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The Gift for a Host That I Always Return To

Trust me, everyone you know could use a pair of serving spoons

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Two golden serving spoons on a marble background. Little Adventures/Shutterstock

This post originally appeared in the November 15, 2021 edition of The Move, a place for Eater’s editors to reveal their recommendations and pro dining tips — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone’s go-to move. Subscribe now.

I don’t have enough spoons. The degree of the shortage truly hit home during the pandemic, when 100 percent of my family was suddenly eating three meals a day plus snacks at home, the vast majority of which involved cereal, soup, or something that required targeted scooping. But it’s also something I’ve been aware of for years — mostly whenever I was entertaining and I suddenly realized that, uh, well, no, I don’t have three serving spoons. Or any presentable tongs, for that matter, or at least ones that aren’t currently crusted in whatever I was just cooking. I don’t really have any of the utensils needed for all the “rustic, effortless, family-style” dishes I’m about to plunk on the table. So I would always end up frantically running around at the last minute, digging up whatever worked — several times that included sticking some silicone baby spoons into the dips and an ice cream scooper in the mashed potatoes. (Which honestly wasn’t a bad look.)

So yeah, I need more serving utensils. But every year, as soon as the holiday entertaining season is over, I forget this fact and go back to buying myself all kinds of other nonsensical impulse purchases like closet organizers and some magic purple Instagram lipstick — but never a damn spoon. Why? Because it’s just one of those things that everybody needs, but nobody ever buys for themselves — too utilitarian to count as self-care. And this is where you can be the hero we all need. Please, the next time you’re invited over to someone’s house for a meal, you can and should bring serving utensils as a hostess gift.

Unlike that nice bottle of wine that the host feels obligated to share with the group but actually wants to hoard, the serving utensils can be put to use right away without diminishing in value. Is it a potluck? Even better! Bring your dish along with some cute designer spoon and tell the host it’s theirs to keep. And yes, cute designer utensils, it turns out, are everywhere. Check out these incredible glass spoons, or this chic glazed stoneware pair that’s perfect for salads. You can go vintage, with a whole set of colorful melamine, or go a little rococo with actual friggin’ silver. Even some basic tongs can make a statement in the right color. Hear this: Gifting flowers is fine, but they die; good tongs are forever.

At a time when there isn’t much to be certain of beyond climate change and Pete Davidson’s dating prowess, you can be 10,000 percent sure that whoever invited you to that dinner party a) is unprepared for the night’s utensil needs and b) will think of you every time they’re looking for something to scoop Brussels sprouts out of a casserole dish. (They may even remember to invite you for the next one.) And when it’s your turn to throw the shindig, you better hope your guests do the same.