Spurtle

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A spurtle in the shape of a thistle

The spurtle (or spirtle) is a Scottish kitchen tool, dating from at least the fifteenth century. It was originally a flat, wooden, spatula-like utensil, used for flipping oatcakes on a hot griddle. This terminology is now confined to Angus and Perthshire.

Over time, the original implement changed shape and began being used specifically for stirring oatmeal and soups. The rod-like shape is designed for constant stirring which prevents the porridge from congealing and so becoming lumpy and unappetising. It looks like a fat wooden dowel, often with a contoured end to give the user a better grip. It is in common use throughout Scotland, although it is rarer in Angus and Fife where the term theevil is used.


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