There is something pleasing about the size and shape, the heft, of these sturdy porcelain spoons that come with soup in Chinese restaurants.
For Christmas this year, I received my own set of eight. I want to use them all the time, but as cool as they are, they have limited functionality on the dining table.
I was searching my kitchen cupboards for a suitable cupcake-batter ladling device, however, and spotted the Chinese spoons. "Ha!" I thought.
And I was right. They are just the right size to spoon batter into paper muffin cups and not all over the tin.
Now, a version of the spoon stars on the new TV food show "The Taste," with Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain (8 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC). Contestants have to create a meal, then serve the judges one spectacular bite of it on each spoon.
The nifty spoons cost about $1 each at Asian markets and some grocery stores. They are a great kitchen toy for an $8 investment.
Here are some other uses for the spoons.
Batter up: Great size and nimbleness for ladling cupcake batter into cups.
Avoid the double-dip: On a buffet for individual servings of dips and spreads, like salsa, guacamole and hummus.
Mise en place: That's French for "everything in place," and refers to prepping and setting out all the ingredients in a recipe before starting to cook or bake.
Soup's on: Good for all kinds of soup, whether thick or brothy, but especially for pho and egg drop soup.
"Measuring" spoon: Test your spoons -- mine hold about 1 tablespoon of liquid and about 2 tablespoons of heaped food, like chopped nuts, dried cranberries or diced peppers.
On the side: Offer individual servings of dressing, dippers or sauce for dieters.
Service station: Use one with each topping when serving curry (peanuts, coconut, chutney) or build-your-own tacos (onions, queso, chopped tomato).
Tea time: Retire your used tea bag when you remove it from the cup. Also good for a juiced lemon wedge after the salmon is seasoned.
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