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Wooden spoon

My Girlfriend told me that wooden spoons are usually only used in baking, and the reasoning she gave was that meat could get trapped in the grain of the wood and be dangerous.
I've never heard this, and obviously, a butchers block is wood.

Is there any truth to this? I bought a lovely new spoon yesterday (below) to use with my LC enamelled cookware.
http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/s...

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  1. I can't give you any scientific info, but I love wooden spoons and use them for everything. I've had some of my spoons for years and years and I'm still here to tell about it. :) I wash mine well with hot water and a little dish soap and immediately dry them. No problems.

    But I do keep my wooden spoons separate by use. Wood retains odors and flavors so I keep the spoons I use for savory food separate from the spoons I use for sweet. (Wouldn't want my chocolate cake to taste like garlic....)

    4 Replies
    1. re: flourgirl

      Interesting... Do you have a method for differentiating them?

      1. re: Soop

        Yes, the method is called "different drawers". ;)

        Actually, I mostly use a long thin spoon with a square handle for hot sugar and stuff like that and a big cherry wood spoon with a very thick round handle for mixing dough etc. that doesn't need to be done in the stand mixer. They are so different from my other spoons that I can't possibly mix them up.

        1. re: flourgirl

          I see. Yeah I wouldn't trust others to put my spoons in the right drawer!

          1. re: Soop

            I'm the only one who uses the wooden spoons meant for sweet stuff and their kept on a pull-out shelf that houses a lot of my other baking gear. No one here has any reason to pull stuff from that shelf except for me. And since I wash and dry them and put them away immeditely after use, this just never comes up. (It also helps that I do 99% of the cooking in our home.)

    2. personally, of all the things in the world to worry about... this is *not*...

      I love wooden spoons; have 8 or 10 of them, use them for everything.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DGresh

        Ditto 10 in my container. I use them for everything, I wash well and dry and had them for years. Some of them are very good teak ones handmade from the art shows I go to. I love them all and wouldn't trade them for anything.

        And I am sure those will argue, but 11 pm and have to be up by 5 and trying to dishes, I care less what drawer they go in. No offense. I like the idea and appreciate it. It just doesn't worry me so I have never done that. Bless you for taking the time and care to do that. But red sauce can stain, but a little care and it usually comes off.

        Mine are for everything

      2. There have been many discussions on wooden boards and utensils and aside from a few lingering odors, you will have no problems whatsoever with cross contamination assuming that you adhere to the usual food safety rules (wash in soapy water when finished, and don't stir raw chicken with the spoon and then dump it in a pitcher of newly made sweet tea). Use common sense.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Squirrels

          cool :)
          I'm gonna use it to make chili :)

          1. re: Soop

            Definitely a good choice.

            I had friends make chili once, and they used a rubber spatula to stir it. They left it to burble away, and, after a few too many glasses of wine, they returned to the pot, only to find therein only a hard plastic stick. I think they ate it anyway.

              1. re: Cachetes

                There are heat proof spatulas and ones which are only good for stirring a cake and scooping mayo. I make a point of keeping the non-heatproof ones in a drawer, well away from the stove.

                Fortunately the increasingly popular silicone spatulas are heat proof.

              2. re: Soop

                Personally, while I wouldn't worry too much about wooden spoons stirring meat, I probably wouldn't use mine for chili. Chili stains something awful...

              3. re: Squirrels

                Another bit of common sense to keep in mind, wooden spoons and other utensils are safe as long as they retain their natural resins. But if those fail or leach away, and you see signs of black mold or mildew taking root, its time to toss them. My cutting boards tend to fail sooner than my wooden utensils, probably because they are more likely to sit in wet places for longer and develop splits and cracks that retain moisture.

                But as long as they wood is in good shape, there should be no worries about cross contamination between uses.

                1. re: BernalKC

                  Ah, good advice. Thanks Bernal

              4. Another vote for common sense. I bought some of my wood utensils when I lived in France, 1962-1963. They've been in continual use along with additions from the 80s and 90s. I use them for everything. Have reared two strapping sons and no one, to my knowledge, ever had a problem with "spoon-borne" illness, not have we ever noticed cross-flavor contamination.

                Wash your wood utensils in hot, soapy water and dry them immediately. No soaking, though when a child or houseguest has left them in water overnight, they've survived.
                Edit: both the child/houseguest AND wood utensil have survived. Sorry for the confusion.

                I'm curious where your GF found this piece of information (wooden spoons are usually only used in baking)? Is it one of those "they say" sources?

                Enjoy your new LC with your new wood spoon. One of my favorite shapes is more like a spatula, or flat spoon that's been cut off, since it has a flat bottom and can effectively more more mass from the pan bottom in a single swipe.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sherri

                  "I'm curious where your GF found this piece of information (wooden spoons are usually only used in baking)? Is it one of those "they say" sources?"

                  Lol, I asked her where she got that from, and I think her answer was along the lines of "Have you never heard that?" and then explaining the reason (trapped meat) rather than explaining where it came from.

                  Which is quite logical I suppose.

                  1. re: Soop

                    but couldn't raw egg from your cake batterget trapped in there just as well? Like I said earlier, this is not something I worry about.

                    1. re: Soop

                      There are a lot of batty, wild-eyed old aunties lurking about with bits of kitchen lore that do not bear the scrutiny of daylight. Think the old rule: "red wine with meat, white wine with poultry" and you'll know what I mean. Often these old saws stay around for the simple reason that no one bothers to ask "why?"

                      We don't learn new things if we don't question and one cannot question without actively observing.

                      PS - I have NEVER had any trapped meat in my wood utensils. If there is a place for meat to be trapped it means the spoon is splitting, anything you stir will also be trapped. The spoon is shot and time to toss. Good wood utensils do not have traps.

                      2nd PS - The "Wavy Turner" from your website(http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/s...) is what I was trying to describe earlier as "the flat spoon that's been cut off".

                  2. I am a wooden spoon junkie (along with lots of other kitchen things junkie). I use a couple of wooden spoons for savory and a couple for sweet. Different wood, different shapes. Then i also have a big collection of specialized wooden spoons made with exotic woods which I bought at an art fair. I actually use them as serve ware since they are so beautifully made. I do take care of my spoons, specially the expensive wood ones, oil them occasionally and wash and dry after each use. I find the savory ones wear out faster so will replace from time to time with not very expensive spoons. I store them all in a utensil crock next to the range.

                    1. The polite word for GF's info is "poppycock."
                      My wooden cutting board, lots of my wooden spoons, and other utensils are decades old. I wash them well, dry them immediately, and store them in the open air and light. I have never had had a single problem. I even have some wooden things that were my grandmother's and they must me more than 60 or 70 years old. They're still fine and are in use.

                      The only spoon that is suspect - and will probably get pitched - is made of bamboo. It's not even that old, was of "excellent quality," and has been cared for equally as well as the others.
                      It is easy to see at the ends of the spoon where the fibres of the bamboo are starting to shred. Bamboo is a grass and it's becoming more and more apparent.
                      I am not going to buy anything else made of bamboo for my kitchen unless it's purely decorative.

                      I have some wooden spoons and other items in a second home that I close up through the winter and leave only minimally heated.
                      The worst that happens to the wooden things after months of being unused is that they get a slight "off" smell.
                      Everything gets a nice warm bath in the Spring with a solution of white vinegar and water and it's all good as new and ready to go.

                      You have nothing to worry about. Enjoy your LC and your lovely new wooden spoon.

                      1. Wooden Spoons and Wooden Cutting Boards FTW.

                        I also like stainless spoons and can abide plastics for cutting boards.

                        1. I suppose if you're looking for a spoon you can park in a pot of simmering chili for hours, then soak in a dishpan for two days and run through the dishwasher, you'd want to avoid wood and go with stainless steel. But not because it traps meet. Rather, it would probably crack fall apart too soon.

                          Otherwise, wood is just fine. If it dries out, oil it with mineral oil.

                          I've found that silicone retains odors though (despite claims ot the contrary) and plastic stains and is hard to get grease off of.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: taos

                            What I dislike most about silicon is its tendency to allow drawer "dust" and other gunk to stick to it. I rinse mine off before using because of this. You can actually feel the little particles with your fingers -- just try it next time.

                            1. re: taos

                              I do all of that. My wooden spoons go int he dishwasher. After they dry out in 'that-thing-you-have-on-the-counter-that-holds-all-longitudinal-things' then they're perfect. They do not seem to carry any odour. Never had a spoon crack that I remember. Now I've burnt the handles of a few as we have gas.

                              I am gradually moving towards steel shafted silicon spoons and spatulas, but mainly because my wooden spoons are beginning to look like a lemur's tail.

                            2. If this were true, generations of Italian cooks would have been putting their families in harm's way due to this "hazard". No. Use an olive wood, maple or other hardwood spoon. Wash by hand with soap and water and air dry. No issues here.

                              1. We use wooden spoons for everything in my house and my mother and her mother did the same. I just wash them with hot soapy water and have never had any problems.