Spoons. They're so simple. But Michael Ruhlman thought they weren't designed quite right, so he started bending them to make them easier for basting, skimming, and scooping. Then a friend suggested he could make them so they looked nice—you know, instead of manhandling the current spoons.
And that's how Ruhlman's offset spoons ($19.95 for three) were born—spoons so loved they led him to start a web store and custom kitchen tools company, Dalton-Ruhlman, with his friend and manufacturer Mac Dalton.
I found the bends in the spoons do make them less awkward for scooping up pan juices to baste food with, and for skimming the froth off the top of a simmering liquid. The bend isn't so extreme that it feels odd when you hold it.
The main downside to the spoons is finding a place to put them. The bends, which are functionally a good idea, don't make them great for storage among their straighter brethren. Right now my spoons are living in a utensil crock, which is working well enough and keeps them readily available.
Earthshaking? No. But I didn't expect them to be. Regular spoons do the same job, it's just that these make those particular jobs easier. So if you do a lot of basting or skimming, this shape makes more sense.
In theory, you could bend your own spoons if you have some that are sufficiently bendable, but if they're that bendy, they're probably not going to hold their shape all that well. Also, they won't look as nice as these spoons.
About the author: Resident yeast whisperer and bread baking columnist Donna Currie also has a serious gadget habit. When her father-in-law heard about this column, he upgraded the nickname for her kitchen from "gadget world" to "gadget heaven." You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.
Disclaimer: Testing samples were provided to Serious Eats.