Doing anything well is about having the perfect tool.

It renders the beginner at least halfway competent, the middling enthusiast confident, and powers the truly skilled to new heights. Working with the perfect tool is utter pleasure and yes, the ultimate luxury. Making something work is drudgery (and often a gigantic waste of time.)

The perfect cooking spoon from Robin Wood.

The perfect cooking spoon from Robin Wood.

In the kitchen, one of the most fundamental tools is the wooden spoon. They were fetishized last year with all their connotations of honest home cooking and the toned-down life, and no end of earnest woodworkers took to making them out of premium woods, all sustainably produced. But I rather suspect that many of the spoons ended up as “design elements” on a kitchen wall: beautiful, authentic, ignored.

What a waste.

Here’s a beautiful object that’s also a serious tool, crafted a serious wood turner named, quite appropriately, Robin Wood. The thing about Robin is that he’s also a cook, and all spoons are designed to be used. Not only is it exquisitely turned, but details are sweated (so it can reach those ingredients that always manage to lodge in curve of a pan, or so – in another instance – it can minimize the splashing of a béchamel. And you get a different spoon, based on whether you’re right-handed or left.)

Robin Wood lives in the English Midlands (in a fabulously named place: Hope Valley) using a foot-powered lathe to make exquisite bowls and spoons, tools, and plates. He’s also teacher of his craft, the head of the UK Heritage Crafts Association, and has written a book on the perfect wooden bowl.

The perfect spoon from the perfect artisan for the perfectly imperfect cook.

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