Tools of the soup maker's trade: wooden spoons
For every soup pot, there's a perfect spoon, one that fits into the curve between the bottom and sides of the pot, with a handle that's just the right length. I could tell you that I have more than forty soup pots, and that's why I need forty long-handled wooden stirring spoons, but you wouldn't believe me, would you?
Wooden spoons range in price from a couple of dollars to more than $80 for a hand-carved, one-of-a-kind creation made by an artisan like Dan Dustin, whose spoons I've been buying for years. My favorite spoons are made of maple; it's a hard wood, free of any strong aroma, and the spoons last forever. I also have a good number of cherry wood spoons from Jonathan's Spoons. I look for spoons wherever I travel, and ask my traveling friends and family to bring spoons home for me, too.
No matter how many soup-stirring spoons you keep on hand -- believe me, it's easy to wake up one day and realize you're a collector -- and no matter how often you use them, you should care for each spoon by oiling once a year with food-safe mineral oil.
One word of advice: keep a designated spoon for soups that contain saffron, turmeric or curry paste. Not every spoon looks good in yellow.
Now, confess. How many wooden spoons do you have?