Wooden tools, be it spoons or cutting boards, in the kitchen always sound a little… off at first. Usually the thought it that wood is so porous so is tough to get clean, yadda yadda etc. etc. etc.
But here’s the thing: wood is perfect for the kitchen because it’s naturally anti-bacterial, there’s something about it that kills 99% of what’s on it. Now, of course, you still have to wash it, but it’s even been said that wooden cutting boards are better for the kitchen than plastic ones because of this very fact.
Back to the spoons.
Wooden spoons have several key advantages over metal or plastic ones in the kitchen:
- The aforementioned anti-bacterial nature
- The handles don’t get near as hot when left in or by a pot
- They don’t scar or scrape the finish on non-stick pots and pans
- They don’t impart a metallic or plastic taste to foods
- And they won’t turn your mashed potatoes grey.
Allow me to explain about that last one.
Back in culinary school we didn’t use a lot of non-stick coated anything and we had primarily metal implements. Safety, sanitation, etc. There was one day, though, when the chef was sharing his infamous Garlic Mashed Potatoes (one of these days I’ll dig up the exact proportions and share them with you) and he explained that you should never use a metal spoon in a metal pot when whipping, mashing or otherwise stirring a white or pale sauce.
The friction between the spoon and pot cause teensy tiny little flakes of the metal to scrape into your food, discoloring it and turning the white mashed potatoes or sauce a dingy shade of something. This isn’t overly harmful, of course, (no one’s cooking in lead pots, after all), but it’s certainly not appetizing!
And the last blow in wooden spoons’ favor: they’re cheap!
3 for a $1 at most discount stores cheap.
Not that you can’t find expensive ones and not that those expensive ones aren’t sometimes worth the price. I have a pair of long-handled, very sturdy wooden spoons that I bought at Dean & Deluca when I was in NYC several years ago. THey are fabulous for thick soups and stews and I love them dearly. They were also something like $8 and $10 back in 2006 or something like that.
So I don’t care if you get them from a fancy schmancy kitchenware store or buy them at the Dollar Tree, wooden spoons are an integral part of any well-stocked kitchen.
(And, yes, the images and links are Amazon affiliate links. Click if you wanna.)