Wooden utensils have likely been used in cooking for thousands of years. From cave kitchens to modern restaurant kitchens, wooden spoons are ever-present.
But why? Surely, wooden spoons should have been replaced by now? There must be a better alternative to wooden spoons, right? Well, let’s look at the benefits of wooden spoons and why so many chefs still use them. And, in fact, why wooden spoons are here to stay, shall we?
Benefits of Wooden Spoons
1. Heat retention
If you’ve ever grabbed a metal utensil after leaving it in boiling water, you’ll know how amazingly well metal holds heat.
This is one of the reasons why pans are made from metal and not wood. Wood is really bad at holding heat. Which makes it a poor material for a cooking vessel but great for utensils.
You can leave a wooden spoon in boiling water for ages and handle it. Sure, it will be warm, but once you remove it from the heat, the spoon will quickly cool off and be comfortable to handle.
2. Gentle on pans
Another great thing about wooden spoons is that they don’t scratch pots and pans. Metal utensils are so prone to scratching pans that most non-stick cookware states that you shouldn’t use metal utensils with them.
However, unlike silicone utensils that also don’t scratch pans, wooden spoons hold their shape nicely. Wooden spoons are dense enough to keep their shape but not so hard that they can ruin your pots and pans.
3. No chemicals
The trouble with plastic and silicone utensils is that they are full of chemicals. These chemicals can leach out into your food and cause strange tastes and even health conditions. However, wooden spoons don’t have this problem.
Most wooden spoons on the market are totally natural and don’t have any varnish or oil on them at all. So, there is nothing that can leach into your food.
Most modern wooden spoons are also made from bamboo, which is digestible by humans once it’s dry. So, even if a small piece of your wooden spoon makes it into your food (which is extremely rare because bamboo is impressively tough), it won’t harm you.
As most wooden spoons are made from bamboo nowadays, they are one of the most sustainable items in the kitchen. Bamboo grows extremely quickly, so it is a highly renewable resource.
Of course, this doesn’t really matter when it comes to wooden spoons. Wooden spoons last years and years, even decades.
However, it is worth knowing that your wooden spoons didn’t impact the environment anywhere near as much as a plastic version will have.
Wooden spoons are extremely cheap and always have been. For some reason, this makes many home cooks think that wooden spoons are inferior to metal and plastic utensils.
However, this just isn’t true. Wooden spoons are cheap because they are easy to make in huge amounts.
Why Do Chefs Use Wooden Spoons?
Wooden spoons are a real gem in the kitchen. Chefs use wooden spoons because they are cheap and can be used to stir any food in any type of vessel. A wooden spoon won’t spoil the food or damage the vessel.
Everyone should use wooden spoons. They have been used unchanged for thousands of years because they are the best utensil ever created.
Sure, we’ve tried to make the wooden spoon better in recent years with silicone and plastic utensils, but our ancestors got it right the first time around.
Even in the 21st century, wooden spoons are the number one choice for professional chefs and should be in every kitchen worldwide.
To find out more about utensils, pots, and pans, check out the rest of Chef’s Pick. We have everything a chef needs to create the perfect kitchen right here, even the best induction hobs on the market and the perfect pans to use on them too.
Scott is a writer and a passionate home chef. His passion for cooking began when he was 10 years old. Scott has been writing professionally for over five years now and loves to combine his passion for cooking with his day job.