Published October 1, 2012. From Cook's Country.
Simple yet indispensable, wooden spoons stir, scrape and scoop.
Wooden spoons are one of the most basic cooking tools—an enterprising caveman probably fashioned the first, snapping a twig from a nearby sapling to prod a hunk of meat over an open fire. Simple yet indispensable, wooden spoons stir, scrape and scoop. Since our previous favorite recently changed manufacturers, we set out to test the new version against four additional wooden spoons, each widely available.
The spoons ranged from $1.85 to $11.49, in bamboo, beech, or acacia wood, and all measured between 12 and 13¾ inches. We used them to make vegetable curry, toasting splices and stirring chunks of potatoes and cauliflower; we also left spoons simmering 10 minutes in the thick, pumpkin-hued sauce to see how well they resisted stains. To assess their dexterity and shape, we browned batches of beef cubes, then scraped the fond, assembled the beef stew, and stirred it in a deep Dutch oven.
A comfortable handle is essential; we preferred squared-off sides, which leave your hand less clenched than a traditional round handle, and give your thumb a place to rest securely on top for leverage. Height and width of the head was also important: Wide, squat designs were like stirring with a ping-pong paddle, with too much surface area to push through the soup and not enough handle to leverage against the weight.
Our winning brand excelled at every turn: Sturdy, with a well designed head that managed tasks both delicate and substantial, our winner beat out our old favorite, bumping it to second place; while they performed similarly, our winner had the most surface area in contact with the pan to scrape up fond efficiently, a smooth, comfortable finish, and the least amount of staining, looking almost new even after weeks of use.