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Jan 19, 2013 09:52 AM

Anyone else not like soup spoons?

The thread on fork tines reminded me of the fact that I hate soup spoons. I just find the shape too big and too odd to fit into my mouth comfortably. I get the idea, but it doesn't work for me. Do you use soup spoons?

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  1. I, and everyone in my family, hate soup spoons - the shape is just annoying and I'm not the type to sip delicately from the side of the too big spoon!

    1. You're not meant to put the entire bowl of a soup spoon in your mouth. Hold it in front of your mouth, tip it slightly toward you, and consume the soup that way.

      40 Replies
      1. re: Querencia

        My mom mentioned this and I still find it frustrating for some reason.

        1. re: Querencia

          or in Europe -- they eat soup from the tip of the spoon, rather than the side. (so you're basically pouring the soup into your mouth from the tip)

          You're not supposed to put the whole thing in your mouth.

          1. re: sunshine842

            I had to refrain from spewing the hot lemon and honey all over my laptop while reading this, because of the imagery of someone putting a whole soup spoon into his mouth!

            I didn't know that the way I am used to eating my soup is the European way.

            1. re: sunshine842

              That might be the part of Europe that isnt the UK, sunshine.

              Here, we have round-bowl soup spoons and sip from the side. At least, that is what "proper etiquette" requires. But, then, we all know that most folk don't follow proper etiquette these days.

              1. re: Harters

                Yes, mainland, continental Europe sips their soup from the tip of the spoon.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Maybe, had we been dining with François Hollande, the instructions would have been different?


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Yes, it would have.

                    This video is intended as a cultural (and table etiquette) lesson (it's all in French), but you can understand the gist, and of the point specifically raised about soup:


                    The soup segment starts at 1:30.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Definitely cute, but then our hostess, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, also did the scoop away, and sip from the side. Who would I be, to correct her?


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Yes, because the English sip from the side of the spoon. I have no idea why you would correct her when she's doing it in the manner accepted as proper.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Based on our Protocol Instructor, plus the "cues" from our hostess, I felt that what I had always been taught was OK.

                          Maybe the Italians look at me sideways, or perhaps the French, but that is what I had always been taught, and had it reinforced, prior to that particular visit to the UK.

                          Now, I still can only do "Euro" utensils to a certain degree. My wife can swap between UK/US, and never miss a beat, but I can only do so much.

                          Same for chopsticks - she is delicate, very traditional, but struggles with tiny items. I am clumsy, laughable to any Asian, who knows chopsticks, but can pick up large items, or individual rice grains. Such is my life.


                          PS - All the best to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, on her recent health issues.

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            the easiest thing to do is just hesitate for a moment and see what others are doing around you. Keep it subtle -- no staring or obvious gawking -- but it's pretty easy to fall back on observation if you're wondering which fork to use, whether to sip from the side or the tip of the spoon, or whether you're supposed to be drinking red or white with this course.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Remember, I am but a "daft Yank," so "gawking" sort of comes with the territory... [Grin]

                              Now, when it comes to wines with dinner courses, I am a bit of an iconoclast. Just last week, I bribed our server to get me an additional, clean glass, as I wanted both the red, and the white.

                              When dining out, it is not at all uncommon for us to have maybe 8 wine glasses in front of us - though that is seldom at a "State Dinner." There are maybe a dozen restaurants, both in the UK and the US, that seat us at a 6 - 8-top, due to our wine glasses.


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                <Remember, I am but a "daft Yank,">

                                I thought you were from Mississippi.

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  when you're outside the US, you're a Yankee, no matter where you were born.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    and IIRC he lives in AZ these days, wasn't even a state back when those lines were drawn...

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      That is correct. I think that I have living relatives, who are older than the State of Arizona. I know that my wife's major hospital is about 18 years older, than AZ is.

                                      By the time that we moved to AZ, they WERE a state, but not for THAT long.

                                      Coming from New Orleans, where history goes way back (but is very young by UK/Euro standards), we were amazed to read the history. It started in about 1960! I mean, how much history is THAT?

                                      Even in Denver, the "history" went back to the 1860's!

                                      Now, as my mom was DAR, there IS some history in the family, in the US. Most of the rest were hanged in UK/Euro, before they fled to the US. Luckily, there were few extradition laws, way back then, or my family would likely have just disappeared on the gallows...


                                  2. re: Jay F

                                    OK, I am but a "daft, daft Yank" then... with US English as my "second language."


                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                The Queen seemed to be doing fine, for a person of her age, upon her D-Day visit, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy her state dinner with François Hollande, complete with foie gras (which her eldest son disapproves of).

                                1. re: lagatta

                                  the Parisian papers said it's a particular favourite of hers.

                  2. re: sunshine842

                    <<You're not supposed to put the whole thing in your mouth.>>

                    Agreed. The spoon barely enters your mouth, mainly resting on your lower lip. The size is to deliver an appropriate amount of liquid in each bite.

                    I adore soup spoons, and all my sterling place settings: salad forks, seafood forks, serving utensils. They're so lovely to use on a daily basis with wonderful food.

                    Please research the difference in shape between cream spoons, gumbo spoons and soup spoons. The cream and gumbo spoons are smaller and rounder in shape, almost like a small circle. The oval shape of a soup spoon varies in size.

                    In any case, if your dislike of soup spoons is because they're too large to go into your mouth, they're not supposed to! But it's your choice to use soup spoons or not.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Perfectly stated! I can't believe all the discussion this thread has elicited!

                      1. re: josephnl

                        Me neither, I have had many regrets about ever starting it.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          regrets? really? it's been a cool thread. so easy to overlook the small things. as someone who did study industrial design for a while it's interesting to observe how simple tools are actually used.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            Please harbor NO regrets.

                            It IS a good thread, though there are some differences of opinions. The discussions have been good, and pretty well focused.

                            No one has called me a four-letter word, at least not yet.

                            I think that it IS a good thread, and one well worth the bandwidth.

                            All diners are not created equal. All "soup spoons" are not created equal. All dining instances are not created equal. All personal preferences are not created equal. Such is life, and the discussion has been enlightening, entertaining, and hopefully useful to all, who read it.

                            Thank you FOR posting,


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Yea, I've learned quite a lot about soup spoons. I felt a minor heart twinge with comments which made me feel like 1) a lunatic for not thinking they are clearly the spoon to be used to eat soup and 2) my parents failed to teach me proper etiquette. But, yes I never imagined it would be so extensive and interesting.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                I have enjoyed this thread. I discovered I eat soup wrong. I think I do it that way, putting nearly the entire spoon in my mouth tip-first, in order to avoid slurping.

                                Nothing is grosser IMO than slurping while you're eating, and I'll bet my grandmother, who taught me table manners, was of the same opinion, though I don't remember specifically being taught how to eat soup.

                                Because of this thread, I learned that the reason I hate one particular soup spoon I have, Tiago by Thomas O'Brien, is because it was made for side-sipping. There is no other way to use this soup spoon. It won't fit in my mouth.

                                Anyway, I would not have known this if it hadn't been for this thread, which I think has been a great success.

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  Are you saying you must slurp to side-sip? Slurping means you are using suction -- drawing in air noisily -- to vacuum the soup into your mouth. Side-sipping quietly is what you're after. The spoon rests on your lower lip, slightly inside your mouth. Your upper lip pushes the soup into your mouth. Also, you tilt the soup spoon upwards slightly so that gravity aids in transferring the soup from spoon to mouth.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    I'll have to try that, Maria Lorraine. Thanks.

                                    To the slurpers: how do you get the soup into your mouth?

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      this is why I don't like chunky soups. if we must, then give me a fork or some chopsticks as well.

                                    2. re: maria lorraine

                                      In training the grandkid, I tried to explain that rather than slurping or sucking in the soup, think of it like pouring the soup into your mouth. That seemed to make sense.

                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Predicated on this thread, while we were dining at Guy Savoy, I observed my wife's handling of the soup spoon on the soup course. Unlike me, she DOES rotate the spoon to sip from the tip. The utensils offered were not round (as several of our sets of flatware has), but oblong. I went from the side, and she rotated to use the tip. I mean, who knew?!?!?

                                    Thanks for the thread,


                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                  no, no! this has been really interesting! don't be sorry you asked a question. :)

                            2. re: sunshine842

                              You should not lump Europe together in your generalised statements. The way people eat soup in France is completely different to UK, for example, each country has different rules regarding etiquette, there is no standard European way to eat soup!

                              1. re: cdnsybarite

                                But there is a standard French way to eat soup and a standard UK way to eat soup? Really...and fascinating!! Please educate us? And do Parisians eat soup differently than diners in Provence?

                                1. re: cdnsybarite

                                  after having worked in Europe for a couple of decades, and lived there for several years, my observations of dining all across Europe have turned up no discernible difference.


                              2. re: Querencia

                                Yes, of course that's how you are supposed to use a soup spoon, I just find that an annoying way to eat soup. How about just use a regular spoon and eat the darn soup? Or use chopsticks for the solids and slurp the rest out of the bowl? These are much simpler and less fussy methods

                                1. re: Lmonach

                                  Thank you for voicing my opinion ever so clearly. This is exactly why I dislike them, it seems to make it more complicated than it needs to be and I just want to put the soup into my mouth.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Yes, because using a spoon as a delivery system is so needlessly complicated.

                                    1. re: ferret

                                      Ouch, it's the fact that unlike other eating utensils with a soup spoon I can't just stick the whole thing into my mouth but thanks for your opinion.

                              3. I have always preferred the soup spoon. In my current flatware, knifeforkspoon by Jasper Morrison, it is called the dinner spoon. I like it.

                                I was going to buy another set of flatware, Tiago, by Thomas O'Brien, but the soup spoon was unusable, in just such a way as the OP describes. The bowl is conspicuously deep (the edge hit the roof of my mouth), and shaped in such a way (sides so flat they're literally parallel to each other) I couldn't get it in my mouth comfortably.

                                My grandmother made sure I had proper table manners, and she never mentioned sipping from the side.

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: Jay F

                                  dip the soup from the far side of the bowl, lift to your lips and sip from the rim of the spoon.


                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    DH sometimes starts out eating his soup that way (but gives up after a few spoonsful), which just seems counter-intuitive to me. Why must I spoon it away from me when my mouth is the direction I want to aim for?
                                    Table manners are a wonderful thing, but sometimes these etiquette rules are just plain silly.

                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                      not counter-intuitive at all. You spoon away from you so that any drips waiting to happen, happen over the bowl, and not down your chin (or your clothes)

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I thought about that, too, sunshine, and it does make sense....but it's just so awkward!

                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                          not when that's the way you were taught, or the way to which you've become accustomed.

                                  2. re: Jay F

                                    wow JayF - Jasper Morrison is one of my very favorite industrial designers, there's exactly zero ego in his work (unlike a certain Philippe S.). I've been watching his output for about 15 years now.

                                    that said, soup spoons really only work for clear and strained broth. no solids.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      What do you use instead of a soup spoon? (Except for that Tiago soup spoon, I've never had a single issue with a single soup spoons in my life.)

                                      1. re: Jay F

                                        I suppose I was replying more to those who feel the need to jam the whole spoon into their mouths, which is not needed for broth and being the minimalist I am (please ref the J. Morrison appreciation above. god I love his torsion box chair from around 1990 or so

                                        for eating, a smaller delivery vehicle is preferable for 'chunky' soups than a bowl-ish spoon.

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          That's a nice looking chair, but just having the one bar across the top to rest your back on, well, it looks as if it might be uncomfortable.

                                          The Jasper Morrison knifeforkspoon spoons come in five sizes (in descending order): table, dessert, tea, coffee, mocha. The set comes with the table (7.75") and coffee spoons (5"). I use the table spoon for soup. I ought to buy the dessert spoon (6.75"), too.

                                          The handles are thin compared to what you're probably used to on other flatware--or let's say they're more minimal than the handles on most flatware.


                                          1. re: Jay F

                                            I have a hunch it wasn't designed for lounging or a bad posture requiring back support.

                                            I like small handles, at my Mother's (where there are several co-mingled sets of daily ware) I have been known to re-set my place when the flatware has been found un-acceptable.

                                            1. re: hill food

                                              You should probably try knifeforkspoon. I find the spoons a particular joy to use, but I like the entire set. I chose the thinner, one-piece knife after buying one of each. It really does feel better in my hand.

                                     is the most dependable retailer. eBay and amazon have a seller or sellers who want 4x the MSRP for each piece. Avoid entirely.

                                              Also, there's a restaurant here that seats you in Jasper Morrison's Air chair.

                                      2. re: hill food

                                        And I thought you were speaking of Jim Morrison. I think he would condemn plastic sporks.

                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                          I sort of wonder if Jim Morrison ever actually ate any solid foods.

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            That is a good question. He inhaled many.

                                    2. There are different shapes for soupspoons, and the larger spoon included in most common place settings is not the best shape, because it is not specifically for soup. Have you tried the ones with a rounder shape?


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: GH1618

                                        Yea, actually I feel like I've seen those more than the others and find them just as awkward.

                                      2. Agree. I do like the asian spoons, off-white , oblong, with a flat bottom (can anyone post a pic?), which can also serve for single-bite appetizers. Fit quite nicely in my mouth, and do not have the thermal properties of metal.

                                        11 Replies
                                          1. re: mwhitmore

                                            I use those spoons as well as the traditional ones at home, and I also actually prefer using the porcelain ones, especially when no one is looking (because they do not match the rest of the dinnerware unless I am eating Asian style!)

                                            The porcelain/ceramic spoons do not burn my lips like the metal ones do, and the very slightly pointed shape and deeper bowl seem to make it easier to get the soup into the mouth without spilling.

                                            1. re: vil

                                              These are my 2nd favorite for soup. First preference is a squared off melamine spoon
                                              It's a handy shape both for cooking and eating soup, larger volume than a teaspoon, but not as wide as a soup spoon.

                                              It is also a good design for skimming fat.

                                              1. re: vil

                                                The porcelain Chinese spoons are just so very awkward--watch the judges on The Taste--even experienced "eaters" look clunky using those things!

                                                1. re: pine time

                                                  Are they incorrectly putting the side of the spoon to their lips?

                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                    That's because people started using these spoons as mini dishes for bite size foods.

                                                    These are suppose to be use for soups, and you are suppose to sip from the side of the spoon.

                                                2. re: mwhitmore

                                                  how can you cram one of those in your mouth? I thought you were supposed to sip from the side, as everyone I know does...

                                                    1. re: Sarah

                                                      From the side? That usually makes a mess. My family and I sip from the front as the girl in the video below does.

                                                    2. re: mwhitmore

                                                      This is the only soup spoon I have ever known. So I know for sure I was never taught the American/English way with those soup spoons. And one time when I was living with other Americans, they preferred those spoons for their soup over any other spoon in the house.

                                                      1. re: mwhitmore

                                                        Those are what I thought the original post was referring to and I was really confused by all the hate. Those spoons are the best! I would never dream of using another spoon to eat soup at home. And I can't remember the last time I ordered soup in a non-Asian restaurant, so flatware soup spoons aren't even on my radar.