Not too many people in the U.S. are familiar with spurtles. but this ancient Scottish cooking utensil has been gaining new fans lately. Why, you may ask? Because everyone’s favorite quaint British breakfast food (and the national food of Scotland) porridge, is having a moment. If you haven’t sampled a dish of gourmet porridge lately you’re missing out. The Guardian recently reported on the trend, “Unlike many other foods of the moment, it is egalitarian: affordable, easy to make, vegan if you use nut milks, and gluten-free if you buy the right oats (i.e., ones that are not processed in factories that handle gluten products).” Nick Barnard, co-founder of Rude Health and author of Eat Right adds, “Food fads come and go, but porridge is an ancestral food that I know will survive as a truly nourishing meal.”
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So now you’re ready to try your hand at posh porridge. You simply can’t make the perfect bowl without a spurtle. Straight spurtles are made for stirring porridge so that it comes out silky smooth and lump free every time. This style is basically a simple (traditionally) maple wood baton and it’s the slender girth that produces such smooth results. Plus, the wood won’t scratch your pans.
You may want to go all the way and get a whole spurtle set. You’ll find yourself pulling out the traditional spurtle whenever you’re making stews, gravies, soups and sauces. Paddle spurtles are similar to spatulas and were originally used for flipping oat cakes. Those come in a variety of shapes and they’re fantastic for flipping pancakes, getting cookies and cakes off of pans, cooking eggs…basically if it’s flat or needs scraping there’s a spurtle for that.
If you find yourself becoming a total spurtles and porridge fanatic, you need to start planning your trip to Scotland to compete in the annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Competition in October. It’s quite a spectacle and an astrophysicist won last year!