Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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.
The word spoon derives from an ancient word meaning a chip of wood or horn carved from a larger piece.1
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 Chopsticks, 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.
- 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 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
- Wooden spoon
- 1Encyclopedia Britannica 15h edition vol IX
You, Too, Can Play the Spoons by A. Claude Ferguson: possibly the most detailed guide ever written to spoon playing
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