Every shop project has at least one process you hate. When I’m making spoons, it’s the finishing. About ninety percent of the utensils I make are from cherry, and overwhelmingly I use USP mineral oil to finish them. It’s food-safe, inexpensive, leaves a lovely glow on the wood, and is messy as hell. But, most importantly, it gets absorbed into the wood and helps keep the spoon from picking up odors and tastes from your cooking.
It’s a “yuck” sort of thing that is repeated several times until the wood has absorbed about as much as it can. The spoons then sit and cure for about a week, after which they get thoroughly wiped down, and a final top-coat of mineral oil mixed with beeswax is applied. Then they get buffed and are ready for use.
The coating and curing I put on in the shop is not a forever varnish-style coating. There is a bit of upkeep required by the owner. So every once in a while, oil them again to keep them at their best.
I do not recommend using cooking oil. Many of those eventually become rancid. Instead, use mineral oil, as I do. You’ll only be using a few drops at a time, so there won’t be the sort of “yuck” factor that I get when I do a dozen or so all at once.
Properly maintained, a wooden utensil should last for years.