Super cool tool
Ever stumble upon a tool that ends up being something you can’t live without? This happened to me years ago, when I still lived at home and my mother was gifted with a wooden spatula, slightly curved and pointed on one end, that made nearly every stovetop task easier to execute. When I moved out I pondered stealing it.
So it was with this educated eye that I assessed the Spurtle, from Mad Hungry. Part spoon, part spatula, the Spurtle is a seemingly unassuming paddle with a long, wide flat surface that allows for efficiency and versatility. It makes quick work of tossing a panful of stir-fry or fried rice, folding delicate whipped cream into a dessert, scraping the flesh from a squash, scraping the edges and corners of a pan, and scooping and spreading a nut butter over a slice of bread in one fell swoop. And because the Spurtle is flat, it's simple to scrape off any food or sauce stuck on its surface, by simply scraping it against the edge of the pan or bowl you're working with.
It’s a tool to reach for everyday. And because it's wooden, it won't scratch pots and pans. The Spurtle is based on a 500-year-old tool from Scotland, originally used for stirring vats of oatmeal.
Mad Hungry is a cooking website run by cookbook author and television cooking show host Lucinda Scala Quinn and her sons. Quinn is also a senior vice president at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. All this media experience has made Quinn quite savvy, and she peddles her Spurtles on the television shopping channel QVC (channel 2 on Oceanic Time Warner), which is where I got my set.
It comprises four pieces made of acacia: a full-size, 12-3/4-by-2-inch Spurtle; a full-size slotted version, a mini, 8-3/4-by-2-inch solid Spurtle, and a long, made-to-fit spoon rest. Though the set was priced at $19.98, after an exorbitant $9.22 shipping to Hawaii, plus $1.31 tax, the grand total was $30.51. Still, at about $7.63 apiece and a one-year warranty, the ease it provides in the kitchen makes it a worthwhile investment.
Here are some other things I saw Quinn do with the Spurtle in a video on QVC's site (qvc.com), which is posted along with the product info: With the regular tool, she scooped mayo into a bowl with some canned tuna or chicken (I couldn't tell which) and was able to stir and break up meat chunks, then fold in other ingredients, in mere seconds. Using the slotted Spurtle, she efficiently incorporated butter into a pot of cooked potato chunks while roughly mashing them; scrambled eggs by using the tool as a whisk; whisked dry ingredients, then whisked it with wet ingredients; and even separated eggs by resting the tool over a bowl and carefully pouring precracked eggs over the slots. The mini spreader made rapid work of frosting cupcakes with one quick twist of the wrist.
At madhungry.com, a two-piece bamboo set sells for $24.99, with a standard $8 shipping to Hawaii. It includes a 13-by-2-inch Spurtle and a 8-3/4-by-2-inch mini version.