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Is it a flipper or a spatula at your house?

ns538bmk Jan 15, 2007 09:09 PM

I've always called the thing you flip pancakes with a spatula, but if I'm flipping, maybe it's a flipper? And the rubber scraper on a stick, is that a spatula (too)? What do you call these at your house?

  1. ChinoWayne Mar 1, 2007 10:26 PM

    Its a spatula, Flipper lives out back, in the pool.

    1. Neuromancer Mar 1, 2007 10:11 PM

      I don't know where I learned that the "pancake turner" (or "turner" or "flipper") is actually called a spatula and the other is a rubber scraper. This was probably part of a Home Ec lesson in Iowa, where I went to Jr. High. It stuck in my head, but not my mouth. So I usually call them both spatulas, then "correct" myself mentally.

      I have no problem with the word "flipper" and am surprised people have such strong reactions to it. Regionally speaking, I think I heard "flipper" used growing up in the midwest (Kansas/Iowa).

      1. Andiereid Feb 26, 2007 09:18 AM

        In this house, it's "Count Spatula"!

        1. m
          misterbrucie Feb 26, 2007 09:09 AM

          They're all spatulas to me.

          1. atheorist Feb 25, 2007 05:05 PM

            In what part of the country do they say "Flipper?" In NY, New England I had never heard it. There are spatulas and rubber spatulas.
            We inherited Grandma'a spatula and love it so. It is razor thin, springy and bendy and strong as well, steel. It can get under and unstick anything! It must be over 60 years old. I have never seen another like it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: atheorist
              BobB Feb 26, 2007 06:14 AM

              My mother had one like that too! Does yours have a red handle?

            2. c
              CrazyOne Feb 25, 2007 06:15 AM

              In our house growing up they were all spatulas. Later on I saw the flat kind used for flipping pancakes, etc, referred to as a "turner", which I thought was fine. "Flipper" is not a word I've ever seen or heard used for a kitchen utensil before reading this thread this morning, and it's not one I would use. Sounds silly. Sorry. :-)

              1. o
                Oh Robin Feb 24, 2007 08:33 PM

                Spatula for turning, rubber spatula for getting the last drop of peanut butter from the jar. I have always been supernerd about these kinds of terms. 7th grade home ec basically ruined my social life when teacher held up whisk and asked if anyone could name it. I was the only one waving my hand wildly and giggling with eye rolling as other students guessed "whipper" and "egg scrambler". Teacher finally called on me in disgust. Ah, memories.

                1. c
                  chrisv Feb 24, 2007 07:20 PM

                  IndyGirl, a spatula is spatula and a flipper is a flipper. Just let it go.

                  1. revsharkie Jan 17, 2007 01:33 AM

                    Just remembered this: when my sister was in junior high she took a home ec class (didn't stick), and they of course had to learn the correct names of all the utensils. She about drove my mom crazy for awhile correcting her, "It's a RUBBER SCRAPER!" every time my mom said something about a spatula. (Just in case this is a regional thing, my mom grew up in Oklahoma and we grew up just north of the state line in southeastern Kansas.)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: revsharkie
                      RShea78 Jan 17, 2007 06:57 AM

                      That is nothing new when it comes to the Educational front. LOL!

                      I had my fair share in mechanics class. I mean the teacher arguing that a Vice Grip (brand and even stamped on the thing) is not a vice grip, it is a locking pliers! Or a Channel Lock is a adjustable groove pliers.

                      Yes, in 8th grade we had 2 weeks of HE. (We actually called it Hells Econ) The use of the word Spatula was so outlawed it meant detention! Or 10 wacks with the Nun's stick.

                      Oh, there was variations of the scraper. Rubber headed scraper, Nylon scraper (all one piece) and this one oddball- Stainless Steel Scraper. I never saw one of them afterwards, as it was a stamped thing like a spoon with one straight edge and one having a curved notch in it. It did in all respects look like its handled counterparts.

                      Geez, lets not get into the turners! That was by itself a 50 "types of" test.

                      Portion Dishers anyone? In 8th grade we had to know what the #xx of scoop meant. (#30 meant 30 average scoops to a quart)


                    2. Atomica Jan 16, 2007 07:31 PM

                      Spatulas and rubber spatulas.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Atomica
                        LindaWhit Feb 25, 2007 08:55 AM

                        Ditto - whether plastic or metal, "pancake turners" are spatulas, and the rubber scrapers are rubber spatulas.

                      2. Caitlin McGrath Jan 16, 2007 07:26 PM

                        Spatula - they're all spatulas, the ones we use to flip pancakes and burgers, the ones we use to scrape bowls, and the silicone ones that we use on the stove. If I have to ask SO to grab something, I just say rubber spatula or silicone spatula, or specify the particular one I want (slotted, wide, etc.) if it's not completely obvious what I want/need at the moment. Neither of us would think to call them anything else.

                        1. f
                          fluffyk67 Jan 16, 2007 07:12 PM

                          In our house, we say "spatch" for either one, scraper or flipper.

                          What's up with Flipper Pie? I've only read about it -- I guess it's a real thing? Not an urban myth, as I had hoped.

                          Flipper is a punk band.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: fluffyk67
                            Infomaniac Jan 18, 2007 02:46 PM

                            It's been about a while since my last Flipper Pie. I remember it being tender and tasty. Few mainlanders acquire a taste for them but I guess I was lucky.

                          2. MikeG Jan 16, 2007 06:36 PM

                            "Flipper Pie"

                            I don't know which is worse: that image or the Flipper theme song. I think I need a combination mind's eye _and_ ear poker-outer. (g)

                            1. Infomaniac Jan 16, 2007 05:54 PM

                              In my house it's called a Spatula.

                              Flipper...I think of Flipper Pie, a New Brunswick specialty, made from seal flippers.

                              1. vicki_vale Jan 16, 2007 05:45 PM

                                I call m both spatula, and I'm in New York.
                                Same up north, with my Canadian friends.
                                Never heard of them called flippers!

                                1. MikeG Jan 16, 2007 05:00 PM

                                  "Soon I realized I lived in the State of Confusion singing Flipper!"

                                  Gee, thanks. Now I'll have that song running through my head all day! (g) Worse yet, I've forgotten big chunks of the lyrics and now I"m going to actually have to Google for them. (lol)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MikeG
                                    RShea78 Jan 16, 2007 05:46 PM

                                    They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
                                    No-one you see, is smarter than he,
                                    And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
                                    Flying there-under, under the sea!
                                    Everyone loves the king of the sea,
                                    Ever so kind and gentle is he,
                                    Tricks he will do when children appear,
                                    And how they laugh when he's near!
                                    They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
                                    No-one you see, is smarter than he,
                                    And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
                                    Flying there-under, under the sea!


                                    Generally I loop the first 2 lines. It adds to the "State of Mind". Heheheh


                                  2. MikeG Jan 16, 2007 02:36 PM

                                    Either that or a dolphin, depending on the age of your audience. (vbg) (Sorry, I couldn't resist,)

                                    1. MikeG Jan 16, 2007 02:35 PM

                                      Spatula, in NYC and Massachusetts. In eastern Massachusetts, asking for a "flipper" will get you a Portuguese donut-like pastry. ;)

                                      1. BobB Jan 16, 2007 02:02 PM

                                        Spatula for all of the above, I've never heard the word flipper used for anything in the kitchen. I'm guessing this is yet another culinary regionalism. I'm a New Englander - where are the flipper folks from?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: BobB
                                          RShea78 Jan 16, 2007 04:51 PM


                                          Back when I made pancakes at Denny's I was known to mutter to the song and tune to the old "Flipper" show. I did it as a joke to my fellow cooks that insisted on calling the turner, flipper.

                                          Believe it or not- Only 1 manager/cook there called them a spatula, but soon changed his tune when a dishwasher (person) decided to bring him the entire 22 quart insert to him, because all the spatulas were to be in one pan. See all "alike" tools are to be in one pan. Not all "named alike" tools... Get it?

                                          Soon I realized I lived in the State of Confusion singing Flipper. I welcomed the end of the deep end!

                                          1. re: BobB
                                            sivyaleah Jan 16, 2007 05:07 PM

                                            I've never heard "flipper" used either. Only spatula. I'm from NYC/NJ.

                                          2. RShea78 Jan 16, 2007 10:06 AM

                                            I use the words; turner, scraper, spreader and so on to describe my tools. I add accordingly such as, slotted hamburger turner to mean the more specific tool in case of question.

                                            BTW- I do not use a turner to flip eggs or to place the eggs on a plate. Having the right egg or omelet skillet, who needs tools?


                                            1. Pei Jan 16, 2007 06:59 AM

                                              I have SO trained so I just say "Get me the thingie." He looks at what I'm cooking and grabs the appropriate utensil. :)

                                              Yes, I know, showoff.

                                              But in my mind, a spatula is for scraping down bowls and a flipper is for flipping pancakes.

                                              1. FoodFuser Jan 16, 2007 05:45 AM

                                                Flipper: a dolphin with really good fins.

                                                Turner: a singer with really good legs.

                                                Spatula Clark: a singer with really good hairdo; recorded "Downtown" in 1964.

                                                Spatula kitchen: any item that is used to flip, turn, or spread. Distinguished by context.

                                                1. pitu Jan 16, 2007 02:11 AM

                                                  spatula, identified by color in my house
                                                  the black spatula is the pancake turner, if you must

                                                  Flipper = famous dolphin

                                                  1. revsharkie Jan 16, 2007 02:07 AM

                                                    the rubber thing is a spatula. the other thing is a pancake turner.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: revsharkie
                                                      Aromatherapy Jan 17, 2007 12:43 PM

                                                      Yup. Hm, will have to ask folks if that's Kansas or S. Jersey.

                                                    2. c
                                                      ClaireWalter Jan 15, 2007 11:20 PM

                                                      Around here:
                                                      A spatula is used for flipping pancakes.
                                                      A rubber spatula is used for scraping bowls.
                                                      Scuba divers use fins, and yes, Flipper is a dolphin.

                                                      1. hotoynoodle Jan 15, 2007 11:14 PM

                                                        flippers are for scuba diving.

                                                        1. m
                                                          momjamin Jan 15, 2007 09:53 PM

                                                          We call them all "spatulas," and the rubber scraper is a "rubber scraper" (or "rubber spatula") only if we need disambiguation. (I also have an offset spatula for frosting (or is it icing), but that's typically an "offset spatula.")

                                                          1. jfood Jan 15, 2007 09:50 PM

                                                            Spatula in the kitchen
                                                            Flipper is at Sea World

                                                            1. Candy Jan 15, 2007 09:47 PM

                                                              I call the flipper a spatula (my mother called them pancake turners not matter what she was turning with them) but also have long thin one I use when baking or for spreading icings etc. The rubber scrapers are rubber scrapers. I did have a Home Ec teacher when I was in 7th grade that called rubber scrapers Scotch Lickers because they could so frugally scrape the last bit out of a bowl or pan.

                                                              1. s
                                                                swsidejim Jan 15, 2007 09:14 PM


                                                                1. FuzzyT Jan 15, 2007 09:12 PM

                                                                  Flipper is for turning burgers and pancakes.

                                                                  A spatula is what you use to get the batter out of a bowl.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: FuzzyT
                                                                    Yongeman Jan 15, 2007 11:16 PM

                                                                    Agree with FuzzyT.

                                                                  2. IndyGirl Jan 15, 2007 09:11 PM


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