spoon was sanded to a satiny finish by artist Jonathon Simons. Also, this wooden spoon promises not to drip on the stovetop or scald. I frequently question the social role of the Arts, so finding things that combine usefulness and beauty are an encouragement. Right now, it appears that we could use all the encouragement we can get.

Written by: Erika Mikkalo, May 9th 2009