Thursday, January 14, 2010

The curious case of the upside-down spurtle

Who would have thought that a defining difference in the secret language of the sexes could boil down to which end of the spurtle you use to stir? (Let me explain.)

Last year my mom got all of her kids spurtles, a single use cooking utensil, used to stir porridge.

“Uh, thanks,” we all lied.

Cut to a few months later, when we were all up at the cottage for a wintry visit, and I was making good use of my mom’s spurtle by stirring up a big pot of oatmeal.

“Why are you using the handle end to stir with?” asked my brother David.

“No dummy,” I countered, “that’s the beater end of the spurtle. It helps to break down the lumps.”

“That’s just for show,” he insisted. “It’s a decorative handle.” And to prove his point he called the remaining men in the family into the kitchen, one by one, to ask which end of the spurtle they would use. They all chose the plain, smooth end.

And then he called our mom into the kitchen, who, like me, had been using the more useful “beater” end all along.

Suddenly we found ourselves at a crossroads: Was it 'mother knows best', or 'majority rules'?

And so we did what anyone else would do when faced with a similar quandary. We Googled it.

And for the first time in my entire life I was wrong. (But the good news is, my mom was wrong too.)

The men rejoiced while the women ate oatmeal.

The spurtle remains a handy tool nevertheless, good for mixing up all manner of porridge, oatmeal and even rice pudding.

And the more I think about it the more I realize just how lucky I am that I didn’t participate in the Golden Spurtle this year, as planned. Could you imagine the humiliation of using an upside-down spurtle during the world porridge making competition?

They would have kicked me out of Scotland!


inklings said...

I just found your blogpost googling to check I was using my spurtle the right way up! Thank you for a nice piece ...

Porridge Lady said...

You are not alone in using your Spurtle round the wrong way. I write this from England where our national radio - the BBC, broadcast a programme where the journalist reporting on Porridge traditions also used the wrong end.

As for the Golden Spurtle, get some practice in and come. It's a great comp, I've entered many times and won too.

Best wishes
Porridge Lady

Ravenview said...

We have spiffed our Spurtles up a bit to ensure that they are used "correctly" :) Check out our link...

Sarah M. said...

I just made my first batch of porridge with my new spurtle this morning - and used it upside down! I'm so glad I'm not the only one. Thanks for this fun post. :)

Anonymous said...

I (a man!) also use mine the wrong way round - makes total sense