For people who care about their food

Whatever happened to soup spoons?

It’s great to know that people are reading this blog, and also great to receive feedback and questions from readers. Here’s one.

Buddyboy wrote:

Here’s a poser for you, Not Delia. If you have soup served to you in any restaurant, it is invariably served with a proper soup spoon. Not to be confused with the usual tablespoon, the soup spoon, sometimes called a bouillon spoon, is circular rather than oval, deep rather than shallow. So, if that is the correct spoon to eat soup with, why are such spoons never included as standard in cutlery sets? (Never may be an overstatement but I have yet to see them included.) Not only that, try buying these spoons anywhere. Short of tracking them down at restaurant supply stores which are not really retail establishments, you can’t even find them in kitchen-type stores that sell just about everything. This may be a quirk of where we live, Canada, but perhaps not. Hmmmm.

Gosh. That really is a poser. Good question! I have almost every piece of kitchen kit you could imagine – even a lot of professional kitchen equipment in my tiny home kitchen – but there’s not a soup spoon in the house. And you know what? I’d never even noticed it until now. Our canteen of cutlery came with complete table settings (even fish knives and forks), plus various bits and bobs for serving food at the table – but NO SOUP SPOONS!



Well, we do have the Chinese-style soup spoons but that’s altogether a different thing.

So, how do we eat soup? Not with a fork! Probably like lots of other people, we use a tablespoon. (The dessert spoon is the same shape but smaller.) Why should this be so? I don’t know, maybe it’s fashion and people dine more informally at home these days whilst restaurants still do things the ‘proper’, more traditional, way.

I checked out some of the High Street stores online and you’re right – it’s very rare for the canteens of cutlery to include soup spoons, although a few of the very expensive ones do. As you say too, though, catering equipment and restaurant supplies companies do supply soup spoons – and they’re not always expensive either. My preference is to use a catering supplier whenever possible as you tend to get good quality kit at very reasonable prices.

As usual, I recommend Nisbets to our readers in the UK. Despite it being primarily a catering equipment company, you don’t have to buy in bulk. It’s good for the home cook too, I’ve bought heaps of stuff from them over the years and have always been pleased with the goods and service. Why not have a browse around their cutlery department? They sell soup spoons in packets of 12. (Sorry, Buddyboy, you’ll need to find an equivalent of Nisbets in Canada.)

Nisbets plc

5 Responses to “Whatever happened to soup spoons?”

  1. Buddyboy

    Thanks for the review, ND. You confirmed my suspicions, in particular that nobody seems to have realized this quirk. I bet soup is served more often than fish, so why drop the soup spoons in kits in favour of fish cutlery? Hmmm indeed.

  2. Nikki Pilkington

    It’s a good point – I have a fairly expensive canteen of cutlery I got as a present, and indeed it has no soup spoons in it…

  3. caroline

    Mmmmm. We have all your soup spoons. Lots and lots of them. We bought a great weighted set – I say weighted as you can balance each piece on your finger and they stay balanced. This came with every item you could want but it was bought in the UK in 1999 and cost £550 there abouts.

  4. Eileen F

    I have soup spoons that came with the cutlery set I bought in the UK in the 80’s. However the next question is do people even know the correct way to eat soup anymore?
    This is to slide the soup spoon in the bowl going away from you. You then tip the SIDE of the spoon into your mouth and deposit the soup into your mouth (without slurping!)
    Nobody in the USA knows how that I’ve seen, but then they don’t know how to use both a knife and fork at the same time either!

  5. Sue in Oz

    Hi I’m from Oz and ALL the cutlery sets we buy have soup spoons in them, maybe you should move here, we would love to have you

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