Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Wooden Cooking Spoon and Why You Should Care

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the humble wooden spoon. After all, it’s just a spoon, right? Well, as it turns out, there’s a lot more to this kitchen staple than meets the eye. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the wooden cooking spoon and find out why it just might be the best all-around kitchen tool.

Wooden Spoons

A History Of The Wooden Spoon

The history of the wooden spoon is long and storied. Wooden spoons have been used for since prehistoric times, and they remain a popular kitchen tool today. The first documented use of a wooden spoon is in the 4th century AD. A wooden spoon was found in the Royal Tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun and is estimated to be over 3,300 years old. These early spoons were carved from a single piece of wood and had a long handle with a flat, paddle-like head. These early spoons were crudely made and not very durable. However, they served their purpose and were used for centuries by cooks all over Europe.

Beechwood spoons for cooking didn’t gain widespread popularity in the United States until the early 1900s. By then, they were mass-produced and widely available. Today, they are still made in both France and Italy from French beechwood and Italian olive wood.

Beechwood Spoon

How to Make A Beechwood Spoon

The process of making a wooden spoon is relatively simple, but it does require a bit of patience and skill. The first step is to select the right piece of wood for the project. The wood should be sturdy, but also flexible enough to be carved. Once the wood is selected, it needs to be cut into the desired shape and size. This can be done with a saw, or even a sharp knife.

Carving a Wooden Spoon

Next, the rough edges of the spoon need to be smoothed out. This can be done with a sandpaper or other grinding tool. Once the spoon has been smoothed out, it’s time to start carving. This can be done with a variety of tools, such as a chisel or a knife. The carver will need to use careful strokes and pay attention to the details in order to create a properly shaped spoon.

Finally, the spoon needs to be finished and polished. This can be done with a variety of materials, such as beeswax, lacquer or varnish. The spoon can then be ready to use!

Pros: Many Benefits Using A Wooden Spoon

Wooden spoons are a kitchen essential for many reasons. Here are the many reasons why wooden spoons are a must-have in your kitchen:

  • Wooden spoons are generally less expensive than other kitchen utensils made of metal or silicone.
  • They are versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks, from stirring soups and sauces to scrambling eggs.
  • They are heat-resistant and can be used to cook on the stovetop without fear of melting or warping. They won’t burn your hand if left in a boiling pot like most metal and plastic utensils.
  • Wooden spoons are non-stick, which makes them great for stirring and scraping bowls and pots clean.
  • They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for every job.
  • Wooden spoons and spatulas are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, unlike some other kitchen utensils made from plastic or metal.
  • Wood is easy to clean – just hand wash with warm soapy water and air dry.
  • Wooden tools won’t scratch your cookware like metal utensils can. Non-stick and copper cookware will not be damaged.
  • Because they will not cause damage, the chef can use more force to scrape the bottom of a bowl or pan with a wooden cooking spoon.
  • Spoons and spatulas made from wood add a touch of rustic charm to your kitchen décor displayed on the counter in a crock or other utensil holder.
  • And lastly, they just feel good in your hand – they’re warm, smooth, sturdy, and cozy!
Wooden Spoons and Spatulas

Cons: Not Many

There are a few drawbacks to using beechwood spoons, however. They can be more expensive than other types of spoons, and they require special care to prevent them from splitting or cracking. But if you’re looking for a sturdy, handsome spoon that will last for years, a wooden one is the way to go.

  • A wooden spoon can warp or split if it is exposed to too much heat.
  • Anyone who has cooked with a wooden spoon knows that they can be a little finicky. They can warp or split if exposed to too much heat, and they require special care if you want them to last. .
  • A wooden spoon can also absorb the flavors of the foods it is cooking with. But do not fret! Just wash with warm soapy water and air dry and you are good to go on your next culinary adventure!
  • A beechwood spoon will discolor. This isn’t really a con because it’s normal and will not effect the spoon’s performance.
Wooden Spoons

Our Conclusion: Buy One!

In summary, there are a few basic reasons why using a wood spoon is recommended when cooking. Firstly, a wooden spoon will not scratch or damage your pots and pans like metal utensils can. Secondly, a wooden spoon is a natural insulator and will not conduct heat as quickly as metal utensils, meaning that you can use it for longer without burning your hands. Finally, wooden spoons are easy to clean and do not harbour bacteria like plastic spoons can.

So there you have it—everything you need to know about wood spoons! Next time you’re in the market for a new spoon, don’t discount this kitchen staple; it just might be the best option for your needs. Thanks for reading!

The Perpetual Salad Dressing

Monday, April 26th, 2021

As you might already be able to tell from our blog, I love giving out my best tips on making the tastiest salads. Here is another one of my favorite closely-guarded recipes I call my “Perpetual Salad Dressing”—it’s perpetual because you never run out!

As you use the salad dressing, you continually add and replenish ingredients like rice wine, balsamic vinegar, first-press olive oil, fresh garlic, cracked black pepper and salt. There are no rules so you can add more or less of any of the ingredients, or add your own ingredients like red pepper flakes.

I have a confession to make: I use Lawry’s seasoned pepper and garlic salt. While I love the simple taste that freshly ground pepper and sea salt bring to a recipe, I am also very much into easy, simple and tasty ingredients. Lawry’s blended spices are easy and add a little more ‘zip’ than just plain salt and pepper.


  • 32 oz bottle of Marukan seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 oz balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1-2 oz olive oil (or to taste)
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt


You can make this concoction right in the Marukan bottle or use an empty bottle that reseals. Add all the ingredients into the bottle and SHAKE! Yes, this is a complicated and difficult recipe (joking).

Note: if you do use the Marukan bottle as your container you will have to pour off enough of the rice wine vinegar to accommodate the other ingredients. Use the poured off vinegar later when you need to pour more into the bottle.

This is a delicious a vinaigrette that is slightly sweet and refreshing. It can be used on other foods like fresh veggies or grilled seafood (yes, it is that versatile).

There you go – another easy secret recipe that will make you look like a star!

One Pot Pasta: The Best Comfort Food Ever

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

You can buy good pasta but when you cook it yourself it has another feeling.” 

Life is a combination of magic and pasta! To all the pasta lovers out there, we know your life  revolves around a warm and hearty bowl of delicious goodness. If we’re being honest, so does ours.

No matter how you enjoy your pasta, one thing this spectacular dish never fails to do is provide comfort. So, here are some delicious recipes you won’t want to miss.

What are they? These are super-quick pasta dishes that will be ready to eat within 20 to 30 minutes to fulfill your sudden pasta cravings. Imagine a no clean up dinner (or afternoon snack, we don’t judge) – all cooked in one pot.

3 One-Pot Pasta Recipes to Save Your Day 

These recipes will save you from all the trouble of cleaning several dishes, cooking ingredients separately, and all the hassle that comes with it. 

1. One-pot Lemon Shrimp Pasta

Take 12ounces of Linguine, 1 bunch of kale leaves (remember to tear them apart), 1 can of  cannellini beans (rinse and drain them), a quarter teaspoon of lemon zest, 2tablespoons olive  oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 4 ½ cups of water. Add all  these ingredients to a straight-sided skillet and let it boil over high heat. Use tongs to turn the  pasta every now and then for the first 5 minutes, so they do not become sticky. Next, add 1  pound raw and peeled shrimp and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated off, and the  shrimp turn opaque. Now, pour the pasta into a serving bowl and add lemon juice or spices as  you like. 

2. One-pot Spicy Sausage and Tomato Pasta 

Another finger-licking pasta recipe for you guys. Take 12 ounces linguine, 1 can of diced  tomatoes (must be fire-roasted), a cup of basil leaves, 12 ounces smoked Andouille sausage  (preferably cut into 1/2 inch pieces, 2teaspoon kosher salt, 2tablespoons olive oil, and  1/2teaspoon ground black pepper. Combine the ingredients in a straight-sided skillet and boil  the mixture until the pasta is well-cooked. Remember to turn the pasta every other minute with a  pasta tong for the initial 5 minutes. It will prevent sticking. In 8 to 10 minutes, when the water  has almost evaporated, pour it in your pasta bowl and enjoy with your favorite seasonings. 

3. The Original One-pot Pasta
This is where it all started. To make this game-changer pasta recipe, you would have to unite 12  ounces linguine pasta, 12 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 onion cut into thin slices,  4 thinly sliced cloves of garlic, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 2 sprigs of basil, 2 teaspoons of  salt, and 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, along with 4 ½ cups of water. Take all of this in a  straight-sided skillet and boil the ingredients until the pasta is cooked and all the water has  almost evaporated from the pot, around 9 minutes. Note to use pasta tongs frequently for 5  minutes to prevent your pasta from sticking on each other. Serve it in a pasta bowl, hot and  smoky. Grate some Parmesan cheese on the cheeseboard and top your delicious pasta with  some cheese and basil, and a dash of olive oil.

Which one will you choose first? No matter the day or type of pasta, we have the perfect bowls for you! Check out our Acaciawood Bowls and French Wood Serveware for your next pasta-filled evening. Yum!

Sushi: More Than Raw Fish

Monday, March 1st, 2021

Sushi came into existence around the second century A.D. when there was a need to keep meat preserved and fresh without the availability of advanced machines, like refrigerators. Thus, the inventors came up with an idea to wrap the fish in rice. Several myths regard sushi as just simple raw fish. When in reality sushi is much more than rice and fish!

To many, sushi is a form of art. Here are some facts about sushi that we bet you’ve never heard…

Fun Facts About Sushi

Sushi was not invented in Japan.  Yes, you read that correctly! Sushi was originally invented by the Southeast Asian people. The fish wrap came from the areas surrounding the Mekong River. From there, it reached China and later, Japan. People around these countries became aware of Sushi somewhere in the mid 1800s. 

It has various health benefits.  Sushi is full of ingredients that benefit our physical health and body. It contains Omega-3  fats (healthy fats) and does not have any adverse impacts on our health. Nori (seaweed) is a rich source of iodine that improves the thyroid and gives Vitamin A  to the body. What more could you ask for?

The sushi rice was discarded in the early days  When sushi was first introduced to mankind, people used to throw away the rice that was wrapped around the fish, and would only consume the fish. Who knew?

Sushi was used as currency. When it first emerged, sushi was considered a highly prized possession. In AD 8th Century in  Japan, people used sushi to pay their taxes. Imagine how cool would that be! 

Different Types of Sushi.

Here are the most common:

Nigirizushi is a thin slice of fish is hand-pressed on top of the sushi rice, along with different vegetables or omelets. 

Inarizushi is a pouch of fried tofu which is filled with sushi rice. The overall flavor is on the sweet side.

Makizushi is one of the most common types of sushi and you have probably seen it, or even eaten it on many occasions. The rice and filling are rolled within seaweed. Let the good times roll! 

Narezushi is the earliest form of sushi. The fish is fermented with rice, and the rice is thrown away before  consumption. 

Oshizushi describes the toppings that are layered onto each other one by one. The sushi is then cut into different  shapes, such as rectangles, triangles, etc. 

Chirashizushi where th rice is served in a bowl, covered with different vegetables. 

Is Sashimi a type of sushi? 

No, Sashimi is quite different from Sushi. It has raw, thin slices of fish, typically salmon or tuna.  Sashimi is not served with rice, but with daikon radish.

No matter which way you slice it, sushi is a winner in our books. Be sure to serve up your sushi on your favorite Acaciaware plate from Pacific Merchants. Yum!

Super Bowl Sunday: Pandemic Edition

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Arguably one of the best parts of the Super Bowl is the food. We’re pulling out all of our Acacia Wood serving sets for the big day. The cold weather calls for meatballs, wings, home-made dips and tons of chips and refreshements. 

The cold weather calls for a warm dip to celebrate the big day! We are loving the Warm Ranch Crack Dip from Wholesome Yum. This creamy dip is perfect for indulging – filled with ranch, sour cream, cream cheese, bacon, cheddar and so much more. Not to worry, this dip is gluten free and low carb. Score!

Whether you’re a party of one or hosting a Covid-19 safe get together, we encourage you to set the table with our USA Placemats and most importantly, have a great time. 

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! ?

The Team at Pacific Merchants Trading Company

I missed National French Fries Day! You Say Potato…

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

I cannot believe I missed National French Fry Day. Forget about the fact I am on the keto diet, this is a landmark day. One may ask “where did French fries come from anyways?”. Funny I was thinking the exact same thing so I Googled. My research found an international dispute between Belgium and France. (you gotta be kidding me).

The Belgian version

This is where historians claim potatoes were being fried in the late-1600s. According to local Belgian lore, poor villagers living in Meuse Valley often ate small fried fish they caught in the river. … And just like that, the earliest French fries were born. How quaint! -Google

The French version

It is disputed but One enduring origin story holds that french fries were invented by street vendors on the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris in 1789, just before the outbreak of the French Revolution. However, a reference exists in France from 1775 to “a few pieces of fried potato” and to “fried potatoes”. Where the heck is the Pont Neuf bridge? -Wikipedia

Bruce’s Version

One may then ask “Bruce, where is all of this headed? Why are you so obsessed with fries?”. Listen, when you have been on a keto diet for two weeks then National French Fries Day rolls around (or anything fried for that matter) and this is a trigger to all sorts of culinary mischief.

I mean McDonald’s still hold their own. Then there is Fat Burger and In & Out, although In & Out fries harden to a rock formation if not eaten within 10 minutes or ordering them “animal style (above). Of course the classic curly cue fries from Burger King are up at the top of delish.

As I mentioned I am ‘doing’ Keto. I yearn for a potato skin fry, or sweet potato fries, or fries from the Apple Pan or chili cheese fries from Tommy’s, both local favorites. Fries are delicious plain or with ketchup or mustard, or tartar sauce, not to mention cheese whiz and blue cheese dressing. French fries are something not to be fooled with but then again I’m not obsessed.

National Candy Month – Don’t Feel Guilty!

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Who can complain about a month (yes a month) of consuming copious amounts of sugar that a diabetic would envy? Is it even possible to write about such a broad subject? No it’s not. So I am going to focus on M&Ms and Chocolate Kisses.

The obvious one to start with is M&Ms. Right off the bat you have regular and peanut. It’s a very simple choice though. Either pure chocolate or pure chocolate with a hint of healthy. You can justify eating M&Ms with peanuts as I believe it goes with every diet, even the Keto. Peanuts have those good fats, no?

Then there are plain M&Ms whereby you can take a handful, put them in your mouth all at once and just let them sit. They start to melt into a chocolate liquid reminding me of Willie Wonka, transforming little candies into a chocolate nectar for the gods.

Now let’s focus on kisses for a moment. First off they have an epic name. Secondly, the foil is fun and easy to remove. Third, Hershey’s chocolate in the form of a dollop is an efficient transfer of chocolate into the body. Try shoving as many as you can into your mouth at the same time and it will blow your mind. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

I really can’t see going further with this analysis. I poured both in our Ying-Yang bowl and there was an almost a natural balance, not to mention a reason for taking a photo that required me to purchase both. Can you say sugar high? Namaste.

Social Distancing: BBQ Chicken Or Tri-Tip?

Friday, May 1st, 2020

During the stay safe at home period, I have had a time to think. I am OK with washing my hands, wearing a mask and social distancing. The one thing I will not do however is social distance from my Weber BBQ.

Thinking can be a good or bad thing and I am not sure if pitting BBQ chicken against tri-tip is the best way to vent energy. But think about it. Chicken is moist and tender with a smokey flavor imparted by the hot mesquite coals. It comes in many forms: breast, thighs, drumettes, all delicious if properly grilled.

Then there’s tri-tip, a red meat that has marbling, making it perfect for my Weber grill. It is one of my favorite meats to barbecue and I like the fact you can have well, medium and rare all in one roast!

Thinking about the pros and cons of barbecued meats is one way to spend time when locked down. I can’t help myself. But hey! I received a tri-tip and chicken in my grocery delivery today so I guess I’m grilling both tonight, without a mask.

Vegan Crock-Pot Chili: Who Knew There Would Be A Shortage of Chili Powder?

Monday, April 13th, 2020

When the going gets tough, the tough make chili. The tough are also lazy hence the crock pot. Many of us are finding ourselves at home where the highlight for the day is scoring a good time for instacart to deliver groceries….one week from now. So we stick with the basics ordering foods that have a high probability of being in stock. Who knew there would be a shortage of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chili powder??

Our vegan crock-pot chili is easy prep, nutritious, and absolutely delicious. You just toss things together, not too mentally challenging but that’s what I personally need – no thinking.

Vegan Crock-Pot Chili


  • One 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can 8 oz. veggie broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 8 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 chilies in adobo
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bag of chopped frozen peppers & onions (fresh works too)
  • 1 can red beans
  • 1 block soy meat crumble
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Splash of cinnamon
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Lots of minced garlic
  • Garnish:
    • Cilantro
    • ½ lime


  1. Throw all ingredients into a Crock-Pot or slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours on low.
  2. Squeeze the half lime over the chili once done, and garnish with cilantro to taste.

National Cold Cut Day – The Earl Of Sandwich

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Today is national Cold Cut Day. One might ask why? I mean cold cuts are bomb but aren’t they full of nitrates, salt and other preservatives that have been proven hideously unhealthy? Not to be a buzz kill but hey, it is what it is.

Now that I have written my disclaimer I will admit that I LOVE COLD CUTS! They are what make a deli a real deli, whether Jewish or Italian. One can judge the personality of strangers by what they order at a deli. The daring order tongue. Passive people order smoked turkey. To me, corned beef is the key to living. Deli sandwiches have a history and it starts with the invention of the Sandwich.

Deli meats were created in Europe in the 1700s thanks to the Earl of Sandwich, who populared the “sandwich” concept. I wonder if they had peanut butter and jelly back then?

But I digress: as defined by the web site Mobile Cuisine, “cold cuts are precooked or cured meat, often sausages or meat loaves, that are sliced and served cold or hot on sandwiches or on party trays.” Here are few facts listed on the MobileCuisine.Com web site:

  • March 3rd (TODAY) is National Cold Cuts Day.
  • Americans annually eat about $2 billion worth of cold cuts per year.
  • Most pre-sliced cold cuts are higher in fat, nitrates, and sodium than those that are sliced to order.
  • One of the most well known cold cuts in the United States is bologna. Named for the Italian city of the same name, bologna is similar to an Italian sausage called Mortadella.
  • Every year, the Butterball plant processes about 12-15 million turkeys, into cold cuts.
  • Head cheese, which really isn’t cheese at all, is made from head meat including tongue and snout.
  • Synonyms for Cold Cuts: lunch meats, luncheon meats, sandwich meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, and cold meats.
  • The customers of Carnegie Deli in NYC eat up to 10,000 pounds of pastrami a week.

So SPLURGE – make a sandwich to celebrate the Earl Of Sandwich!

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