Spatulas and You: A Buyer's Guide

April Fool's! We're not turning our backs on investing -- though we did fool some of you.

As the stock market swings wildly from day to day, there's a single important question that most don't consider: Are you getting the most out of your food flippers? A spatula, you see, is the keystone of the kitchen, the crux of the cookery, the mainstay of the mess. It really is an extension of the chef's own body; he is only as good as his spatula allows. But you knew all this already! What you may not have known is which ingredients make up a high-quality flipper. That ends now. By the end of this article, you will have everything you need to make an informed and Foolish spatula-buying decision.

Spatula stores
We've all strolled by the kitchen utensil section in our local grocery store, on our way to the cheese puff aisle. Keep on walking, Fool! This laughably slim selection can in no way meet your food-turning needs. Your goal is to fill your shopping cart with only the highest-quality spatulas for less than they're worth. To do this, you must visit a specialty spatula store, and there's really just one place to go for all of your spatula needs.

Spatula qualities
So what makes one spatula better than another? While price is certainly important, it's not the only thing you should consider. Some look at weight as well. Heavier spatulas can strain your wrist, causing health problems down the road. I prefer to look at the porousness of each spatula compared with my own personal exuberance for rotating food. You can use slot-width as a nice proxy for this permeability. I like to keep a high Porousness-to-Exuberance (P/E) ratio so I don't fling extra grease when I'm especially excited about a dish, but more experienced chefs might prefer buying low P/E spatulas. It really boils down to each individual's own situation and splash tolerance.

Long-term spatula management
Once you've built a basket of top-rated spatulas, it's very important to maintain them by not letting them sit idle. Some experts recommend a minimum usage of one hour per week per spatula. This is the only way you can truly know the advantages and risks of each flipper. Remember, it's not a marathon or a sprint; it's cooking. So flip on!

For amazing neighborhood-beating cooking, try as many spatulas as you want. Most stores will provide a free 30-day trial of the spatula -- if properly cleaned.

Jeremy Phillips owns many spatulas, none of which was singled out in this article. In fact, he can't walk into a grocery store without meandering to the spatula aisle. The Fool's disclosure policy will flip you like a hurricane.

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  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2008, at 1:22 AM, Airhead12 wrote:

    Well actually, price should not be a matter when buying a new spatula. Based upon my experience, one should buy a sturdy spatula that is not constructed using crappy spotwelding technology. Those spatualas tend to break before you reach your 500th fried egg/grilled cheese. Spend more on a spatula early on, and you will be a happier man.

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