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Object of Desire: Alice Waters’s Egg Spoon from Permanent Collection


Object of Desire: Alice Waters’s Egg Spoon from Permanent Collection

March 26, 2018

Around this time last year, just before Easter, we shared the tale of chef Alice Waters’s storied iron egg spoon (see The Legendary Egg Spoon of Alice Waters and Fanny Singer, Easter Edition for more). Waters had the utensil made by an ironsmith in San Francisco after reading about an egg roasting technique in a 2002 book by food writer William Rubel: “I saw it in a book about the magic of fire,” Alice told me last year, “with illustrations on cooking in the fireplace around the world. There was a spoon, and an egg in the spoon, and I said, ‘Oh, how beautiful—I can cook an egg in a spoon.’”

Thanks to a new version now in production, you, too, can cook an egg in a spoon. The object is made by Permanent Collection, a lifestyle brand founded by Alice’s daughter Fanny Singer and her friend Mariah Nielson (daughter of famed California artist J. B. Blunk), whose artistic homewares, clothing, and jewelry are designed for a lifetime of use, egg spoon included.

Photography by Terri Loewenthal, courtesy of Permanent Collection.

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Above: Chef Alice Waters, of famed restaurant Chez Panisse, in her Berkeley, California, kitchen—Permanent Collection egg spoon in hand. (See A Berkeley Kitchen Tour with Alice Waters and Fanny Singer for more, including an envy-inducing copper sink.)
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Above: Alice’s Egg Spoon is made of iron, hand-forged by Alameda, California, blacksmith Shawn Lovell. The spoon is $310 at Permanent Collection. 

Five percent of the sale of every spoon will be donated to The Edible Schoolyard Project, a nonprofit founded by Alice in 1995 whose aim is to ensure an “edible education” and free lunch for every student of American public schools.

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Above: The original hearth-cooked egg recipe calls for salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil. Alice adds paprika to her version.

Alice Waters was inspired to find an egg-cooking spoon after reading William Rubel’s The Magic of Fire: Hearth Cooking in 2004. She commissioned the original iron egg spoon from her friend Angelo Garro of Renaissance Forge in San Francisco.

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Above: Last year, Fanny shared with us her mother’s recipe for the flame-fried egg: Make an “oven” of logs over a small bed of coals so heat envelops the spoon on all sides. When the coals are hot and the logs aflame, heat the spoon, add a little olive oil and the egg, and slide it into the oven. “It puffs up like a little soufflé,” said Fanny. “It’s kind of amazing the way the egg reacts to the multidirectional heat.”
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Above: On the off-chance you lack a wood-burning hearth at home, Permanent Collection’s egg spoon is helpfully designed for use in either the fireplace or over a gas stove.
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Above: The heirloom-quality spoon can also be used as a ladle.
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Above: We asked Fanny to compare the Original Spoon to the new design: The cup of Permanent Collection’s version is “perfectly circular and a touch deeper, so it holds the egg in the center and allows it to puff more evenly,” she says. “It also holds the egg more securely, which is really what makes stovetop cooking possible.”
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Above: Alice’s Egg Spoon is about 21 inches long and weighs a pound; its handle bears the insignia of its maker, Shawn Lovell.

N.B.: The egg spoon has stirred some controversy of late; read on in The New York Times.

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