A ladle is a type of spoon with a very deep bowl which is designed to be used to serve soups, sauces, and other highly liquid foods. A number of different ladle designs can be found in a kitchen supply store, often made in a variety of materials from bamboo to stainless steel. A ladle is a useful tool to have around the kitchen, especially in households which work with a lot of soups, stews, and sauces.
Typically, the handle of a ladle is long, so that people can dip it into a deep pot or bowl. The spoon section of the ladle may be oriented at an angle to make dipping and serving easier, and some ladles also have small lips to pour fluids without dripping. An all purpose ladle usually has a round bowl about the size of a small closed fist; there are numerous variations on the design for different foods.
When seeking out a ladle, look for one with a sturdy construction, as you do not want the bowl of a ladle to fall off when it is in active use. Metals like stainless steel are often good choices for ladles, as are solid wood ladles. Be aware than wooden ladles cannot be run through the dishwasher or they will start to crack and warp; if this convenience is a concern, select a metal ladle with no cracks or crevices for food and fats to accumulate.