I love a high-tech kitchen toy as much as the next precision cook-er, but I am far more dependent on my favourite spoons and spatulas than I am any countertop appliance. Beyond functionality, I like the look and feel of spoons and spatulas. (Spoons are my favourite souvenir to pick up while travelling; I love them so much.) Come with me on a tour of my favourites, won’t you?
Ah, the ol’ big boy. I’ve had this spoon for nearly 15 years. He was a Christmas gift from my sister, and I mostly use him to brutalise potatoes into a mash and squishing tomatoes agains the side of the pot. Everyone needs a big wooden spoon.
Everyone also needs a very large spatula, which is perfect for sliding pizzas out of the oven and smashing burgers into a hot cast iron pan for a delectable crust.
Speaking of smashing, this very old, very heavy ladle that I found in my grandmother’s kitchen is an excellent culinary bludgeon. I use it to serve soup and sauces, of course, but I also use it to beat the heck out of chicken breasts, pie crust, and anything else that needs a little tenderness (by way of brute force).
I picked up this olive-wood beauty in the south of France, because I am very worldly. It’s just the perfect all-purpose stirring spoon. The wood is friendly towards all types of pots and pans (even nonstick), and the handle stays nice and cool to the touch. I also like how the bowl of the spoon has changed colour with use, creating a nice ombre effect.
Speaking of travelling, this English walnut spoon is another souvenir. I use it as a serving spoon (and in photos for this site), but mostly I just hold it and gaze at it fondly. It may seem a little frivolous, but I do think pretty spoons make the kitchen feel a little nicer.
The Le Creuset Revolution Spatula Spoon is pretty and practical. It has a strong, heat resistant head that’s perfect for breaking up dense ingredients, and a nice sharp corner for coaxing foods out of any nooks and crannies. It’s indispensable for baking — a perfect bowl scraper. I’ve had it for about five years, and I use it almost every day.
The Tovolo Scrape and Scoop is another silicone wonder I use almost daily. It excels at removing the last bits of jam or mayo (or anything) from the jar, but it’s also a great little egg scrambler and frosting manipulator.
I don’t know how I went so long without a fish spatula, which is now my favourite spatula. If you sear meat of any kind, you need one of these. The thin, flexible blade can pry even the most stubborn steak from a stainless steal pan, without leaving the crust behind. It’s also ideal for fishing fried foods out of oil; the large slots let the grease drain away quickly and easily. Oh, and it’s good for flipping and serving delicate foods like fish. Obviously.
Even if you don’t eat grapefruit, the scrape-y, pointed grapefruit spoon is good to have around. I mostly use mine to scrape out potato skins and de-seed various squashes.
Finally, we have the caviar spoon I purchased at a market in Montreal. I really only use it for caviar, but I have been eating a surprisingly large amount of (reasonably priced) caviar recently, and having a dedicated (non-reactive) tiny spoon makes me very happy. You can also use it to dole out little servings of creme fraiche, chives, or any other tiny accoutrement, but it takes up so little space, I’m ok with it being single-use. (Pro-tip: Keep it in your wallet while travelling for impromptu caviar consumption. Just make sure to wash it first.)