© Denzil Green
Wooden Spoons are large utility spoons for the kitchen made, usually, from a single piece of wood. The wood will always be hardwood.
The back of the bowl of Wooden Spoons is thicker than that of metal or plastic spoons. Some people feel this gives these spoons an advantage, because unlike the thinner-backed spoons, they don't cut into a mixture, but rather just stir it. Many recipes in fact will specify that you should use a wooden spoon.
Wooden Spoons can be used to prevent scratching non-stick surfaces, or when working with ingredients that can react with metal. They won't melt on you if accidentally left in a frying pan.
Some people like to have separate ones for separate chores, such as tomato sauce, stews, etc.
Many people just prefer the feel of cooking with wood rather than metal (though they don't seem to extend that to looking for wooden pots.)
To clean a Wooden Spoon, just toss it in the dishwasher. They won't last forever; they are not meant to. If you really want to, you can sand them down, and treat them with mineral oil, but such effort may not be worth the bother for the small amount of money that they cost, often less than the cost of a pen. If you really want perfect ones to display, you can just buy separate ones for display and hang them up.
Some people say their wooden spoons taste terrible over time. It begs the question of what they are doing sticking in their mouth cooking implements used to prepare food for other people.
Don't use Wooden Spoons to stir food in the blender while it's running, or you'll end up with shards of wood in your food. It might be more fibre than you need in your diet.
When people talk about flat-edge Wooden Spoons, what they actually mean are wooden spatulas.
The first spoons man that man used were carved of wood. Metal eating utensils weren't common in the British North American colonies until the 1700s. As wooden spoons were displaced as utensils for eating, they remained as tools for cooking.
A Wooden Spoon used to be the first item a mother reached for to spank a child. Many a grown-up has tales of laughing when the wooden spoon broke -- and of what happened after that.
Literature & Lore
Some home craft people use them to make dolls out of.
SpoonsIce Cream Scoops; Ladles; Mote Spoon; Pouring Spoons; Pudding Sticks; Slotted Spoons; Spurtles; Stir; Wooden Spoons
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Cuillère en bois (French); Holzlöffel (German); Cucchiai di legno (Italian); Cuchara de madera (Spanish); Colher de madeira, Colher de pau (Portuguese)