While spatulas may be the most standard tool for the cooktop, spades may be the most underrated. So which is right for you? Well...both! Here is the what's what on spatulas and spades.
Spatulas: The Old Standard
We hardly have to explain all of the uses for a spatula - it's the gold standard when cooking on the stove, but you may be using a spatula when a spade should do the job. Spatulas are best for food that needs to be flipped and/or delicately removed from the cooking surface. Hence why spatulas are sometimes called "turners". So for cooking things like fried eggs, pancakes, chicken and fish, reach for your spatula.
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Spatulas also make great servers for the same foods they make as well as for casseroles, lasagnas, and anything cooked in a sheet pan. Our Birch Mosaic Spatula is particularly handsome as a server thanks to its delicately hand-inlaid mosaic handle.
Now, don't think all spatulas were created equal. Spatulas come in many different materials - plastic, silicone, metal, wood - but we're partial to wood for a few reasons. Unlike plastic, it won't melt, and unlike metal, it won't scratch your pans. Silicone is fine, but the hard plastic handles don't feel nearly as nice in your hand. Spatulas also come in different sizes and shapes. The old standard is a straight spatula, like our Medium Birch version, but we also carry smaller spatulas that are great for more delicate dishes and even serving pies and tarts. And if you haven't tried an angled spatula yet, you must! It's angled specifically for your dominant hand, so you can easily scoop food with the angle that's right for you.
Spades: A New Staple
While spatulas might be the old standard, kitchen spades are lesser known yet should be what you reach for first when sauteeing anything on the stove. Before I was introduced to spades, I would use a spatula or wooden spoon for everything in my frying pan, but no longer! My spade is my new go-to. Why? It's excellent for tossing, mixing, and scraping. I use it for everything from scrambled eggs (which it particularly excels at) to fried rice and stir-fry. Especially for anything that benefits from a bit of browning on the bottom, the spade will help you scrape those delicious bits up to add a nice little crunch.
Photo By Alex Liu
Spades are also amazing for mixing things up in the oven. No matter what you're roasting, it's going to need a good toss every now and then - whether it's that initial coat of silky olive oil, or halfway through to get a good brown on the other side, we reach for a spade every time we need to stir things up in the oven. Similar to on the stove, a spade is great for unsticking stuck bits of anything - whether it be brussels sprout leaves or butternut squash cubes.
Our juniper spade is particularly lovely and effective with its hand inlaid mosaic handle and thinly honed and angled blade.