From the archive
The best tools are the simplest tools. The above spoon sat around among my stove-side utensils, lonely and forlorn, seldom used. Just a spoon, after all. A biggish spoon. Didn't fit in the silverware drawer, so it hung out with the A-team, the flat edged wooden spoon, the perforated spoon, the slotted spatula. I believe I was trying to baste a chicken roasting in a cast iron pan, and couldn't get a useful angle in the tight space, so I bent the bowl of the spoon up by about 30 degrees. Suddenly I heard a choir singing. I'd hit some kind of golden mean. The entire nature of the spoon transformed. Suddenly I wanted to use it for all kinds of tasks, from stirring to saucing and, of course, basting, lots of basting, hot seasoned butter over pan-roasting meats. I've got two of them now, and sometimes, when I'm cooking, I'll reach for one of them and they'll both be in the dishwasher and I'll think "shit"—this large soup spoon does the job like nothing else, and every other choice is a compromise. Sometimes I just like to look at it. Look at that line, the curve of the stem to the bowl, there's an elegance to it that somehow is conveyed into the food. That's a damn good tool. These people who make fetishes of Sub-Zero fridges and 48-inch Viking ranges and sets of copper sautoirs hanging in an unused designer kitchen, I honestly believe if they learned the power of a great spoon, they might actually start to cook. …Then again maybe it's just me.