A spurtle is a rod-shaped stirring implement for porridge.
The whole stick is 35 to 45 cm (14 to 18 inches) long, typically made from beech wood.
The handle end is usually decorated with a carved thistle design.
The spurtle allows long, slow stirring and cooking of the porridge.
Literature & Lore
If you stir your porridge counter-clockwise, you risk invoking the devil.
In the 1970s, the television cook Graham Kerr promoted spurtles:
“GRAHAM KERR, TV’S GALLOPING GOURMET. He cooks with a spurtle. Graham Kerr says he wouldn’t be without his spurtle when he prepares dishes on his television program and in his own kitchen. You’ll find this handy cooking tool can make it easier for you to prepare your favorite recipes (like the one in this ad), too. The spurtle can be used for mixing, pouring, lifting, and turning. It’s about 10 inches long, and made of close-grained hardwood. Perfect for use with mixing bowls and pans. You can get one of these handy spurtles FREE from Kellogg’s. Just send us the required proofs of purchase as directed below.” — Advertisement in Pomona Progress Bulletin. Pomona, California, US. 12 November 1972. P. 90.
In different areas of Scotland, a spurtle can also be referred to as a “Theevil”, “Theedle” or “Thible.”