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You got some kind of potion/brew/chili/what have you and you need to show that it is extremely strong; what to do? Well, the stirring spoon looks normal, until you take it out and discover that it has physically deformed, if not dissolved altogether, due to contact with the mysterious substance.

Who's hungry?

Compare Poison Is Corrosive; see also some variants of Klatchian Coffee, Gargle Blaster and Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce.

Examples of Ate the Spoon include:


Anime and Manga

  • Slayers had a scene where a brew was being made to cure Lina's anti-magic curse. Of course it Ate the Spoon.

Comics

Film - Animated

  • In Asterix and Cleopatra, Artifis tries to frame the Gauls by (musically!) making a poisoned cake and sending it to the Queen in the Gaul's name. As he makes the "Special Iced Arsenic Cake" of a variety of toxic materials (And strangely, no eggs or flour, or indeed any non-toxic materials other than orange juice), the spoon he was stirring the mixture with dissolves. And that happened before he added the sulfuric acid.
    • His expression as this happens makes it even more funny: He's first surprised, before grinning at the mixing bowl.

Film - Live Action

  • Happens in Nine to Five, when Violet (Lily Tomlin) fantasizes about putting poison in her "sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot" boss's coffee (which she accidentally does later on in the film).

Literature

  • In the Discworld series, the recurring Gargle Blaster, Scumble, is often mentioned with cautionary tales about its treatment of spoons. Sometimes the spoon gets a good cleaning but the spoon had better not be metal.
    • In Feet of Clay one of Vimes' many theories for how the Patrician was being poisoned was cutlery made of arsenic. It didn't take long for Cheery to point out that an arsenic spoon would dissolve in soup almost instantly.

Live Action TV

  • In the first episode of Three's Company, Janet talks about the awful punch that Chrissy made at the party the night before, which got her insanely drunk...and turned the ladle green.
  • One episode of Candid Camera had a segment revolving around this trope, in which people were offered people a spoon with a cup of coffee. The spoon was made of something whose melting temperature was below the temperature of the coffee.
  • In one episode of Gilligan's Island the professor is cooking up a batch of sulphuric acid to use to purify the rubber from the rubber trees. Gilligan finds the kettle bubbling and assumes it's soup. He tries to ladel some into his mouth, and burns up the ends of two spoons in the process. Then he hits upon the idea of using a cup...

Video Games

  • The Monkey Island series features grog. In real life, grog is watered down rum. In the games, grog is so offensively strong that it eats through not only the spoon, but the mug as well.
    • If you ask the head pirates from the first game about it, they give you The Long List of ingredients, including sulfuric acid.
  • In King's Quest VII, Rosella gathers ingredients for a potion to change her back to human form. One of the ingredients (used to stir the potion) is a silver spoon. After the potion's been mixed, the only thing left of it is a melted lump of silver. This being King's Quest, it still has a use later on.

Western Animation

  • In an episode of Recess, this happened with the cafeteria meal.

 Gretchen: The tomato surprise isn't without it's useful properties.

TJ: You mean this stuff is safe to eat?

Gretchen: No. I mean if you let it age, it can burn a hole through a concrete floor.

Vince: (Inserts spoon into Tomato Surprise and it dissolves) It doesn't have too far to go.

  • This happens a lot in Looney Tunes shorts (especially if it foreshadows a transformation sequence).
  • Happens a few times in Tiny Toon Adventures as a shout out to their predecessors.
  • Happens once in the Tom and Jerry cartoon Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse. To put Jerry out of the way permanently, Tom pours a variety of toxic chemicals into his milk. He spins the brew with a spoon, but the poisonous chemicals caused the spoon to melt, with the melted part falling into the toxic milk.
    • However, there is some other chemical reaction after that (the stuff bubbles violently as Tom carries it away), and it ends up acting as a Super Serum on Jerry.
    • Brilliantly, once the potion wears off, Jerry later remakes the concoction in order to renew his strength, but he doesn't let the tip of the melted spoon fall into it like Tom did. This omission manages to change the potion so that when Tom steals it and drinks it, it shrinks him instead of buffing him up, leading to Jerry winning the day.
  • The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode Little Glop of Horrors. The titular glop served by the new lunch lady was so awful that the utensil used by one of the students dissolves.
  • A variation in one episode of Inspector Gadget: a group of Highly Visible Ninjas try to kill Inspector Gadget by giving him a bowl of "Hari-Kari (or some other word that sounds like Hara-Kiri but is NOT Hara-Kiri) Soup". Fortunately, he first tries to eat it with chopsticks that come out of his hat, which come out melted. He says it's "too hot" for him, but they try to dump it on him anyway.
  • In The Smurfs episode "The Fake Smurf", the formula Hogatha creates for changing herself into a Smurf causes the spoon she mixes it with to dissolve.

Real Life

  • This can happen if the dishes are extremely hot and the spoons are biodegradable (plastic). It's generally a bad idea to eat the stuff afterwards, though.
    • This isn't limited to biodegradable plastics. Very cheap non-biodegradable plastic spoons may not dissolve, but they can definitely soften and distort in near-boiling beverages (i.e., coffee, cocoa, etc.).
  • Stainless STEEL will corrode in sodium hypochlorite (bleach).
  • A variant - Some peppers can eat through surgical gloves if they're spicy enough. Keep in mind people still eat the stuff.
  • Gallium is a metal that melts at around 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). If you can make a spoon out of it, serve someone a hot drink with said spoon.
    • A number of special alloys melt well below the boiling point of water. One of the better-known is Wood's metal. A spoon made from many of these would melt in a typical cup of coffee, though given the horrifically toxic metals used you wouldn't exactly want to drink the coffee afterward...
      • Bismuth and tin are non-toxic. Lead and cadmium on the other hand...
    • Gallium spoon will melt in user's hands (staining them gray, BTW, because liquid gallium, unlike mercury, wets skin and glass). Fortunately, gallium is non-toxic.
  • Umeboshi, a pickled plum[1], which is a traditional garnish to steamed rice in Japanese bento, is acidic enough for its juices to corrode the lids of aluminum bento boxes that were popular before WWII.

Notes

  1. Though really a variety of apricot.
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