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Ate the Spoon

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Now that's good coffee!
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.
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Compare Poison Is Corrosive and Hollywood Acid; see also some variants of Klatchian Coffee, Gargle Blaster and Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce.

Do not confuse with a character eating the spoon, that's Extreme Omnivore (or Metal Muncher if the spoon is specifically made of metal).


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Episode 4 of Is This a Zombie?, Haruna (a One-Note Cook who can only make eggs) and Seraphim (a vampire ninja who's never cooked before) team up to make a bubbling purple concoction that eats chopsticks, a ladle, the pot it's served in, and the table they're eating on.
  • Slayers had a scene where a brew was being made to cure Lina's anti-magic curse. Of course it Ate the Spoon.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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".
  • Used as a Running Gag in Alan Ford where a character, hostile to another, offers the latter a drink, only for the latter to pour it on the table, marveling sarcastically as the drink eat a hole through the wood as the former sheepishly comments on how strong the drink was.
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    Comic Strips 

    Comedy 
  • Mentioned in Jasper Carrott's routine about the Magmaloo curry invented in Newcastle:
    "It comes in a bowl made of shuttle re-entry tiles... it comes with a side dish of Savlon... I put my spoon in, and it didn't come out!"

    Fan Works 
  • Football Fiasco, a Misfit-verse (crossover between X-Men: Evolution and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) fic, features Roadblock's Special Five-Alarm Chili. As he puts it, "It's not hot, it's atomic!" Roadblock has to prepare (and serve) it in a hazmat barrel (the only thing strong enough to hold it) and ladles regularly dissolve in it.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Asterix and Cleopatra, Artifis tries to frame the Gauls by (musically!) making a poisoned cake and sending it to the Queen in the Gauls' 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 funnier: 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.
  • In The Man Called Flintstone: When Fred and Barney are imprisoned by the Green Goose, his henchmen feed them give them a bowl of mush that's supposed to poison them, and Fred stops Barney from eating a spoonful before this happens.
    Fred: Barney, don't eat that stuff!
    (the end of the spoon burns up)
    Barney: I couldn't if I wanted to, Fred. No spoon!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 Cosy Dens (Pelíšky), set in The '60s, 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.
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    Literature 
  • Discworld:
    • 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 is quite sure about what would happen if it's ever given to sheep.)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat for President: Jim DiGriz orders a Gargle Blaster cocktail that's somehow more than 100% alcohol by volume. When he throws it aside in a dramatic gesture, it starts eating into the starship floor.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, some Alethi bars refuse to serve Horneater lager because it dissolves their cups. And, apocryphally, their clients' teeth. The horneaters, by contrast, think very little of Alethi wines, even though some of them would be classed as distilled spirits on Earth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 bathtub it was mixed in).
  • One episode of Candid Camera had a segment revolving around this trope, in which people were offered a spoon with a cup of coffee. The spoon was made of something whose melting temperature was below the temperature of the coffee.
  • 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 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 Odd Squad episode "Sample of New York", the agents of the New York City precinct go on strike due to not wanting to eat their boss's terrible cooking. What she's made for them is a smelly, brown, boiling conglomerate of every food in existence that she keeps in a pot, which manages to not only erode the kitchen sink, but also leaves large holes in both a cardboard box and the ground outside.
  • 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 wooden paddle, but the mixture is so oversaturated with sugar that it eats through it and has apparently done so before, so Craig brought another paddle.
  • QI used this for a "magic trick", dissolving a spoon in a glass of water. The water was in fact just ordinary water: the spoons were made of gallium, a metal that melts at a rather low temperature (86F/30C).
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • Subverted in the first episode of Evil Josh & Billy, when Billy makes a potion for the sole purpose of this trope. To his disappointment, the spoon doesn't dissolve. The spoon ends up coming to life instead.

    Web Comics 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of 2 Stupid Dogs had the dogs and Red Riding Hood entering the Three Bears' house. Red tries to sample Papa bear's hot porridge, which not only disintegrates the spoon but her entire arm as well.
  • In the 3-2-1 Penguins! theme song, Fidgel's spoon corrodes a second after he sips a blue liquid from it. Another second later his facial expression changes from joy to disgust.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Singing", the chicken that Richard orders from Joyful Burger proves to so caustic that it eats through the bottom of the bucket, then through the floor of his car.
  • 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 the Breadwinners 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 one episode of Camp Lazlo where Clam comes down with a condition that makes him fall in love with Gretchen, one of Lazlo and Raj's attempts at a remedy is soup made with water from Raj's Kafizzle River snow globe. The water from the Kafizzle River is previously established to be highly acidic, so every time Lazlo spills a drop of the soup it eats through the floor. When Lazlo comments that it's like lava from the earth's core, Raj states that it's even more powerful than that.
  • In Dan Vs. "The Common Cold", Dan's attempt at a cold remedy eats a hole through Chris's table and floor.
  • Darkwing Duck: In "Dry Hard", Darkwing and Launchpad catch Bud Flud trying to poison a competitor's drinking water, only for Flud to fall over a railing and into the contaminated water, which turns him into the Liquidator. As Darkwing tries to get him out with a broom, the handle burns off in the toxin, leading him to assume he perished.
    Liquidator: I was Bud Flud... before you mercilessly threw me into that contaminated vat of water!
    Darkwing: Threw you?! You fell into the vat! (beat) I mean, I had nothing to do with that. We even tried to save you! (holds up the broom, notices the burnt handle, then sheepishly hides it behind his back)
  • 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.
  • Grossology: Pink-Eye's Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce eats a hole in the floorboards.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 turmeric) are somewhat... questionable.
    Gopher: Yessiree, that's what I like! A dessert with attitude!
  • 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.
  • The Vizier's potion does this in Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights.
  • 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.
  • At the beginning of the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Komputer Overload", Plankton is cooking a batch of chum that eats through the bottom of the pot, then moans as it eats through the floor.
  • 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 cause the spoon to melt, with the melted part falling into the toxic milk.

    Real Life 
  • 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. Aluminium spoons aren't recommended, either: lutefisk will react with the spoon with evolution of hydrogen and precipitation of sodium hydroxyaluminate.
  • With repeated exposure, sriracha can eat forklifts. The manufacturing process for sriracha sauce, the popular Thai chili sauce often seen with green caps and a rooster on the bottle, has the vinegar-and-pepper mash stored in barrels and moved by forklift. Turns out sriracha seepage onto the lifting forks forces the company to replace them every few years thanks to how pitted and corroded they become. Tabasco sauce, made under similar circumstances, also corrodes forklifts.
  • On the old PBS cooking show The Frugal Gourmet, the host talked about an attempt by a company in New Mexico trying to can chili peppers. The chili's acids corroded the cans, weakened and dissolved the boxes the cans were in and was started to eat the pallets the boxes were on. The company switched to glass jars.
  • Storage of extremely spicy chili peppers, from the Naga Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) and up, must be done very carefully, as the capsaicin is distributed all around the pepper rather than just near the seeds. Capsaicin is corrosive and will burn holes on your skin, into your gloves, onto the countertops, and into non-glass containers if left in one place for too long. People who harvest and handle these peppers must wear gloves, which they must swap out for new ones every now and then before the peppers disintegrate them.
  • A Real Life cocktail called the Moscow Mule is traditionally served in copper mugs. However, the Moscow Mule is acidic, and copper dissolves in acid (specifically, a pH below 6.0; Moscow Mules can easily drop below this), and after a certain point the dissolved copper becomes toxic. So for safety reasons, if you're going to serve your Moscow Mule in a copper mug, you must use a lined mug where the interior surface is something that won't react to acid (like stainless steel or, more traditionally, tin).


Alternative Title(s): Strong Enough To Melt The Spoon

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