Trusty Tools- Spatula, Scraper and Peeler

rubber spatula, peeler and scraper

I think I may have a touch of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and it’s certainly reflected in the way my kitchen is organized and the utensils I love. One of my favorite things- and I mean ‘stuck on a deserted island and had only one tool’ favorite is the rubber spatula. It helps me pick up or scrape every last drop of a batter or sauce. I guess it all began when I used to work in a test kitchen in San Francisco when I came out of culinary school. We measured every recipe by the gram so every drop was scraped from a bowl or pot and weighed. So my proclivity for cleaning off every scrap of food from a container was born from that experience.  When I worked in a restaurant kitchen, I remember the mantra that my first culinary teacher drilled into our heads: “Be good to the dishwasher!” and that meant making sure to ease the dishwasher’s burden by having our pots and pans free of any excess food. It made the life of our dishwashers that much easier if they had a semi-clean container. Plus, as a cook, you learn to be frugal with food. Imagine leaving one ounce of cake batter in your mixing bowl! Gasp! I know I’m sick but trust me, I’m not the only line-cook who’s like this.

My very favorite spatula is made by Rubbermaid and is  actually a vintage model- 1962 to be exact. I’ve taken a photo of my babies so you can see why I think they are so special. See the little indentation on the side? It’s perfect for scraping the batter or anything clinging to the rim of a bowl. It’s ingenious!

it's the details that count- check out the indentation!

My second favorite tool in my tool kit is a very unlikely one but it’s my work horse. It’s a plain white plastic scraper about the size of a 3×5 card, it’s curved slightly on one side and perfectly straight on the other.  It costs about $1.25 and there is no branding on it, which makes it even more attractive to me! It’s so useful for scraping out bread doughs, portioning bread dough, biscuits, smoothing buttercream on the side of a cake and using it as an impromptu spatula. It’s also useful for scraping loose bits of dough on my wooden board. And I’ve recently discovered it’s great for making straight edges on dough. When I was a line cook, my trusty scraper was always in my apron pocket.

My last very favorite tool is my vegetable peeler from Kuhn Rikon. It’s less than $2.50 and it’s appeal is that it’s light but incredibly sharp. It’s shape is like that of a shaving razor which I think makes it more useful than the regular vegetable peeler. I can not only peel carrots and cucumbers, but it’s sharp enough and lightweight enough that I can peel a tomato! And the little loop on the side is great for removing the eyes off of potatoes.  This little beauty was also in my tool kit and sometimes lived in my apron pocket too!

antique Rubbermaid spatulas- check out the year!

The peeler and the scraper can be purchased at Sur la Table while the rubber spatula from Rubber Made can be purchased on These tools are cheap, durable and incredibly versatile and I think absolutely essential in a well-equipped tool kit for any cook. I hope you give these a try!

two trusty peelers- that's duct tape on the white one!

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