My Favorite Ladle

plate with ladle and other canning tools

I have a favorite ladle. You can see it in the photo above. On the day I snapped the photo I was making peach jelly and bread and butter pickles so it got quite the workout.

When The Deer Hunter and I got married someone got us a nice set of stainless serving utensils: a spoon, a slotted spoon, and a ladle. I still have them all and use the spoons all the time.

I used to use the ladle too, until my cousin Mary gave me one of her Daddy and Momma’s ladles: Uncle Woodrow and Aunt Fay.

I remember I brought it home and put it right on my counter along with other utensils I have sitting in a pitcher so that I could see it often and think of Fay and Woodrow.

The first time I was canning that year my usual ladle was dirty so I grabbed Fay and Woodrow’s.

From the first ladle I felt like Goldilocks who’d found the bed that was just right.

The ladle fit in my hand perfectly. It was long enough to reach into the bottom of my largest pot, but short enough to come out of the pot easily. I was pleased as punch when I noticed a little indention on one side of the ladle that lets you pour carefully if you want to.

Ever since that day I’ve used Aunt Fay and Uncle Woodrow’s ladle for canning. It almost makes me feel sorry for my old ladle that just hangs out on the counter.

The other night I dreamed about Uncle Woodrow. It was a crazy dream! He went from looking like Uncle Woodrow to looking like David Grisman with long grey hair. In the silliness of dreams I said “Uncle Woodrow why’d you let your hair grow out so long?” He said “Oh you know I’m just living the life.” Just for the record: Uncle Woodrow would have never said that nor would he have ever let his hair grow longer than his ears 🙂

When I awoke the next morning I thought it was weird that I dreamed of Woodrow when he’s been gone for so long, but as I canned my peach jelly and bread and butter pickles and studied on the ladle I realized it’s no wonder I dreamed about Uncle Woodrow. He’s been helping me put up stuff all summer.


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  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    I too so appreciate getting to use something that belonged to my Mama, MeMama,Granny’s …. something they used to cook many meals … it’s something special 🙂

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 1, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Remember when slate was the color that everybody had to have? No? You probably aren’t old enough. My wife bought a set of slate blue plastic serving spoons, forks and stuff. Included was a spatula. All that set is gone by the wayside except for that spatula. It has worn out several sets of pots and pans and other kitchenware. Still it lives. The handle is creased from being laid in the edge of many a hot skillet. The shaft has lost its shine and is now a rusty red. But the head, if you call it that is as good as the day Yvonne brought it home. It works great in nonstick cookware. It works even better in cast iron where it would seem unnecessary.
    So if you come to my house and rummage through my drawers you’ll see an antique slate blue plastic spatula. Don’t think it was overlooked at a yard sale. It is one of my most prized possessions.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 1, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    I have three ladles. Two are relatively new plastic ones. The third as an old aluminum “dipper” like used to be in or beside the water bucket. Which do I use when I am canning something? Neither! I use a teacup. I have trouble controlling the long handled ladle. The teacup holds about the same amount and with it I get most of the product into the funnel. Notice I said “most”. I tend to be a little messy when I try to can. Strike that! Replace “a little” with a lot.

  • Reply
    Gina Lee Smith
    August 1, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    I just love this story on so many levels.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 1, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    I’ve never had a Ladle, ever. I’m guessing that red tipped thing in the center is a Ladle, right beside the Canning Funnel that is aluminum. My girls never can anything, they just wait on daddy to share stuff with them. Since I quit having a garden, that has stopped also. I hurt my back in about 5 years ago, and it’s so I can’t bend over, like I use to.

    But I have never been a Big Canner of anything. I canned tomatoes a lot, probably about 60 quarts of which I gave my Girls a couple of boxes. My girlfriend, Jean has a canner, so she cans my green beans that are already broken up. She takes them back to Cleveland and in a few days, brings them back canned. I share tomatoes with her, too. It’s a good feeling to see that stuff all lined up on a counter, and knowing (with God’s help)”I did it My way”, as ole Blue Eyes would say.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      August 1, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      Ken, that red tipped thing is a jar scraper, sometimes called a spatula. It’s used to poke around in the jars and get all the air pockets out. The ladle is the thing with the wooden handle.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 1, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    well, I don’t have a ladle but I got one special thing of Dads. Although I received many of his tools they aren’t as important to me as his 20 ga. shotgun. We grouse hunted together 40 some years and my personal shotgun was just like his, but his is special to me. I’ll pass it down to my Grandson.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Wow, what do you put in your pickles to dream like that?

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 11:10 am

    What a precious story, Tipper. I certainly can relate to it as I love to use my Mother’s iron skillet, little paring knife and case knife. She had six sisters and I have something special from each one. When I use my Aunt Mary’s colander and cake saver, I think of her and the good times we had. Each one was a good cook. I have had dreams of the little town I grew up in and my three aunts and cousins that lived nearby. They are sweet remembrances of wonderful family.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    August 1, 2019 at 9:32 am

    What a sweet story. It’s funny how people that are no longer here or that are out of our lives creep back into our mind now and again.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 9:19 am

    When I use Mom’s iron skillets (she never called then cast iron, just iron) I enjoy the feeling of knowing my hands are touching something her hands touched thousands of times. The older folks treasured their possessions and would be delighted to know we are still using them.

    • Reply
      August 1, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      I have Mama’s mixing bowls, and every time I or my husband use them, we feel the love. And pies baked in her pie plates taste extra special.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 1, 2019 at 8:48 am

    There ought to be, and probably is, a name for things that are a connection to treasured persons, places or events. Not ‘mementos’ because to me that means just something to look at and not use. But then again, maybe the best way is to leave it to each individual.

    Your post reminds me of a YouTube video I watched yesterday, an interview with Mark Miller, a master blacksmith and gunsmith at Wilderness Road (Martin’s Station) State Park in Virginia. (It is at Rose Hill about 13 miles east of Cumberland Gap.) Mark was talking about his tools and said that though they were all originally bought he had re-made several to exactly serve his need and now they were ‘perfect’. I expect he is very careful of them.

  • Reply
    Roy Vann Helms
    August 1, 2019 at 8:26 am

    I swear I have that same ladle. It was Mama’s, and she’s been gone 25 years. Very special to me…

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    August 1, 2019 at 7:48 am

    I have Mama’s metal canning funnel–very like yours! I love having things from the older folks; they bring back such wonderful memories.

    I have a favorite butcher knife that’s about as old as my marriage. As you say, it fits my hand perfectly. My husband has replaced the handle once so I could keep using it. My mother-in-law had a knife that had worn thin from years of use & sharpening. It finally broke–it was her favorite and I felt sorry for her.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    August 1, 2019 at 7:28 am

    I think we all have our favorites. I have a funnel like yours that was my mom’s. I use it all the time when I make jelly or can. And I use a set of old aluminum measuring spoons that I’ve had for years. I love them. Year’s ago I noticed that Mom and Dad’s egg turner had a broken handle, so I got them a new one. They continued using the one with the broken handle, I guess it was a favorite. As a side note – that’s looks like a Fiesta platter. I love Fiesta dishes!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 1, 2019 at 7:24 am

    I understand that completely, Tip. I have things that I become attached to just because the feel right, look right, work right, or belonged to someone special. Not quite sure how that comes about but I know it does and I’m glad it happens. It’s like a secret special feeling that is all my own!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 7:06 am

    What a nice story. I feel the same way about my grandmother’s butcher knife.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 1, 2019 at 6:36 am

    I have certain items i use to keep one of my relatives close. A sweet story thank you

    • Reply
      Aaron Patterson
      August 1, 2019 at 3:55 pm

      My mom loved her square egg maker and I use it frequently to impress.

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