When a new kitchen is being kitted out, inevitably spatulas or turners are added - they're pretty invaluable.
But you won't be the first person to scratch your head and think 'what's a slotted spatula for?' and 'why do I need a slotted AND a solid spatula?'
They both turn foods, so why do you need a slotted spatula when the solid one will turn all food?
Bearing in mind that most kitchens have both types of turners, surprisingly few people know why they should have both. Either they received both types as a set, or they simply bought them separately in a simple case of 'follow the crowd'.
What this also means is that most people use whichever turner they have to hand, and will use slotted and solid spatulas interchangeably with many different foods.
This naivety can cause problems!
The obvious use for slotted spatulas is to allow any excess fat to drip away, and this is likely to be the number one reason you actually hunt for a slotted spatula (instead of just using it because it was clean and to hand).
However, slotted spatulas are much more versatile! They're brilliant for using on fragile foods, such as pancakes, small omelets, crepes, quiche, eggs, cakes, fish etc.
Why? The slots allow air to get under the food item you are trying to turn. This allows the food to slip off the spatula when turning over, or turning out onto a plate.
If you can remember a time when food has got 'stuck' on a spatula, you were probably using a solid one! When there's no air underneath the food, it's likely to get stuck on the spatula and will need 'pushing off', which can damage fragile food items and ruin presentation.
Bakery items, such as flapjacks, can get very stuck on solid spatulas, and may even need to be turned upside down to release... and then your left with a flapjack where the presentation side is now facing the plate!
I know what your thinking... now that I've explained why you need a slotted spatula, a new question has probably emerged...
Why on earth would you need a solid spatula?
After all, if using a slotted one means foods don't get stuck fast, why not always use a slotted spatula?
Any foods with bumps, uneven bits, or with a granular surface can become caught between the slots of a slotted spatula.
Hamburgers, for example, unless you have very firm, solid patties, can become misshapen when using a slotted turner.
On a solid spatula, however, hamburgers stay in their nice shape. Solid spatulas are ideal for turning burgers, hash browns, fritters, vegetables, and anything that's coated with breadcrumbs or nuts.
They're also great for getting down into all the layers of a lasagna or meatloaf whilst keeping the sliced piece intact.
So, for once, following the crowd was actually a good idea! Make sure you have both a slotted and a solid spatula in your kitchen.
And now that you know what each one is used for, that's one less chance of having a kitchen disaster!