The old adage goes "a watched pot never boils," but it also has an inverse: "An ignored pot inevitably overflows."
It's a familiar scenario: You're busy cooking for a dinner party or a family get together, doing a million things at once, when you hear that unmistakable sizzle of boiling water hitting a hot burner.
Help yourself multitask in the kitchen by enlisting the help of a wooden spoon. Laying a wooden spoon flat over the top of a pot of boiling water will keep it from overflowing.
The reason why this trick works is pretty simple. When a pot boils over, the water itself isn't really overflowing, but bubbling over the edges. Placing a wooden spoon, or any other object, onto the top of a pot pierces these bubbles and keeps them below the edge—so you never have to worry about overflow again.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont