Did you eat ‘strawberry milk’ when you were growing up? It was huge in the 70s in Japan (along with mini-skirts and permed hair), and I begged my mother to buy us the ‘strawberry spoons’ that were perfectly designed to squish the strawberries in the milk with their flat bottoms.
As a little girl, I always believed that “strawberries sprinkled with sugar and squished in milk” was a fancy western way to eat strawberries. But now that I think of it, I’ve never seen anyone eat strawberries in this way in the U.S. or Europe.
According to my parents’ generation, strawberries that first became available to the general public in Japan in the post war Showa era were extremely sour and so the Japanese concocted ‘strawberry milk’ as a way to enjoy this sour fruit.
Eyeing the massive demand for a utensil that efficiently squashed strawberries in milk, the ‘strawberry spoon’ was created in 1960 by Kobayashi Kogyo Co., a cutlery manufacturer in Niigata prefecture, and their ‘Romance’ line of cutlery received the prestigious Good Design Award in 1974. So this company joins the ranks of Japanese titans like Sony and Toyota as the pioneers of Japanese style.
This marvelous invention lessoned the likelihood of strawberries slipping or flying out of the bowl across the table, which saved the day for a lot of busy Japanese parents.
And the best part is when all the squished strawberries are eaten, you get to drink the sweet strawberry milk straight from the bowl!