When I last discussed wooden spoons a few years ago, I couldn't find a wooden spoon that I was 100% satisfied with—every one I tested came up short in some regard or another. I ended up recommending these bamboo spoon/spatula hybrids which have since been discontinued.
Since then, I've discovered a far better option. The Wooden Scraping Spoon from Le Creuset is one fantastic piece of equipment.
My relationships with wooden spoons tend to be polyamorous. Being forced to pick a favorite would be serious Sophie's Choice-level conundrum akin to deciding between Rubber Soul and Revolver as my favorite Beatles album or Toasted Marshmallow and Buttered Popcorn as my favorite Jelly Belly flavor.
Over the years I've collected dozens and dozens of wooden spoons, from the classic round-headed number I stole from my mom's drawer before heading off to college to the oversized cricket bat-shaped version I got when it was my job to stir and scrape 20 pounds-worth of ragú Bolognese every morning at a restaurant I worked in. I've seen a full-grown line cook shed a tear when his favorite spoon of 15 years finally cracked in half when he was deglazing just a bit too aggressively.
So when somebody asks me which wooden spoon is best, I always give the same advice I give when recommending knives, wives, or magic wands: it's an inherently personal decision. If it feels right to you, if if sits comfortably in your hand, if you get a little spark of joy every time you reach for it, then you've found the right one.
That said, there are a few important criteria to look for if you're starting from square one.
First off, a wooden spoon's primary task is stirring, and for that you want to make sure that it has a large enough head that you're going to be able to move a significant amount of food around in the pot. It better also have a long, sturdy handle with a shape that sits comfortably in your hand.
A wooden spoon is also the best tool for scraping. Because wood is soft and deforms relatively easily compared to, say, metal, it's great at following the contour of the bottom of a pan, even when there are micro-aberrations in the surface. Wood is also much firmer than silicone or rubber, which means you don't miss out on scraping up even stubborn spots of browned meats or vegetables. Your stews and soups will be tastier for having been scraped and stirred with a wooden spoon.
The Le Creuset version, with its wide head, flat scraping edge, sturdy, thick construction, and wonderfully ergonomic handle, is perfectly designed top to bottom. You really couldn't ask for more. My favorite feature is the sharp angle between the flat leading edge and the sides of the spoons. It's almost—but not quite—90 degrees, making it really easy to get into the corners of your Dutch oven or saucepan where a lot of tasty browned bits tend to find cover from a standard wooden spoon.
I can't say that this will become the only wooden spoon in my life—I just can't be tied down that way—but you can bet it's gonna get some pretty heavy use as I simmer, braise, and stew my way through the winter.
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