When you say the word “spoon” what springs to mind? Spooning with that special someone, an accidental verbal slip with a spoonerism or something you eat your soup with?

Sometimes the more traditional answer is the easiest answer to progress with, a spoon being an implement comprised of a shallow bowl connected to a handle. Today a spoon is a common utensil, but in the 16th century a spoon was seen as such prized novelty that banquet attendants would carry their own personal folding spoons (a suggestion I feel I should propose to Mr. Campbell in regards to his luncheon flatware).

But the real question that I set out to ask is do you know the difference between your spoons?, Have you been eating cereal with a soup spoon and stirring your tea with a grapefruit spoon without knowing it? Here is the rule of thumb I have picked up so far that may help:

Eating Utensils:

• Teaspoon – a small spoon used to stir and sip tea and is also a measure of volume of 5ml

• Tablespoon – also a measure of volume and three times bigger than a teaspoon at 15ml. (often used to serve food)

• Dessert spoon – The spoon between the teaspoon and tablespoon at 10ml, quite often used for not only desserts but also cereals.

• Soup spoon – a large rounded bowl perfect for cupping liquids.

• Coffee spoon – a spoon used for coffee cups, usually slightly smaller than the traditional teaspoon.

• Grapefruit spoon – a tapering bowl that has a serrated edge to separate flesh from rind.

Silver teaspoons

Serving/Kitchen Utensils:

• Wooden spoon – Ok, so not a member of the silver family, but who can deny this is a very popular spoon for stirring food during cooking.

• Ladle – a deeper bowl and a long handle that connects at a steeper angle to a normal spoon (the size of ladle is a topic for another day).

• Mustard spoon – a small spoon with an elongated but deep bowl used to serve mustard.

• Salt spoon – similar to a mustard spoon but usually with a more circular bowl.

• Caddy spoon – used for measuring tea leaves, with a fairly short handle and comes in a wide range of shapes; quite often novelty examples can be found.

Jockey cap caddy spoon
Hand caddy spoon
Acorn caddy spoon

Alternative Situations

Through all my days at AC Silver I have hoped to see a fine example of an ear spoon but so far no such luck, these small spoons are rare to the market now that cotton-buds appeared and people can remove their earwax in a quick, clean and disposable fashion; I fear my quest is lost.

So those listed above are used for a traditional silverware table setting, how about these more alternative spoons:

• Souvenir spoon – These spoons are not always crafted in silver, but are usually quite decorative and used to make note of a time or place.

• Christening spoon – a small spoon given to a newborn child as a gift, often in the form of a feeder spoon; a spoon with a loop handle. Current times have diminished some people”s views on presenting a single spoon at a christening due to the phrase “silver spoon” and the stereotypes associated with a child born to riches.

• ‘Spoons’ – The act of using two spoons as a percussion instrument; a sound used traditionally within folk music (who can honestly say they haven’t tried it at least once).

• Jewellery – recycling the decorative handles of antique spoon, once the bowl has split or the set is incomplete/replaced, to make a bracelet; this is my personal favourite.

feeder spoon

So next time you find yourself in need of an implement, for any situation always consider a spoon, you can stir, serve, eat, entertain, dazzle and even dig…just be weary of which one you equip yourself or the task may not be done too efficiently.

For any further information or assistance in regards to which spoon you may need, please do not hesitate to contact us online or in store.

Written by

Rachel O'Keefe-Coulson

Rachel O’Keefe-Coulson is also known as AC Silver’s ‘Silver Lady’. Rachel spends her days handling antique silverware and processing these items for display on the AC Silver website. Rachel will enlighten our readers with posts of a silver theme.