Things I Love: Flat Edged Wooden Spoon


Things I Love: Flat Edged Wooden Spoon

I've been showing you expensive things that I love: my Thermapen, All-Clad Stainless cookware, Shun Bob Kramer Knives. My flat edged wooden spoon is not expensive, but I love it just as much.

I've replaced every piece of kitchen equipment bought before I became a real home cook.* Everything except this simple, flat edged spoon. It was was part of a stir-fry set I bought just after Diane and I got married. It fits in my hand like it was carved just for me, and the slant to the flat edge is perfect for a (right-handed) scrape of the pan.
*Yes, even the stove and the dishwasher. The microwave was the last hold out from our wedding presents, but it finally gave up the ghost a few years back and had to be replaced.
**Oh, and the refrigerator.  We did buy a new one, but the old one just moved down into the basement, to give us backup storage and an extra freezer.  I don't know what we'd do without the second refrigerator - with the five of us, it feels like we'd just have room for milk and eggs.

I use this spoon to deglaze pans when I'm making a pan sauce, and to stir simmering pots with ingredients that might burn. The flat edge scrapes the bottom of pans without scratching them, and I can feel if anything is sticking to the bottom of the pan - the wood transfers a rough feel to my hand. I just have to keep scraping until the rough feeling is gone, and the risk of burning has passed. It is the key to pan sauces and braises - once you have a good browned fond on the bottom of the pan, the flat edge helps lift it off and incorporate it into the sauce.

I worry that I only have the one spoon. I hate it when it's in the dishwasher and I need it. Even worse, it's developing a crack (see the middle of the handle in the pictures.) I've bought many other spoons, but none of them have that "fits just right" feel that this one has. The closest I've come is the Mario Batali risotto paddle (see picture below). It works almost as well, and has the slight angle and flat edge that I like. But it is made out of a soft beechwood; the scraping edge of the spoon is starting to wear down already, and has developed an interesting warp on one side. I've only owned it for six months, so I don't think it's going to last.


The last time I was at Sur La Table, I saw an exact duplicate of my favorite, and I'm going to get a spootle from Jonathan Spoons as recommended by DineInDiva in her blog. I want to try them out, but I don't think they'll be able to replace my old friend.

[Update] It's a sad day at DadCooksDinner. Since I wrote this post, my old friend split in half along that developing crack. Sigh.  After a moment of respectful silence, I ordered both spoons I mention above. I just hope one of them feels as good in my hand as this spoon did.

What do you think? Do you have any kitchen gadgets that feel less like a tool, and more like a member of the family? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

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9 comments:

jen said...

Every kitchen needs a wooden spoon. To help yours last longer - never put it in the dishwasher. It should last you a lifetime if you take care of it - I have my grandmother's!!

Linda J-H said...

I have a green plastic spoon that I reach for first whenever I cook or bake. It fits perfectly in my hand. The length is perfect. It has this perfect bowl for stirring and serving. Better than any other utensil in my kitchen except for my global knives. I think I would be lost without it.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Jen:

I know, I know, I shouldn't put wooden utensils in the dishwasher. But...I can't help myself sometimes.

@Linda J-H:

That's exactly how I feel (felt) about this wooden spoon. My knives are my babies...but that spoon was special as well.

Anonymous said...

You might check out the "dollar stores" in your area. I have found that items like you speak of are often not "high end" enough for the cookware shops. Dollar Stores, however, often have these items, for, you guessed it, A DOLLAR!

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Anonymous:

That's a good idea. I've already bought the two spoons mentioned in the post, but if they don't work out the next place I'll stop is my local dollar store.

Guitarzan said...

Ditto to the dishwasher and dollar store comments. I have two very inexpensive but valuable flat edged wooden spoons, and they are priceless. I have been using one so long that it has developed a dark brown patina. I always hand wash them myself, in order to insure their longevity.

I also have instituted a rule regarding knives, as I don't want them to hit the dishwasher, either. "Use a knife, wash a knife." It's been slow going, but the knives aren't going in the dishwasher, and the knife I need is generally clean and in the rack when I need it.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Guitarzan:

Right now I'm enjoying Michael Ruhlman's paddles:
https://opensky.com/ruhlman?osky_origin=ruhlman&osky_source=curator-badge

They're a little pricey, but I love the shape. And yes, I'm trying to make sure I hand wash them...I just have a hard time treating a wood paddle as carefully as I treat my chef's knives.

Lorraine said...

I had a set of plastic spoons that were gradually wearing down (aka melting). While I was careful not to allow pieces of my plastic spoons into the food, one was a favorite in particular as it had worn down to just the right angle for scraping the pan as I made scrambled eggs. Unfortunately my "attentive" husband bought me all new wooden spoons and paddles, some with holes, some without; some plain wood, some bamboo, and threw away my melted friends. I'm learning to like my new bamboo ones (slowly).

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Lorraine:

Give 'em time - the wood will wear down to where you want it. Not as quickly as plastic melts, though!

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