Alice Waters' Controversial Spoon-Cooked Egg

Battles over spoon-cooked eggs began in 2009 when renowned chef and restauranteur Alice Waters held a cast-iron spoon over a roaring fire to cook a lone egg during a television special (via ChicagoEats). According to Permanent Collection, Waters needed to have her own single-egg cooking instrument after reading "The Magic of Fire: Hearth Cooking" and enlisted the help of a blacksmith to fulfill her culinary desires.

"It's not like cooking it in a pan," Waters insisted to The New York Times. "You just feel like you're really in charge of it. It's so elemental. It's really primitive, in a way."

At the time, Anthony Bourdain critiqued Waters' preparation as excessive and ignited a hot culinary debate in the process. Is cooking eggs over a fire an elitist symbol? Who, exactly, has fireplaces and the extra income to buy ladles meant for cooking eggs? Yet many are adamant that this slow cooking technique brings something simple and pure into at-home kitchens.

Choosing kitchen essentials

Remodelista called the egg cooking instrument an "object of desire" and gushed over the spoon's craftsmanship. Alice Waters' daughter explained the spoon sparked fond memories of her childhood, remarking in an interview, "Doing something in a slightly slower, even sometimes less efficient way, is actually really pleasurable." A Vogue writer tried using the spoon on her stove and caved, admitting the handle was perfectly balanced, the weight of the spoon was enjoyable to hold, and the resulting egg was, indeed, a delicious result.

Listed for $310 on Permanent Collection, the online store managed by Waters' daughter, purchases of the hand-forged egg spoons support Waters' nonprofit The Edible Schoolyard Project, an initiative focused on bringing gardens to public schools and providing nutrition education to students. MasterClass, too, insists the spoon is a worthy purchase for those wanting their eggs to have an added smoky flavor.

With so many kitchen gadgets out there, we'll leave it to you to decide what is essential for your kitchen.