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.
Compare Poison Is Corrosive
; see also some variants of Klatchian Coffee
, Gargle Blaster
and Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce
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.
- In Don Rosa's Scrooge McDuck story "The Black Knight", after gentleman thief Arpin Lusense attempts to steal all of Scrooge's money, he ends up stealing a jar of universal solvent (from another Don Rosa story, that eats everything except diamonds), not knowing what it is. He stirs it with a spoon while drinking his tea, and notices what it is. He proceeds to take a suit of armor he stole from the money bin, add a layer of diamond dust to it, and then coat it with the solvent.
- In Léonard le Génie, the titular Mad Scientist uses a brush to apply one of his concoctions to his assistant Basile. After the stuff burns all the brush's hairs off, he remarks in surprise that "This is a whole other brush than the one I started with".
- Gaston Lagaffe once made a hot sauce that burned through the bottom of the cup he kept it in. He later discovered that it was alive.
- Lucky Luke's take on cowboy coffee (see Real Life) is "Put coffee and water in pot and boil, then add a horseshoe. If it sinks, add more coffee".
Film - Animated
- In Garfield, the best coffee melts or dissolves the spoon, or donuts.
Film - Live Action
- 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.
- In Brave, this happens while the witch is mixing the ingredients for Merida's magic cake.
- Happens in 9 to 5, 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).
- In a 1999 Czech film Pelíky (Cosy Dens), set in The Sixties, achievements of the "space-age socialist science" are examined, in the form of the plastic teaspoons from East Germany - which promptly melt in hot coffee◊. The phrase "Where did the comrades from GDR make a mistake?" underwent rapid Memetic Mutation in Czech.
- In the Discworld series, the recurring Gargle Blaster, Scumble, which is distilled from apples (well, mostly apples) 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 its first appearance, the bartender carelessly drops Mort's change in a puddle on the bar, and the coins instantly start dissolving.
- 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.
- This is also a trait of anything a troll orders in a bar, because their drinks are corrosive chemicals.
- Wow-wow sauce is similarly caustic, being made from Scumble and a number of pickled foods. On top of that, the finished product is explosive.
- The "Special sheep liniment" from The Wee Free Men is also quite strong. When Tiffany is asked by the toad how strong it is she replies with "It dissolves spoons." (No one in the books are quite sure about what would happen if its ever given to sheep.)
Recorded and Stand-Up Comedy
- 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 ladle 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...
- In the Bottom episode "Terror", Eddie whips up a "home brew" that dissolves all the cups, forcing him and his friends to use metal containers to drink it with (It is also said to have taken the enamel off of the bath tub it was mixed in).
- Ellery Queen: In "The Adventure of the Disappearing Dagger", Ellery uses a trick spoon designed to dissolve in hot water to explain how the crime was committed.
- In an episode of Out of Jimmy's Head, Craig is brewing homemade soda after it's banned at school. His assistant stirs it with a paddle and the mixture eats through it, having apparently done so multiple times in the past. Naturally Craig counted on this and brought a spare.
- 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.
- 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.
- Exaggerated in a late episode of Atomic Betty that had Betty acquiring a massive green alien pustule on her nose. One of the strategies posed to get rid of it involved a large tureen of a horrible blue liquid. Luckily for Betty, it not only dissolved the ladle that was holding it in less than a second, but it also dissolved the tureen and the floor underneath it, causing the whole thing to fall into the ground. X-5 remarks afterward that he unexpectedly saw that coming.
- In an episode of Recess, this happened with the cafeteria meal.
Gretchen: The tomato surprise isn't without its 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).
- One instance where it doesn't foreshadow a transformation sequence is in Fair-Haired Hare, when Yosemite Sam puts poison in Bugs' glass of carrot juice.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- The Vizier's potion does this in Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights.
- Grossology: Pink-Eye's Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce eats a hole in the floorboards.
- The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: In the Thanksgiving Special, Gopher is saddled with pumpkin pie-making duty and actually produces a nice-looking pastry, although his methods ("processing" a pile of pumpkins to kingdom come with his signature explosives and mixing the batter with a blowtorch) and ingredients (jalapenos and tumeric) are somewhat... questionable.
Gopher: Yessiree, that's what I like! A dessert with attitude!
- Breadwinners: In the episode "Brocrastination" SwaySway attempts to clean his and Buhdeuce's giant pile of dishes with a loofah, but the mass of bacteria that the dishes are caked in eats it.
- In Dan Vs. "The Common Cold", Dan's attempt at a cold remedy eats a hole through Chris's table and floor.
- 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).
- 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.
- Gallium spoons will melt in the user's hands (staining them gray, because liquid gallium, unlike mercury, wets skin and glass). Fortunately, gallium is non-toxic.
- Do NOT do this anywhere even remotely close to aluminum, because gallium forms a (very brittle) alloy with aluminum that crumbles if you so much as look at it funny. This is why metallic gallium is one substance that's on an omniverse-wide no-fly list, because almost every metal used in aerospace engineering alloys with and is in the process embrittled by the liquid form of the stuff.
- 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 (such as lead and cadmium) you wouldn't exactly want to drink the coffee afterward...
- Umeboshi, a pickled plumnote , 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.
- Lutefisk, that Norwegian-Swedish combination of whitefish and lye, can't be consumed with silver cutlery for this reason.
- The method to check if Cowboy Coffee (coffee made with coffee grounds and water boiled together in the pot) is strong enough is said to be: "toss a horseshoe into the pot, if the shoe sinks, keep brewing".