A Cooking Tip. Part Two. Was I WRONG????

Recently, I discussed the failure of a tip.

The tip was, if you place a wooden spoon over a pot with boiling liquid it will prevent it from boiling over.

I said it was silly, a myth, and did not hold water.

Snort! I crack myself up…did not hold water…get it? huh? huh?

In the comments, my neighbor and good friend, Stan, questioned my results, basically accusing me not following the rules.

He pointed out the utensil I used was not a wooden spoon, but rather a wooden handle with a plastic spatula.

Now, I will say in my defense, the plastic was not over the water, but Stan was right.

I’m a little on the competitive side and felt I needed to prove to the world (or to the 3 people who actually read this drivel) that I was right.

I knew, KNEW, there was no way the wooden spoon thing was going to work.

Wives tale. Myth. Hogwash.

I re-tested it at home and without giving you all the gory details, I found it to be inconclusive. I used a fully wooden spoon and I boiled the snot out a pot of water.  I even added a piece of chicken. But, as I said, it was inconclusive. It did, in fact, boil over, but it was a miniscule amount.  The problem: it boiled over–that very same miniscule amount–both WITH the spoon and WITHOUT.  There seemed to be no change.

Fast forward to Christmas.

I’m at my sweet mother-in-law’s house and we are discussing the whole wooden spoon thing while preparing Christmas lunch. I told her it was inconclusive.

My mother-in-law saw that as a challenge.

So, when she made the macaroni and cheese, she tested the wooden spoon theory while boiling the macaroni.

Low and behold, the water never boiled over!  And, I’m telling you, it wanted to. Real bad.

I believe her test worked like it was supposed to.

So….I’m hear to say a couple of things:

1) I was wrong. I admit it.

But don’t ever expect me to admit that ever again, on any topic. Ever.

My apologies to the writer of Kayotic Kitchen, where I first read about the stinkin’ idea. (Her blog is a neat cooking site.)

2) I had read some research on the topic, and yes, it has been tested and found to work.

If I remember correctly, it has something to do with the bubbles holding in heat and the wooden spoon allows the bubbles to attach themselves to the handle, thereby popping the bubbles. This, in turn, prevents the boiling starchy water from boiling over. (I am in no way, shape, or form a scientist, so please forgive me if, by chance, a really, really smart person stops by to read this drivel–because, really, you can’t be too terribly smart if you actually return to read this blog on a daily basis…wink/wink/smileyface/jk!!— and he/she reads the above sentence, and freaks out because I did not describe it correctly, or give the proper terms to the scientific happenings, blahblahblahblahblah….)

3) I saw it work with my own to eyes.

Pinky promise.


Now, you try it! And, please, let me know your findings. I’m really curious if it ends up working for others.

Yours ’til the par boils,


P.S. Look the question up on the internet.  It’s interesting!  I think this would be such a cool science project (with adult supervision!).



  1. jude j

    I wonder if what is IN the pot makes a difference? Pasta and potatoes — starchy foods — create more bubbles and therefore TEND to boil over. Plain water or water with protein-based foods might be less inclined to do so.

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      See, you’re one of those really, really smart folks visiting! Yes, I think it does make a difference, works best with starchy & milky liquids. Thank you for stopping by!! Have a great day, E.

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