Over the Spoon, located on the 4th floor of Mill No. 5, is often bustling during open hours, as an exciting stop for both new and experienced home cooks. However, during the holiday season with customers looking for gifts or to replace or expand their own tools, this shop is the place to be. The owner, Claire, works to meet the needs of her customers, be it a new chef’s knife, a new cast iron pan, or even cake decorating tools. She focuses on making meaningful connections with her customers and enjoys getting to know their food ways, how they like to cook and what they are trying to achieve.
After completing the Merrimack Valley EforAll business accelerator program in 2018, she determined there was a need to supply home cooks in the Merrimack Valley with quality and affordable cooking and baking supplies. Approaching her 4th year in business, she is always looking for ways to meaningfully expand upon her selection. And speaking of selection, Over the Spoon is full of locally made products such as Sweet Lydia’s marshmallows and hot chocolate, handmade serving platters, and ceramics from several local studios. Claire has a personal interest in the diversity of the human palate and strives to meet the needs of Lowell as a culturally diverse area. To this end, she carries culturally relevant items from many counties such as Mexico, Morocco, Thailand, Japan, and many more. She feels that surrounding yourself with functional and aesthetic tools that bring you joy, can transform cooking from a chore into a salient and intimate expression of yourself. As you walk through her shop, you will see that she sources products that do what they do very well but that are also beautiful or pleasing in some way to use.
Often, when we think about DIY, we think about the garage, but for Claire, the first DIY space for everyone is the kitchen – where families take raw ingredients and create something truly special. Cooking and baking is a manual process, working with your hands to create something new. “We make food for our families, and I feel like that’s really important, especially today where things are so digital and removed from life and biology. We still need to eat. We still need to cook, and it’s intimate, too. You put your time in, you use your hands, maybe some tools, and then you feed it to your family and your loved ones, your friends. It’s a love language.”
But she does agree that the digital world has a place in the kitchen. With the emergence of technology and the ability to search for a new recipe online, or to be inspired by something you see on a screen, it now enables us to expand our repertoire at home and to learn from some of the greatest chefs in the world. “We’re in a time period where we have nearly every spice available to us from either a short drive away or a two-day wait. And it’s wild.” says Claire.
Holiday cooking, specifically preparing big feasts with all the trimmings, is what Claire likes to cook the best, but when there isn’t a big turkey to roast, you can find her batch-cooking her favorite chili or soup; and you can bet she uses the products from her own store to take her cooking up a notch.