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A spoon is a utensil consisting of a small shallow bowl, oval or round, at the end of a handle. A type of cutlery (sometimes called flatware in the United States), especially as part of a place setting, it is used primarily for serving. Spoons are also used in food preparation to measure, mix, stir and toss ingredients. Present day spoons can be made from metal (notably flat silver or silverware, plated or solid), wood, porcelain or plastic.



Preserved examples of various forms of spoons used by the ancient Egyptians include those composed of ivory, flint, slate and wood; many of them carved with religious symbols.[1] Ancient Indian texts also refer to the use of spoons. For example, the Rigveda refers to spoons during a passage describing the reflection of light as it "touches the spoon's mouth" (RV 8.43.10).[2] The earliest northern European spoon would seem to have been a chip or splinter of wood; Greek references point to the early and natural use of shells, such as those that are still used by people in hunter-gatherer cultures.[1] The spoons of the Greeks and Romans were chiefly made of bronze and silver and the handle usually takes the form of a spike or pointed stem.[1] There are many examples in the British Museum from which the forms of the various types can be ascertained, the chief points of difference being found in the junction of the bowl with the handle.[1]

In the early Muslim world, spoons were used for eating soup.[3] Medieval spoons for domestic use were commonly made of cow horn or wood, but brass, pewter, and latten spoons appear to have been common in about the 15th century.[1] The full descriptions and entries relating to silver spoons in the inventories of the royal and other households point to their special value and rarity.[1] The earliest English reference appears to be in a will of 1259.[1] In the wardrobe accounts of Edward I for the year 1300 some gold and silver spoons marked with the fleur-de-lis, the Paris mark, are mentioned.[1] One of the most interesting medieval spoons is the coronation spoon used in the anointing of the English sovereign.[1]

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