I need a new cocktail spoon. I left my last one at a vacation house, and one can’t be a good host without proper barware. For this sort of gear, one could go to fancy shops like Williams-Sonoma or The Boston Shaker, but it’s a cocktail spoon. There isn’t much call to be fancy. No, for these everyday tools, my first stop is China Fair.
China Fair is located out on a bit of a no-man’s land in North Cambridge, between Porter Square and Davis. The store looks unassuming from the outside, but inside it’s a bit of a treasure trove, albeit a rough-hewn one. Many of today’s kitchen stores try to pamper the consumer, using soft lighting and glistening appliances to sell cooking as this tidy, pleasant enterprise. China Fair doesn’t bother with that illusion. Here, cooking is work, and they sell you tools and they sell it cheaply.
There are boxes everywhere, almost straight off the loading truck, all open and all allowing you to see what you’re actually buying. Dinnerware and glasses to the left, knives and instruments in the back, pots and pans to the right. More in the basement. I find my cocktail spoon in a cardboard box filled with others. Its price is $ 1, and it is a bit dusty, but that’s not a big deal. Dust washes off, but a good deal is forever.