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A common silver spoon
A common silver spoon

A spoon is a common eating utensil, or item of cutlery, like a small spade, that occurs in a number of sizes and forms and is also suitable for liquid food and for stirring, and can have a number of other uses, including: courtship, combat and musical entertainment, strangely enough. Obviously, the most widely used and well known use is for assistance in eating.

A combination utensil of spoon and fork, the spork, has become popular in the past couple of decades.

Babies can often be entertained for extended periods by being shown their reflection in the two different sides of a metal spoon. This fascination can also be seen in some types of domestic birds, such as lovebirds and budgerigars.


A musical instrument

Spoons can be played as a makeshift percussion instrument, or more specifically, an idiophone related to the castanets. A pair of spoons is held like chopstiks, with concave sides facing out. When the pair is struck, the spoons sharply hit each other and then spring back to their original position. The spoons are typically struck against the knee and the palm of the hand. The fingers and other body parts may also be used as striking surfaces to produce different sounds and for visual effect. Music expert Mike Kieth hypothesizes that "Spoons were probably used as instruments shortly after spoons were used for eating."

Spoons as an instrument are associated with American folk music, minstrelsy, and jug and spasm bands. These musical genres make use of other everyday objects as instruments, such as the washboard and the jug. In addition to common tableware, musical instrument suppliers make spoons that are joined at the handle. Bobby Hebb is a well-known spoons player.

Spoon types

  • Dessert spoon - between tablespoon and teaspoon in size
  • Egg spoon - used for hens' eggs; smaller than a teaspoon
  • Ladle - spoon with a long handle attached vertically; for liquids
  • Love spoon - a carved wooden spoon given as a token of betrothal
  • Runcible spoon - invented by Edward Lear in The Owl and the Pussycat, but later given a real meaning
  • Serving spoon
  • Silver spoon - a small spoon given to a newborn child to ensure good fortune; used as a metaphor for someone born to riches
  • Slotted spoon
  • Soup spoon - different types:
    • metal soup spoon similar in shape to a teaspoon
    • Chinese soup spoon - usually made from ceramic and of a distinct Chinese soup spoon shape
  • Spoodle - a cross between a spoon and a ladle, often used in European cooking, particularly for soups and stews
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Wooden spoon - sometimes given symbolically as a compensation for losing a competition

Spoon Quotes

  • "Spoon!!!" - Battle cry of The Tick, The Tick
  • From the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves:
    • "Locksley! I'm gonna cut your heart out with a spoon." -Sheriff of Nottingham
    • "Why a spoon cousin? Why not an axe?" -Guy of Gisbourne
    • "Because it's dull, you twit, it'll hurt more." -Sheriff
  • "We found this spoon sir." -Sergeant, The Life of Brian
  • "And the cat's in the cradle with the silver spoon, Little Boy Blue, and the Man in the Moon" - "Cats in the Cradle ", performed by Harry Chapin and Ugly Kid Joe
  • "There is no spoon." -Spoon Boy, The Matrix
  • "A sweet lounge lizard, with a silver spoon" -Motorhead, Stone Dead Forever
  • "Do you know that's the third spoon I've heard drop this month?" -Algy Longworth, Bulldog Drummond
  • "That tall drink of water with the silver spoon up his ass." -Red, The Shawshank Redemption
  • "They'll eat their words with a fork and spoon, and watch 'em! They'll hit the road and all be surfin' soon." -The Beach Boys, "Catch A Wave"
  • "She came in through the bathroom window, protected by a silver spoon" The Beatles
  • Spoon = Sporadic Purveyor Of Obscure kNowledge
  • "And the dish ran away with the spoon." - from the nursery rhyme, "Hey Diddle diddle "
  • "Mike: I think I have a plan here: using mainly spoons, we dig a tunnel under the city and release it into the wild." from Monsters Inc.
  • "I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth" - Substitute, The Who
  • "They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon" Edward Lear

Related topics

External links

You, Too, Can Play the Spoons by A. Claude Ferguson: possibly the most detailed guide ever written to spoon playing

Last updated: 02-08-2005 22:47:06
Last updated: 02-27-2005 11:13:30