March 30, 2011
Why Wood Cooking Utensils Are Better Than Metal or Plastic
By David Draper
In response to Monday’s post about kitchen utensils, Wild Chef reader Country Road asked a pretty good question: Why are wooden spoons superior to metal or plastic? I have to admit, that gave me pause as I couldn’t answer it right away.
I mean, wood is just better.
You’d think I’d be opposed to wooden spoons since they were my mom’s primary form of discipline for my siblings and I. We often got a whack on the bottom when we deserved it. Still, my utensil jar today is filled with wooden spoons—not plastic or metal ones—so maybe I picked up a predilection for them through rear-end osmosis.
If I had to venture a guess, I’d say wooden spoons are favored because of their versatility. They go from cast-iron to non-stick to stainless pans without fear of scratching. They won’t change the taste of acidic foods like tomato sauce the way metal utensils are purported to. You can leave them in the pot and they won’t melt or get too hot to handle. They’re incredibly durable and, well, they just feel good in the hand.
Country Road states that wooden spoons may be harder to clean, but I haven’t necessarily found that’s true (though lesser-quality versions can pick up a red stain from the above-mentioned tomato sauce). I did find one source that claims you need to season wooden spoons before using (and after touching raw meat with them), but does anybody really do this? Anyway, please help me defend my position here.