In case you ever wondered…

From Wikipedia – A spatula is a small implement with a broad, flat, flexible blade used to mix, spread and lift materials including foods, drugs, plaster and paints. It derives from the Latin word for a flat piece of wood or splint (a diminutive form of the Latin spatha, meaning broadsword), and hence can also refer to a tongue depressor. The words spade (digging tool) and spathe are similarly derived. The word spatula is known to have been used in English since 1525.

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And should you be wondering why I was wondering about this (and even if not!)… I was in the kitchen trying to shovel some oven chips (fries) onto my plate with one of these things and I wondered (out loud as you do) why it was called what it was and of course, no one knew and so, me being me, I had to look it up.

I do wonder though what they called it ‘before’ 1525. You can imagine the scene in a medieval kitchen (around December 1524, just before tea):

Cook. Pass me that thing.

Serf. What ‘thing’?

Cook. That thing there with the handle.

Serf. What? This?

Cook. No you yoik, that’s a bloody spoon. No, the thing with the flat end.

Serf. Oh, this! Can’t we give it a name instead of ‘thing with a flat end’?

Cook. I’ll splat you with it in a minute..

Serf. Let’s call it ‘Splatula’ then!

And so a name was born. Add in several hundred years of vocal corruption and it’s a ‘spatula’.

All that Latin stuff up top? Nah, that’s just rubbish to make clever people feel good about themselves!

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