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18th April 2019

"Families gather around food, and this wooden spoon has led me to new and old ones" - Arielle Cottingham reflects on Poetry Object 2019

By Arielle Cottingham

Read and listen to Arielle's poem 'Ode to a Wooden Spoon'

Learn more about Arielle

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I have left home a number of times, going increasingly further each time, much to my parents’ dismay. There is a safety in numbers, and though my parents moved many times in their own childhoods, they always did so with family. For their eldest daughter to strike out alone, almost always to a place where there would be no safety net of family, well – to this day, my mother calls me brave.

Every time I have left home, she has sent with me some useful kitchen item, and a wooden spoon turned up once in between rolled-up jackets and jeans. I’ve used that wooden spoon to cook more communal meals than I can count at this point, eight or nine years since the first time I left home to travel. Families gather around food, and the wooden spoon my mother gifted me has led me to new and old ones and helped me feed them all.