This past week I did a lot of trolling through kitchenware stores post-holiday sales. I started out with a reasonable mission – to buy a silicone mat for baking. Having noticed how much parchment paper I used during my holiday baking, I thought I’d try this reusable alternative. But as happens all-too-often, my practical mission led to a lot of window shopping.
As I happily perused shelves in kitchenware stores and pages of online goodies, I saw amazing numbers of costly cooking and serving gadgets. That made me wonder what I could recommend as the least expensive essential kitchen implement. The answer came to mind immediately – a wooden spoon.
I’ll admit to loving a few things more than my wooden spoons. My new black shoes for example. Or my sparkly pumps. But really what can a pair of gorgeous shoes do besides dress me up? While my shoes are wonderful, they are accessories that I put on once in a while. My wooden spoons, on the other hand, are used every week and often daily - my devoted companions in countless cooking adventures.
Why do I love my wooden spoons? That’s easy, they are:
- Indestructible, and
Even a bargain hunter like me will admit that wooden spoons are so inexpensive at regular price that you don’t need to wait for a sale to buy one – or several. Mine are years old, so I don’t remember what I paid for them. But you can find them for under $3, even at stores like Sur La Table. They are sold at hardware and other types of stores too, like one of my Washington DC favorites, Rodman’s.
The only damage I’ve inflicted on my wooden spoons was the time I managed to burn a spoon handle. Even that mistake didn’t render the spoon unusable – it’s just a bit unsightly. I’m sure it would be better to handwiash my wooden spoons, but I throw them in the dishwasher and they do just fine. Wooden spoons last forever and you can let a toddler play with them without fear for the implement or the child. Take it from me - a few plastic bowls and wooden spoons work wonders when toddlers are underfoot you’re a busy parent struggling to throw a quick dinner together.
Wooden spoons don’t damage nonstick pots and pans and they pull up the delicious food bits that stick to enamel, cast iron or other surfaces. Their handles don’t get hot and they come in many sizes and weights, so you can find ones that feel comfortable for your hands. I use them all the time, sometimes more than 1 for cooking a dish that has several steps.
I own 7 “everyday” wooden spoons. That doesn’t count beautiful wooden and bamboo serving spoons or the two flat wooden implements more like spatulas than spoons. My wooden spoons are workhorses, not fancy olivewood. I’d love a couple more – including bamboo (do they count as wood?) and a few with slots or holes.
Although it is past the holidays, you never know when you’ll need an inexpensive gift idea. For a housewarming gift or as a host gift when invited to dinner (instead of a bottle of wine and for about the same cost), how about several nice wooden spoons tied with pretty ribbon?