Inessential Tools: Spurtle
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JFK May 5, 2021
I blame the Victorians for inventing the concept of single-use items which lurk unused and unloved at the back of shelves and drawers around the planet. A spurtle is certainly not only for porridge, but is much like any other versatile kitchen implement. A spurtle was traditionally used for anything liquid that needed stirring in a cooking pot, not just porridge. So Shakespeare's three witches would have used a spurtle to stir their cauldron, for example. Any soup, stew, risotto, scrambled eggs, etc would be the better for using a spurtle, some of which are flattened paddles more like spatulas, not the round pointy wand-type along the lines of the one shown in Mark Weinberg's admirable photo above. Your time in Scotland should also have taught you how frugal Scottish society is by nature. Whether rounded or flattened, the number of spurtles one can shape from a piece of wood would far outnumber the number of spoons, which far less waste. Not all spurtles could be used as you describe, but can and are used to flip eggs or baked items such as biscuits and scones (US: cookies and biscuits). Please remember cooking is like any other art or craft, so use what works for you. And in a student household, necessity is the mother of invention, so you may yet find yourself using your spurtle as a convenient back scratcher too. ;) Keep up the good work. :) JFK
jim September 8, 2015
toothpick for those that have a molar or bicuspid removed temporarily or permanently. Especially in the UK or NH
Nancy September 1, 2015
or as a make-do molinillo for Mexican hot chocolate, or muddler for mint juleps at Kentucky Derby time or whenever you want one.
Ali R. July 15, 2015
Also not Scottish, but I love my spurtle. It's most frequently used for stirring porridge in the mornings. Mine's a bit too skinny to use to crush spices or to roll out dough, but it's perfect for mixing dough before kneading!
Jenny X. July 16, 2015
Ooh, I never even thought about using it to mix dough! Adding that to the repertoire :)
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