Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spurtles, Thivels and Dibbers

Spurtle, or Thivel
The spurtle is the traditional Scottish porridge-stirring stick, known also as a thivel.  Porridge, or oatmeal, was the traditional staple food of Scotland.

Usually spurtles are tapered.  Some have handles shaped like a thistle, the national symbol of Scotland.  Legend warns to use the right hand to stir porridge in a clockwise direction.  Stirring "widdershins," or counter-clockwise, will surely bring bad luck to a home.

Maybe in 2012 we aren't eating much porridge, but the spurtle can be used to stir our stews, rice, soups, gravies, chili, jams, sauces, and all things stirrable on the stove.  One lady uses the spurtle to stir and prod her pickles during the week-long canning process.  The wooden spurtle won't scratch pots and pans and easily gets into the round corners.  I'm thinking this may be the unique gift for that special gal who has everything.

Dibber, or Dibble
The dibber, also known as the dibble, is a hand-held pointed tool for making holes in soil to plant seeds and bulbs. It can be dragged in the soil to create a trench to plant a row of seeds.  Another gift idea for the avid gardener.

So, whether we stir the stew or sow the seed, the primitive tools made of wood continue to sustain us.