With the notable exception of my fish spatula, nearly all of my favourite spoons and turners are made of wood. Wooden cooking implements are my favourite souvenir, and I collect one from every country I travel.
My favourite spoon, without a doubt, is this smallish olive wood beauty I picked up in the South of France. I use it a lot, and this near constant use has given the spoon a decidedly savoury aroma. To be blunt: It smells of garlic, and it will always smell of garlic, because wood is porous.
This is neither unexpected nor terribly unwelcome. The aroma is faint, but it is present, and — much like a wooden cutting board — an aromatic spoon can flavour (or at least scent) more delicate, not-so-savoury foods where you might not want garlic involved. Luckily, the solution is simple: I only use this spoon for dishes that contain garlic (which is most of them) and dishes where a hint of garlic wouldn’t be unwelcome.
The idea isn’t entirely mine. I started using a similar strategy with my cutting boards after seeing Melissa Clark’s kitchen tour. Melissa has dedicated garlic cutting boards which, much like my spoon delineation, seems overly precious at first but is, in fact, pretty clever:
Tasting or even smelling garlic while you’re trying to enjoy a piece of fresh fruit is not great, and having at least one cutting board dedicated to smellier stuff can protect you and your family from such an experience.
Having a dedicated garlic spoon means I never have to worry about creaming some butter and sugar together, only to find it smells of last night’s spaghetti dinner. (Yes, using non-wood implements would negate the need for such a distinction, but wooden spoons and turners work so well, I don’t think I could ever give them up.)