Please take a look at three wooden ladles. They were almost of the same color at time of delivery. Differences became significant after few use repetitions.
Left ladle. I think this is the less used among the three. Showing less aberrations and loss of luster.
Middle ladle. The most used. Repeated use and cleaning removed most of the cover varnish.
Right ladle. Maybe it was only used once or twice. However, the black color is really a turn off. Maybe it was used to stir burnt sugar or left near a wooden stove.
Okay, so much for the introduction. Here are the number of reasons why you should not choose a wooden ladle.
1) It imparts wood components to food. Wooden ladle absorbs water upon use, repeated use maintains the absorbed moisture. Prolonged and repeated use make the wood weaker and prone to chipping. It result to wooden flavored dishes. The worse case, a size as big or bigger than corn kernel might broken off.
2) Carrier of harmful microbes. Moist condition promotes microorganisms growth, which cannot be removed easily with ordinary water and soap washing. Then those microbes are being transferred from dishes to dishes.
3) It flavors food with varnish, clear gloss or whatever finish it may have. New ones are glossy because they are coated with plastic polymer. Some may scrape off and go to food while in use. The amount of transfer is negligible though.
4) It absorbs food flavor and transfer it to another. This affect often manifest with foods of strong flavors. Using the same wooden spoon accidentally for cooking Bicol Express and ginisang mungo might result to a disaster. A chili hot Bicol Express and a chili hot ginisang mungo.
It is not a one sided article so I also listed some advantages too.
1) It create less friction. Thanks to its thick round edges. Stirring is still smooth even if use with a cauldron or frying pan/ tulyasi with rough surface. It is also a good choice for stirring thick food mixture such as jam, jelly, ube haleya, tilbok and antala.
2) Poor heat conductor. It can resist becoming hot even if soaked to hot boiling liquid. the cook can hold it with ease without using thick gloves or pot holder.
3) Smooth and well-rounded handles. These feature combined with item number 1 and 2 put less strain to users hand. Less strain means lesser pain and more enjoyable cooking hours.
4) Casserole friendly. Metal to metal contact scratches the cooking vessel surface. Wood to metal contact would not result to the same thing. Chipped metals maybe negligible but can still pose hazard to human health in the long run, far more harmful than wood.
5) Wood never reacts to acid foods. That means less metal flavors.
6) Some specialty wooden spoons are made to add flavor to food dishes. Such flavor component may never be attained using metal counterparts.