The other day I was using one of my big wooden spoons to mash up some avocados for guacamole and reflecting on wooden spoon design. In discussions of spoon making, we carvers focus a lot on the profile and texture of the inside of the bowl, as well as on the shape of the handle, but we don’t give much attention to the back of the bowl.
That’s a mistake.
The back of the spoon’s bowl is useful in many mashing and squeezing tasks around the kitchen. The butter spoons I featured here a while ago are not used to scoop but to squeeze the buttermilk out of freshly-churned butter. I use the backs of my own mixing spoons to mash lumps of flour left in batters.
That’s why a good mixing spoon should have both bowl that is smooth on the inside and nicely rounded on the outside.
I know a lot of spoon carvers like to leave facets on the backs of their spoons. I don’t, in truth, know whether this makes them less useful for mashing and squeezing, but I prefer to smooth out the backs of my spoons fully, removing any facets left from the spokeshave.
I also find that a deeper spoon is better for mashing than a shallower one. I have a few flatter spoons that are excellent for stirring sauces or pancake batter, but the deeper ones have a bigger curve on the back, and hence a broader surface area. They are even more useful for mashing and squeezing. And if the back of the bowl more or less matches the inside of your mixing bowl, all the better.
Use a well-made spoon, and enjoy your guacamole.