by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
There is a lot of – well, let's call it what it is – rubbish being talked about what a spurtle is. Fact is that it originates from a simple stick and all that the Scottish people did was to improve upon the simple stirring stick.
Also, to all accounts and purposes Wikipedia is talking dribble as regards to the spurtle, claiming that the spurtle or spirtle was originally a flat spatula for flipping oat cakes.
As far as I have been able to ascertain the spurtle, as we know it today, appears to have developed out of a simple stirring stick, used for porridge and gruel, originally just a stick with the bark removed, later a little more carved and, in the end lathe turned to the way we know it today.
Using a spurtle or a stirring paddle for making porridge or gruel instead of a wooden spoon prevents the stuff sticking to it and you just wipe it on the rim of the pot. While using a spoon there is always some porridge, some oats, or whatever else, that ends up rather “embedded” in the bowl of the spoon, so to speak. They weren't daft the old folks; the sure knew what they were doing.
So, in order to clear up the confusion, so to speak, this little piece here and the two photos. The first one shows what are claimed to be spurtles but which are not and the second one shows what are spurtles.