Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Search of the Spurtle

In recent weeks, I've received several blog comments and emails regarding a kitchen tool that Lucinda Scala Quinn referenced in my interview with her last year; the Spurtle.  Seems that many people are looking for a spurtle!

The Spurtle, is a Scots kitchen tool , dating from at least the fifteenth century.  It was originally a flat, wooden, spatula-like utensil used for flipping oatcakes on a hot griddle. Over time, the utensil changed shape into a stirring stick, being used for stirring soups and oatmeal.  It was thought that the original flat design crushed the oats while stirring, which was undesirable.  The rod like shape was made for constant stirring and would prevent the porridge from congealing and becoming lumpy. 

In the United States, the Spurtle is still thought of as the cross between a wooden spoon, a spatula, and a turner. 

In the early 1990's, "spurtles" made an American comeback as one of the essential kitchen tools.  Today, the term is not as likely to be used as the utensils description. 

I did find a great source (for those that have asked) for hand-turned and crafted spurtles (or also known as "classic stirrers").  Check out the Forest Treasures for more information on their beautiful stirrers. 

For those that have asked, I hope this helps a little bit.  If a hand-crafted spurtle is not to your liking, I would suggest shopping at your favorite kitchen supply store for a similarly designed utensil!


mike said...

I wonder if that is similar to a muddler (for cocktails). I've certainly heard of this, but would have had no idea what it was... interesting. Another, yet another, kitchen utensil to buy! :)

Elaine said...

I have one similar to the second photo, but I didn't know what it was called. Glad to be able to give it a name. It is a great tool to use when you need to scrape up something on the bottom of the pot and don't want to scratch the surface. I use mine often and as with the wooden spoons it only gets better with age.