I have a jar full of wooden spoons, almost all burned from my bad habit of leaving them in the pot I’ve been stirring. A writer named Patience Gray recounts the provenance of her favorite wooden spoon in a book called Honey from a Weed. It came flying out a kitchen window at the climax of a couple’s squabble, and she picked it up and kept it.
I buy a wooden spoon whenever I see one I like because I may need to throw something, and a passerby may need one. They’re perfect, too, for checking doneness of certain ingredients. There’s nothing that does this with more certainty: when a piece of onion, garlic, carrot or celery can be easily broken with a wooden spoon, then, and exactly then, it is done.
My favourite wooden spoon has a little round cup at its end, designed not for stirring but for tasting. Its sharp lip is like the rim of a bowl, which means that I don’t use it to test for doneness. It is the only one in my kitchen that is not burned.