Professional Gear Review: Spoon

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

After years of rigorous, exhaustively documented testing in both the backcountry and the frontcountry, I feel confident in stating that the spoon is the most superior eating utensil ever created. Yes, you’ve probably read a similarly superlative statement in a review of a baselayer top or a pair of socks, so let’s turn on our bullshit-o-meters and give this some thought.

Check it out: it’s a tiny shovel for your face. After a blizzard, when you want to get dozens of cubic feet of snow off your driveway, do you go out there with a pitchfork, a pair of pool cues, or a shovel? That’s right. The spoon, even better than a fork or chopsticks, is the most efficient method of moving food into your mouth in the backcountry. After a long day of walking, hiking, climbing, or whatever exercise you prefer to do on dirt or rocks, you want to get food out of that cooking pot and into your digestive system, preferably quickly. You use a spoon.

Oh, you use a spork? I mean, to each their own, but sporks are kind of the futon of the eating utensil world, don’t you think? It tries to be two things at once, and does both jobs pretty poorly. Instead of taking a fork and a spoon, you take a spork, and voila, you have a crappy fork and a crappy spoon, all in one. Unless you’re talking about the type of spork that is a fork on one end and a spoon on the other end—those work better, but still have fork problems. Like when you accidentally break a tine off the fork, thereby decreasing its carrying capacity by 25 percent. That blows. It’s pretty hard to break a spoon.

Maybe you have a titanium spork, or a titanium fork-and-spoon set. It’s your money. Have you ever, just before a trip, realized you don’t know where your super special camping eating utensil is, and frantically searched your house for it? You own lots of spoons. Calm the fuck down and go grab one out of the drawer in the kitchen. Problem solved. It probably only weighs a few grams more than the missing one anyway.

I think it’s safe to say that the spoon did for eating what the camming unit did for traditional rock climbing. Before spoons, we ate with our hands, which is messy, especially when you get spaghetti sauce in your cuticles. Human beings improve the smartphone every few months, but the spoon has been the same for thousands of years. That’s perfection.

Yeah, you say, but I can’t eat noodles with a spoon. Yes you can. Have you ever put an 8-foot long tree branch in a campfire? Oh, you did, but you broke it into two to four pieces first? Good call. Do that with your fettuccine or udon before cooking it and our friend the spoon will have no problem moving them from your bowl to your mouth. Or, you know, pack something easier to pack and easier to fit in a camping pot, like fusilli, macaroni, penne, rice, couscous … You get the idea.
If you break up those noodles before cooking, your spoon works just like a fork. Do you want to spread peanut butter on a tortilla? Your spoon works as a knife—a butter knife. It handles soup with ease, and in a pinch, can be used to move water out of shallow desert potholes into your water bottle.

Your spoon will never turn against you. It’s almost impossible to turn a spoon into a weapon, unless you want to spend eight hours sharpening it on a rock. A fork, though? A fork, in the wrong hands, will do some major damage. Just ask that lady who stabbed that other lady for taking the last rib at the barbecue back in May.

Respect your spoon, appreciate it, and it will fill you up and never let you down.

Full disclosure: This spoon was not provided to me for free for review purposes. I paid $1.00 retail for it at REI.


14 replies on “Professional Gear Review: Spoon

  • Zaid

    Haha Brendan.
    Love how you can take quite an arb object and write such an insightful and meaningful review on it.
    “Your spoon will never turn you” – Made me laugh.

  • Jeremy

    I have to respectfully disagree with your point that the spork is a poor replacement to the spoon. The spork is elegance and utilities at its finest. And please have you ever been to Ikea! They’ve got some damn nice futons there that are just comfy as any bed (though it be a slightly bumper version). Plus how many spoons can you get in florescent pink, blue, or green. And your contention that the spoon can’t be a weapon, seriously! Have you worked with prisoners? Cause I have and if paper mache can be come a weapon then a spoon definitely can.

    Personally I think you’re on the spoon payroll. They’ve been losing market share to sporks for years and this is just the first of many marketing campaigns for utensil domination. Come back Semi-Rad! Don’t let the corporate bigwigs use you in there utensil war!

  • mordy

    well said – thanks.
    I like this quote as well from Antoine
    “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • Randi Young

    Cherish the spoon! My lightweight choice on a recent trek was a well-worn old wooden spoon. It stirs the pot without scratching it. Transports all of the solid and liquid food to my face. And when left out at night (accidentally) becomes a chew toy for a local rodent. All but a couple of the tooth marks were easily removed with the tiny file on my Swiss army knife. Great souvenir, those little tooth grooves. Spoon on!

  • Velosopher

    Now a can-opener, that’s a whole different story… Its complexity is irreplaceable. As anyone can tell you who’s brought canned food to the woods but no opener. Don’t ask me how I know.

  • Dallen

    Sad that there was nothing written about the form of cuddling that often acts as a prelude to procreation (spooning).

  • Logan

    You forgot the fact that the spoon can be used for magic tricks, meditation, eye protection, cooking dope, sensual pleasure, balancing on nose to confuse predators, and as a slingshot. A more thorough follow up review would be appreciated.

    • brendan

      Yeah, I definitely wanted to nod to that, but when I found the clip and the articles that quoted it, but when I re-watched it, I didn’t like how he started the joke (“You know what I love about the Chinese? …”). I thought it sounded kind of racial. So I didn’t link to the joke.

  • Hammock_Man

    Evolve to perfection, no way. We have evolved to have two hands and nothing has changed for so very long. How many times have you wished for a 2nd pair of hands…… get my point.
    I want a spoon that does more, so much more

  • Average Ro

    I am from the Philippines and and like most of southeast Asia we use spoons to shovel rice into our mouths. As a kid I used to get picked on for using my spoon to eat. I paid them no mind. To this day, I am that guy at any fancy schmancy restaurant asking for one spoon over all those damned forks. Fancy schmancy folks are deliberately inefficient in their eating habits. Eating with forks and sporks is not efficient, especially in the backcountry, one should practice time efficiency, from cooking, to eating, to cleaning. More time spent finagling with one’s food takes time away from resting and relaxing. One spoon is all I need. Thank you Mr. Leonard for acknowledging what I’ve known my whole life.

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