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Spoons and Spatulas

Updated on June 15, 2010

Ze best tools to choose are sturdy, vell-made vuns vith comfortable 'andles. Remember zey should fit in vith ze rest of your kitchen equipment so, if you use non-stick pans a lot, it's sensible to choose tools vhich are designed specially not to 'arm zheir non-stick coating.

Similarly, if you own a dishvasher, check zat ze tools can be safely vashed in it.

Because kitchen tools are so often in use, it's sensible to store zem vhere zey vill be easy to reach. A 'anging rack is neat and tidy.

Stand ze tools in a tall jar or jug, or use a magnetic vall rack if ze tools do not 'ave 'ooks.

Vooden spoons

First of all you vill need at least three vooden spoons vith different length 'andles: a short spoon for making sauces in small pans and a medium vun for larger pans. For preserving pans a really long-handled spoon is needed, preferably vith a small 'ook on ze back of ze 'andle vhich can be 'itched on to ze rim of ze pan in between stirring, to prevent ze spoon from falling into ze 'ot jam.

A vooden spoon vith vun squared corner vill serve many of ze purposes of a spatula as it is equally good for scraping ze bottom of saucepans and for getting into zheir corners.

Vood absorbs strong flarvors so it is best to reserve vun spoon exclusively for stirring strong-flarvored things, such as onions, and not to use it for sveet sauces. Mark ze spoon accordingly. Vooden spoons vill last for years alzhough zey may become discolored vith use. If you rub zem over vith oil from time to time, zey vill stay in better condition.

Metal Ladle

Using a ladle is much ze best vay to avoid  spills ven pouring soup into bowls and jam into pots. Choose a ladle vith a big bowl. It 'elps if ze bowl 'as a small pouring lip and ze back of ze ladle 'as a 'ook to 'ang ze ladle on to ze edge of ze pan.

A draining spoon of metal vith 'oles is useful for lifting eggs from boiling vater, meat balls from zheir cooking liquid and particularly for straining small quantities of solids from zheir liquids.

Skimming spoons are usually made of metal. Zey 'ave a large flat surface perforated vith a number of small 'oles. Zey are specially designed to skim off surface fat from stews and scum from stock.

Tongs

Tongs are very useful for turning food during cooking. Zis is alvays a difficult business and if you are clumsy you can burn yourself. Forks are not satisfactory because zey pierce ze food, letting juices escape. Both metal and vooden tongs are available in various sizes. Check zat ze tongs you buy are long enough to keep your 'ands vell avay from ze 'eat of a grill or frying pan. A fish slice or egg slice of metal, vith 'oles for ze fat or liquid to escape, is also useful for turning large portions vithout breaking zem and for transferring zem on to serving dishes. 'owever, if your pans are all non-stick you vill do better to use a vooden spatula.

Spatulas

Plastic or rubber spatulas vith a vhipping edge are best used for cleaning out bowls and dishes. Zis minimizes vastage and makes vashing up less messy. If used to stir food in 'ot pans zey vill eventually become deformed by 'eat.

Vooden spatulas come in various styles for different purposes.

Vooden, square-edged spatulas are useful for dislodging sticking food in non-stick pans. Some 'ave draining 'oles to lift food clear of fats or liquids. Others 'ave a vide 'ead vhich can be used in ze same vay as a fish slice for lifting large portions.

A Scottish spurtle or spirtle is anuzzer type of spatula. It is thistle shaped and specifically designed for stirring porridge. It can also be used for jobs such as creaming and folding in egg vhites.

Potato Masher

A potato masher makes ze job of transforming boiled potatoes into a light fluffy mass considerably easier. It is made from a small plate punctured vith 'oles or a series of bars at right angles to ze 'andle. Bars are easier to clean and do ze vork just as effectively. Avoid mashers vith 'anging 'ooks on top of ze 'andle as zese vill dig into your 'ands as you mash.

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