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ISO Julia Child's "mashing fork", for lack of a better term

greygarious Jan 15, 2011 08:55 AM

I watched an early French Chef episode in which she used an oversized fork to mash potatoes. It had a heavy handle and long tines that were bent at much more of an angle than an eating fork would be. It looked like it did a better job than a masher, with more ergonomic efficiency. It seems to me that it would also be better for hand-mixing doughs and batters than a mixing spoon. Are these still available anywhere? I looked on eBay and Amazon in vain. The Norpro granny fork is similar in size, but is too straight.

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  1. TrishUntrapped RE: greygarious Jan 15, 2011 09:06 AM

    Are you talking about a mixing fork, similar to the one depicted below? In my copy of The French Chef cookbook, there are a couple pages of utensils that Julia used, with explanations. This is the only one that matches what you are describing. Called a mixing fork, Julia said she used it for mashing as well as blending soft foods.


    1 Reply
    1. re: TrishUntrapped
      Mother of four RE: TrishUntrapped Jan 16, 2011 12:32 PM

      I have one and use it all the time!

    2. i
      iyc_nyc RE: greygarious Jan 15, 2011 09:35 AM

      I think that's a Foley Fork, but no longer made under that manufacturer. You can get similar per the Amazon link Trish provided or the original Foley (vintage) on eBay sometimes.

      3 Replies
      1. re: iyc_nyc
        greygarious RE: iyc_nyc Jan 15, 2011 09:53 AM

        Trish and iyc, I edited my OP to say that neither Amazon nor eBay have the style I saw on the program. It has just the right curve to both the tines and shaft to allow mashing without your elbow akimbo, and efficient mixing.

        1. re: iyc_nyc
          BIGGUNDOCTOR RE: iyc_nyc Feb 4, 2013 05:47 PM

          If you can find a Foley Fork, get it. They were made up through the 80's , so there should be some floating around.

          1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR
            Kholvaitar RE: BIGGUNDOCTOR Aug 9, 2013 06:50 AM

            I'm going to get one of these.


        2. wekick RE: greygarious Jan 15, 2011 01:54 PM

          Dorie Greenspan talks about thIs I believe. You have to scroll down a little. The one pictured is somewhat like a Foley fork.


          I don't think the one Amazon has works as well as the Foley. I have one I bought at an antique mall.

          It is hard to see this on the picture but the tines each are angled a little more on the Foley, so there is a little more cutting action.
          Here is a picture of one. I think you can bend the whole thing a little to make it the angle you want.

          2 Replies
          1. re: wekick
            greygarious RE: wekick Jan 15, 2011 02:05 PM

            DG and I watched the same episode but I do not think her fork, or the Foley fork, are the same shape as Julia's, which I believe had longer tines and only 4 or 5 of them. Definitely more of an angle to the handle, and curve to the tines, though she may have bent them that way. It appears to be a better design than the modern ones. I once had a large antique eating fork that probably would have worked but never thought to use it as a prep tool, and long since sold it. No big deal as other tools suffice, but if I ever see one in a flea market or yard sale, I'm getting it!

            1. re: greygarious
              wekick RE: greygarious Jan 15, 2011 02:19 PM

              I would like to find that tool. Probably some thing she got in France! Maybe handmade. I have seen bigger mashers and the handle is angled more but the tines are closed at the top. I did see something online somewhere in Asia, but couldn't tell if the tines were closed on the distal end. I also have a slightly smaller pastry blending fork with 4 tines and it is cast aluminum I believe.

          2. TrishUntrapped RE: greygarious Jan 15, 2011 02:23 PM

            The Amazon Granny Fork gts extremely good reviews. Thanks to this post I've decided to buy one. BTW, the Foley Fork in The French Chef Cookbook has a black handle. Apparently, from what I have read the black they had wooden handles at one point then switched.

            1. s
              Satiated RE: greygarious Jan 15, 2011 05:16 PM

              I think this is the fork you are referring to, starting at :20. Julia on David Letterman, back in the day.



              2 Replies
              1. re: Satiated
                TrishUntrapped RE: Satiated Jan 16, 2011 05:09 AM

                What a wonderful video! Loved it! Julia was one sharp cookie.

                1. re: Satiated
                  greygarious RE: Satiated Jan 16, 2011 07:24 AM

                  I have dial-up, so it took over a half hour to download 30 seconds of the clip but I think it is part of the PBS special remembering Julia, because I've seen it in recent years. Enjoyable clip but no, that's not the same fork.

                2. breadchick RE: greygarious Jan 16, 2011 01:29 PM

                  Would it be a fork like this?


                  I was thinking of this when reading your post.

                  I looked at the Julia video w/Letterman, and I have that fork in a white plastic. I use it for pasta, as I don't think my white version would work really well for mashing.

                  1. Will Owen RE: greygarious Jan 16, 2011 02:01 PM

                    I have several old granny forks, including one given to me by an elderly Tennessee woman in her farm-house kitchen, so it certainly qualifies! All of mine are rather small, though. I still use them as mixing forks, especially for the initial mixing of meatloaf ingredients and stirring cheese into a bechamel.

                    Yes, I spotted that "granny fork" in a cookware catalog recently and was put off by its flatness.

                    1. tanuki soup RE: greygarious Jan 16, 2011 08:30 PM

                      I use a big, heavy stainless steel serving fork (like for dishing out sliced roast beef at a buffet lunch). It's about 9 inches long. I'd suggest searching for "serving fork" at Amazon. Lots of choices.

                      1. o
                        oceanhillbk RE: greygarious Feb 4, 2013 06:25 AM

                        Since this conversation is over two years old, perhaps no one cares anymore, but.... perhaps they do! I saw Julia's mixing fork on her episode of the French Chef about Terrines and Patés. I was very excited because it was something I have never seen before and it looks to be very basic but multifunctional. Perhaps it is the same one she used for the mashed potatoes.

                        I went back through and looked at it frame by frame, googled again and again, with all the possible name variations, and looked at several local kitchen stores. What I came up with is that she is using this: http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Endurance-... or something virtually identical to it. The tines on this fork have uniform length and curve, so it is not a Foley, Pastry, or Granny Fork. It has a black plastic handle that is the same size and shape as the one in the episode. The tines have a pretty severe curve (although a little difficult to see in the product photo) like the one she had, but it is posible that she bent them even further (this would be easy to do). It is entirely possible that she had different similar tools -- the one in the Letterman clip is totally different -- but this is definitely the one she used in the paté episode. I was able to find one at a local shop. It only cost a few dollars and I am anxious to try it out.

                        Good luck finding the tool you are looking for. Hope this helps!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: oceanhillbk
                          greygarious RE: oceanhillbk Feb 10, 2013 09:09 AM

                          Thank you - it is helpful to know that there's more curve than one would think from the picture.

                          1. re: oceanhillbk
                            Cehartsock RE: oceanhillbk Mar 27, 2013 09:12 PM

                            I care! I'm watching that episode now and just ordered the fork. Thanks! Can't wait to get it.

                            1. re: oceanhillbk
                              happybaker RE: oceanhillbk Mar 27, 2013 09:25 PM

                              Oh I think this is it! And may have to buy it!

                              My mom had what is known as a foley fork - and it was AWESOME. By the time I could get it from her, it had over 50 years of use and was a bit mangled. So I got the norpro granny fork - and it's not "it".

                              This looks oh so close...

                              Thank you for the post!

                            2. pdxgastro RE: greygarious Feb 9, 2013 12:44 AM

                              Why don't you just use a ricer?

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: pdxgastro
                                greygarious RE: pdxgastro Feb 9, 2013 10:37 AM

                                Because I loathe wasteful unitaskers, and because a ricer takes up a lot more storage room, and is pricier, than a fork.

                                1. re: greygarious
                                  MplsM ary RE: greygarious Feb 10, 2013 02:18 AM

                                  Does this article help?


                                  It's a lot like the Granny fork linked above, but there is a better shape to it.

                                  1. re: MplsM ary
                                    greygarious RE: MplsM ary Feb 10, 2013 09:10 AM

                                    Thanks - obviously the writer and I saw the same show. I put the fork on my Amazon list.

                                    1. re: greygarious
                                      greygarious RE: greygarious Aug 9, 2013 03:29 PM

                                      I finally got the RSVP Endurance model http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000... a few weeks ago. It's not the same as Julia's but works really well and I *love* it.
                                      In addition to mashing, it is excellent for mixing muffin-type batters, scrambling eggs, and the like.

                                    2. re: MplsM ary
                                      happybaker RE: MplsM ary Apr 4, 2013 10:54 AM

                                      That's the Dorie Greenspan article, reprinted.

                                      That said, I did buy the endurance fork from Amazon and it looks awesome (just got it today.) The handle has a bit more curve than I recall of my parents Foley but the fork itself appears to be spot on. The right shape tines and curve.

                                      After I use it I'll report back.

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