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Spatula for a new cook

potts Jun 5, 2012 11:41 AM

I just started having time to actually cook. I own 1 pans and 2 pots. I bought a spatula at Target. It's metal and plastic. I'm looking to invest in one that lasts a lifetime. Is this possible? Or are spatulas disposable? Looking for suggestions

  1. j
    John Francis Jun 12, 2012 05:24 AM

    There are different kinds of spatulas for different purposes. For mixing and scraping the bowl, a silicone or plastic head with at least one curved corner is what you need. I have two: a Rubbermaid Professional 13-1/2-Inch High-Heat Scraper, whose big heat-proof blade and long handle are good for stirring batters and using on the stove, and an unbranded one of half the size for when the Rubbermaid is just too much.

    For turning and flipping food in a skillet, the OXO Good Grips fish turner is a metal-headed spatula that despite its name is great for most purposes - Jacques Pepin uses this kind of spatula in his TV shows. For nonstick pans I use a Calphalon nylon turner; its edge isn't as thin as I'd like but it protects the nonstick surface.

    For spreading icing on cakes and cupcakes, a narrow unslotted metal spatula is the best tool, either straight or angled. I don't do this myself and the tool doesn't look like it would be useful for anything else, so I don't have one.

    1. k
      Kelli2006 Jun 9, 2012 11:47 PM

      I like the tools from either Forschner or Dexter Russell.

      If you have a GFS supply locally they have a surprisingly good supply of kitchen tools for great prices.

      1. Sid Post Jun 7, 2012 04:10 AM

        The Oxo silicone spatulas work pretty good for most things and are available on sale frequently at Target, Bed Bath ..., etc.

        The WIDE ~4 inch model is great for pancakes, french toast, fish, hamburger helper, etc. and the normal size one is handy for fried eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. I don't know if they will last a lifetime but, they are proving to be durable and long lasting.

        Wooden spoons work really well too. I like Bamboo which seems to be trendy and earth friendly but, they work well and are cheap too (not always true for the earth friendly products).

        The Tuesday Morning discount outlet can be a good place to score deals on premium kitchen gadgets at significant discounts. I've found things like Oxo whisks there for $2 which work great making omlettes and combining oils and herbs for rubs and dressings.

        Add a heavy metal (stainless steel, not chrome coated) spatula for the grill and cast iron frying pan and your set for spatulas. Heavy barbecue grill tongs are very handy for fried chicken and picking up things off the grill (potatoes, vegetables, chicken, etc.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sid Post
          Bacardi1 Jun 7, 2012 06:53 AM

          I have several long-handled bamboo utensils as well, but I hesitate to call the "spatulas" - they're more like long-handled flat paddles or stirrers; I can't see trying to really pick anything up with them

        2. SanityRemoved Jun 6, 2012 07:16 AM

          These are my main spatulas:

          http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/flexible-slotted-spatula/?pkey=cturner-spatulas
          http://www.dexter1818.com/Item_Details_1.asp?id=816&line=SS
          http://www.dexter1818.com/Item_Detail...

          The Dexter prices are lower at restaurant supply houses. The fish turner can be found there too but different brand than offered by W-S.

          It's extremely rare that I cook in teflon but we do have a plastic and a silicone (which I hate - some food behaves like a greased pig when coupled with teflon and silicone) and some wooden ones.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SanityRemoved
            g
            GH1618 Jun 6, 2012 10:33 AM

            Those industrial-strength Dexters will no doubt last forever, but for a stiff hamburger turner, I think mt LamsomSharp is just as good, and with a nicer handle:

            http://www.lamsonsharp.com/store/p/94...

            The 2.5" square blade is convenient for use in a small pan.

            1. re: GH1618
              tim irvine Jun 6, 2012 04:00 PM

              Agree completely on the 2.5" square LamsonSharp. That plus a cheap wooden one ($3.95 at SLT, so you know it is never going to cost more than that) for use in tin lined copper or well-seasoned Blue steel.

          2. i
            INDIANRIVERFL Jun 6, 2012 05:00 AM

            I have a variety of spatulas, from silicon to Government issue designed to withstand a nuclear attack. Each has their use.

            My advise is to go to Goodwill, spend 59 cents, and start trying them out.

            1. Bacardi1 Jun 5, 2012 02:13 PM

              As you get more & more into cooking, you're quickly going to find that a little flock of spatulas will end up serving you best. They're inexpensive, & having just the right one for the job can be immensely satisfying in the heat of the moment.

              While I have several metal, plastic, & silicon slotted spatulas; one of my favorites is a long, solid, flexible metal one that is just PERFECT for flipping fish filets, chicken cutlets, etc., etc. And since we eat a LOT of fish, I also have a long-handled "fish" spatula (from Williams-Sonoma), which has a rim at one edge so you can pick up a delicate fish filet for serving without having it fall off the other side.

              I guess what I'm saying is that if you see one that you think will be useful in your kitchen, just buy it. It won't go to waste. Gee - guess I'm kind of a spatula whore - lol!!

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bacardi1
                potts Jun 5, 2012 03:03 PM

                lol. I won't tell the other spatulas. I do like fish, other than a spatula anything else for getting it out of the pan?

                1. re: potts
                  Bacardi1 Jun 5, 2012 03:55 PM

                  Nah - a LONG wide thin-bladed solid flexible spatula is your best bet for fish. When you go shopping, think about the fish dishes you usually make & choose accordingly, although even if your choice isn't an exact fit, you'll still use it & it will just add to your collection (can you tell that I'm a spatula enabler? Lol!).

                  Seriously - a long solid flexible 4"-wide blade spatula will allow you to remove delicate flounder/sole/catfish, etc., filets from pan/baking dish to plate, & will also allow you to cut & serve filets from whole fish.

                  1. re: Bacardi1
                    j
                    johnnyb510 Jun 6, 2012 04:02 AM

                    Dexter makes excellent spatulas. I use a thin one and a fat one....pretty cheap too.

                    1. re: johnnyb510
                      Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2012 08:08 AM

                      It seems a few of us have good experience with Dexter Russell spatula (SanityRemoved, you and me).

              2. Chemicalkinetics Jun 5, 2012 02:03 PM

                <I'm looking to invest in one that lasts a lifetime. Is this possible? Or are spatulas disposable? Looking for suggestions>

                I agree with my friend GH1618. I think the best way to look for something which last a long time is to (a) it makes out one single piece (or few) instead of multiple component, and (b) metal usually last longer than plastic.

                By the way, are you looking for spatula for baking or are you looking for spatula for cooking? You can go for restaurant supply spatula. Those are built to last in a very rough environment and will last a long time in home kitchen. I am not recommend this specific one, but somethine like this:

                http://www.katom.com/135-16170.html

                3 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  potts Jun 5, 2012 02:59 PM

                  Ya I wasn't thinking about baking. Thank you for bringing that up. I was just thinking about an all around good spatula as kind of a starter piece to my hopefully growing cooking utensils. Restaurant supply! Awesome idea.

                  1. re: potts
                    Chemicalkinetics Jun 5, 2012 04:05 PM

                    I should be more clear. Not all restaurant spatula are build to last, but many are. Keep an eye out, and if you happen to have a restaurant supply store nearby, then go in have a look.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      TeRReT Jun 6, 2012 02:59 AM

                      Anything restaurant supply will last a great deal of time in a home kitchen. Small things like spatulas and tongs won't last forever in a house kitchen, but will last much longer then in a restaurant. Nothing lasts forever in a restaurant with the possible exceptions of a hobart mixer, a vita prep blender and a robo coupe food processor. Possibly an Imperia pasta machine as well provided your staff aren't morons and don't wedge knives between the rollers after jamming a towel in between them.

                2. k
                  kaleokahu Jun 5, 2012 01:54 PM

                  Hi, potts:

                  I've had good luck with wooden ones like this lasting and looking good for a long time, especially if you don't DW it every time. http://www.chefsarsenal.com/berard-ol... Silicone is good, too, excels at bowl-scraping. But over time they get kinda slimy and a little smelly.

                  I think spatulas are a little like pairs of shoes. If you have several and rotate the use, they last indefinitely. If you use the same one every day for everything, not so much.

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    potts Jun 5, 2012 03:01 PM

                    "I think spatulas are a little like pairs of shoes. If you have several and rotate the use, they last indefinitely." Noted. Does it matter what kind of wood they are made out of?

                    1. re: potts
                      k
                      kaleokahu Jun 6, 2012 01:02 PM

                      Hi, potts:

                      A little. Harder, tighter-grained wood resists splitting better. I've developed a liking for olivewood, because it's harder, a little oily, neutral tasting, and doesn't seem to absorb stains and odors quite like birch does. I like the high-contrast patterns in it, too. But birch is fine, and less expensive.

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                  2. m
                    mkatieq Jun 5, 2012 01:53 PM

                    I've been using the Williams-Sonoma silicone spatulas for years and I love them. I've had some of them for 10+ years and other than a slight change in the handle style they look just like my newer ones.

                    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mkatieq
                      potts Jun 5, 2012 03:00 PM

                      wow! thx for the tip!

                      1. re: mkatieq
                        Sid Post Jun 7, 2012 04:16 AM

                        The Le Crueset often have good deals on silicone spatulas. Occasionally, Amazon has a good deal on "quality" silicone spatulas too. Look for the ones with bamboo handles that let the silicone heads slip off for washing.

                      2. g
                        GH1618 Jun 5, 2012 12:10 PM

                        I also have a couple of wooden spatulas well over 30 years old. These serve as stirrers, really. A 30-year-old hardwood utensil looks vintage. A 30-year-old metal spatula from the crocery store cookware department looks like junk, even though still functional.

                        1. g
                          GH1618 Jun 5, 2012 11:48 AM

                          A lifetime? Depends on how long you are planning to live.

                          Years ago I used a metal spatula, but it's long gone. Now I am partial to silicone spatulas, because they are easier on my pans. I have two types: Pyrex and iSi Basics. I belive they will last the rest of my life with care.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: GH1618
                            potts Jun 5, 2012 11:57 AM

                            Great I just looked them up on Amazon. Thank you!

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