March 23, 2023
Can a wooden spoon stop your pot from boiling over?
Clips of people laying a wooden spoon over the top of a boiling pot and watching the pasta subside are easily found on tik tok and youtube
According to Dr. Michelle Dickinson, author of The Kitchen Science Cookbook, the bubbles in a pot of boiling pasta are made of water, air, and starch molecules. The starch and water form a “sandwich layer,” which creates a structure that traps the air and steam inside them. As the pot gets hotter, more steam-filled bubbles form underneath the existing ones, eventually leading them to take up more space than the pot can contain. This is when your pot
starts to overflow with starchy pasta water.
Wooden spoons are insulators, which mean they don’t
conduct heat well. So when you place the spoon on top of the pot, it remains cooler than the pot and bubbles. Thanks to the temperature and rough and dry texture, the spoon causes the bubbles to burst. Then, the bursting bubbles
release steam that instantly cools, creating a small, cooling air current. And the water level and bubbles subside.
According to some people this works every time, others say it does not
Have you tried it, is it something that works for you?