Cawl (more of that another time) was traditionally eaten with a wooden spoon. If, like me, you don’t fancy the idea of eating soup from the sort of wooden spoon you might use for stirring cake mixture, let me assure you that the texture of the wood used was very different. Cawl spoons were hard and got shiny with use and age. The right wood made all the difference. Here’s a quiz to check whether, as far as wood is concerned, you know what’s what. You’ll find the answers in small print at the end.
Which of the following:
Poplar, Ebony, Cedar, Sweet-Chestnut, Boxwood, Balsa, Oak, Willow, Teak, Ash, Hornbeam, Sycamore, has been used to make:
- Cawl spoons
- Skittles, croquet mallets, chessmen and shuttles in the silk industry
- Ornamental bowls and kitchen utensils, walking sticks, umbrella handles and casks for oils and fats
- Musical instruments, especially pianos, clavichords and harpsichords. Also drum sticks and billiard cues
- Hockey sticks, baseball bats, cricket stumps, tool handles
- Insulating material, packaging
- Church furniture and mining timber
- Ship decking, rails and hatches
- Cigar boxes and sounding boards for organs
- Cricket bats and artificial limbs
- Tool handles, door knobs, violin finger boards and pegs, piano and organ keys.
Answers (based on a close reading of ‘The Handbook of Hardwoods, published by HMSO’) below: