African Style: Homemade Bowls and Eating Utensils

Making bowls and eating utensils was once a necessity for survival, but now most of us buy the ready-made kind, fashioned from metal, ceramics, and glass. However, on a recent trip through Franschhoek, South Africa, I found a nice reminder of how beautiful natural, homemade things can be when I came across this table full of cooking and eating utensils made from a variety of natural materials:

1-decorative utensils

The bowls here are carved from horn:

2-horn bowls

And these spoons are made from a few different natural materials:


These spoons are made from shells with thick reeds attached for long handles:

4-oyster spoons

And these smaller decorative spoons are carved from bone, with the ones next to them carved from horn:

5-bone spoons

Beyond serving a basic function, many of the utensils here are also embellished with delicate beadwork. In a survival situation, I wouldn’t mind having a bowl for water, but I doubt that any of my carving or whittling efforts would turn out to be this beautiful!

Want to give it a try?
Read my article on the Survival Skills website:
“How to Make Improvised Cooking and Eating Utensils”

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara.

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