I’ve no fewer than 17 wooden spoons. But I have a favourite and I’d miss it for ever if it went missing

io have started getting feelings for my spoons. I blame Tim Hayward, restaurant critic for the Financial Times, for this. He wrote a brilliant piece last week about his search for the perfect spoon. At first glance this was a bit random, even for me. But before long I was with him all the way in his quest for the spoon of his dreams, a spoon of just the right depth, size, shape, length and other variables.

I surveyed my spoon drawer and considered my feelings. I was disappointed to see I have no fewer than 17 wooden spoons. Disappointed because this implies a certain shallowness, as if I’m some kind of spoon lothario, collecting notches on my bedpost, focusing on quantity rather than quality. Stirring without love is just exercise, Dopotutto. But sorting through them, I realised I do have a favourite. It’s more of a spatula than a spoon, but it suits me very well. I had always looked out for it without knowing I was doing so and felt a twinge of disappointment if it didn’t come to hand. If ever I lost it for good, I now understood, I would miss it for ever.

Could it just be me and the FT’s Tim who feel this way? My editor at BBC Radio 5 live did a good job of disguising her enthusiasm when I suggested a phone-in on the subject of our listeners’ favourite spoons. But she went with it, God bless her. I get significant stick for ruminating on ball-achingly mundane subjects like this and, I’ll be honest, on this occasion my confidence did start to waver. I needed backup, così FT Tim was booked to come on air with me. Just like great news organisations sometimes come together, pooling resources to pull off groundbreaking investigative journalism, here I assembled a mighty trinity of the BBC, the FT and the Guardian. All so I wouldn’t be left to shoulder the blame alone if the listeners balked at this madness.

It didn’t start well. The first text in read: “Adrian, you’ve lost it luv, Carol”. Jonathan Agnew, our venerable cricket correspondent, came on to talk about the appointment of Ben Stokes as England captain, but began by asking me: “What’s all this about spoons? I think you need a lie down in a darkened room.” I asked him if he had a favourite spoon. "No," Egli ha detto.

But it wasn’t long before I knew we were on to a winner. “My husband, Richard, invecchiato 81, has a very favourite spoon,” texted Sue. “Routs about in the cutlery drawer to find it. He acquired it when he worked at the GEC at Witton in Birmingham and went to the Magnet Club works canteen every day for his lunch. So it dates back to around 1960. It has Magnet Club engraved on the handle. Memories are made of items like this.” Peter in Wimbledon, recently divorced, said it was the cutlery he missed most from his marriage. Someone else said they always used their least favourite spoon because it was a gift from their son. Oh yes, this was a rich vein of material we were mining.

It all became rather moving. Ross from Streatley had framed a wooden spoon belonging to his nan. “It was her gravy spoon, half worn down over 50 years of use,” he texted. “It brings back so many memories.” Ian said: “I have two dessert spoons that my father had before me that I use every day. I lost my father 35 years ago this week.” A spoon as memento mori. Who knew? Karen in Edinburgh phoned in to tell us she was experiencing what she called spoon grief. A daft notion you may think, but it immediately made perfect sense. Her late mother’s serving spoon was missing, presumed lost. “Every time I go in that drawer, I feel so sad," lei disse. “There was so much love in that spoon.”

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