The History of the Wooden Spoon

“I’m brilliant at cooking my stepmother’s scrambled egg recipe. The secret is to put eggs, butter, milk, and seasoning together in the saucepan, and to keep stirring with a wooden spoon under a low heat until the preferred consistency is reached.”
– Ian McKellen

If imagining Gandalf whipping up a dish of scrambled eggs, armed with not a staff but a wooden spoon, doesn’t make you want to jump into the kitchen, then I don’t know what will.

France stamp

In an era of quick, cheap, and convenient, the wooden spoon is often bypassed in favor of its cousin, the plastic spoon. And what a shame, because in addition to being safer and more environmentally friendly, the wooden spoon possesses a host of superior qualities, not to mention a fascinating history dating as far back as the Paleolithic era. Nearly all cultures have used the wooden spoon. Ancient Egyptians buried them in tombs to be used in the afterlife. In Wales, young men would carve intricate “lovespoons” to give to their sweethearts. And in France, wooden spoons were elevated to an artist’s tool as the preferred cooking utensil for professional chefs. Even after plastic and metal utensils became common, wood has remained the favored material by professional chefs. To use a classic French wooden spoon is to continue the tried-and-true traditions of past masters.

Wooden spoons are versatile and can be used to prepare a variety of dishes. They have several advantages over their metal and plastic counterparts. Unlike metal which can quickly becoming hot to the touch, a wooden spoon can be comfortably gripped without the danger of burning one’s hand. Trees naturally fight infection, and although no longer a living organism, wood will retain the properties that prevent bacteria and mold growth. Furthermore most wooden spoons, such as our French beechwood, are treated with mineral oils that prevent bacterial growth. Unlike plastic, wooden spoons do not leech chemicals or melt when exposed to heat. Boxwood trees, symbols of immortality, provide hardwood for spoons that resist chipping and splitting (an immortal spoon if you will). Simple steps can be taken to further preserve the shape and quality of wooden utensils. It is recommended that wooden utensils be hand washed with hot water and mild dish soap and left to air-dry. Rubbing mineral oil or beeswax compounds (avoid vegetable oils since these can go rancid) into a dry utensil will return its satiny finish.

Wooden spoons are also more aesthetically pleasing than dull plastic and cold metal spoons. A beautiful wooden French spoon will only look better with age and can be a decorative table piece. Like a well-worn pair of jeans, a wooden spoon can become an item unique to its owner’s sense of touch though slight changes in color, texture, and sheen. Why not peruse our selection of French wooden tools and take your cooking to the next level? Made in France and available in an array of sizes and styles, you are sure to find something that will become a cherished possession.

 

 

 

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