19 Aug2011

Single-use kitchen doodad. I once saw Mario Batali explaining how to make the perfect risotto and of course he was using a risotto spoon, a wooden implement with an oval hole in the middle for the risotto to flow through as you are about to finish off the dish. It was intriguing for the sole reason that I have never come across one before, and I put it in the back of my mind for several years. The last couple of times we were in Italy, I kept an eye out for such a spoon, but never noticed any for sale. Then I heard Mario Batali introduced his own line of kitchen equipment and of course, wouldn’t you know it, he had not only a risotto finishing spoon, but a risotto ladle as well. Use the latter earlier in the cooking process, and the former as you come to the end of cooking. OA, I know, but we like risotto, and as far as kitchen doodads go, this is modestly priced…

Several trips to stores such as Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table always yielded nada on risotto spoons, and I actually thought this must be a brilliant tool for it to be out of stock everywhere… So imagine my surprise, when on a recent trip to the large, godawful-I-can’t-stand-it-and-yet-I-go-there-once-every-few-years Duty Free Philippines Store near the the Manila international airport and I find a WHOLE DARNED WALL of Mario Batali Risotto Finishing Spoons for just US$6 each! I bought two of them, one for the city, one for the beach. And I haven’t used them yet. But I looked them up on the internet, and found mixed reviews. I have to agree with reviews that the beech wood spoons are poorly finished, almost as though they forgot to sand them. Rough edges would presumably bruise my precious rice grains, carefully coaxed to creamy perfection. So we had to sand the spoons with fine sandpaper, not a great hassle, but not what I expected from the big man at all. It seems you can’t even buy these spoons in the U.S. anymore… they were apparently such a miserable failure that they took them off the market! But never mind, they look cool, very cool in fact. :) And if I don’t use them often enough for risotto, I will find some other use for them. Which reminds me, I have another set of bird’s eye maple wood single-use implements I haven’t written about either, up soon…



  1. sonia ner says:

    Is the Duty Free Shop in the Philippines a dumping ground for things that don’t sell well elsewhere?
    Who would be buying those spoons . . . apart from Market Manila readers who love
    to cook risotto.

    Aug 19, 2011 | 9:30 am


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  3. chrisb says:

    hmmm, I saw a video of mario batali from a few years back making risotto in the kitchen of babbo. He doesn’t even use a spoon to stir! he just shakes the pan once in a while. that was sufficient he said, no need to stir constantly. so this product must have been born in a marketing company’s office rather than the kitchen of mario batali ;)

    Aug 19, 2011 | 12:13 pm

  4. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Jaime Oliver has that shake thingy for crushing herbs…not a big seller.

    Aug 19, 2011 | 1:20 pm

  5. deirdregurl says:

    happy birthday, MM!!!

    Aug 19, 2011 | 1:41 pm

  6. titabuds says:

    A series on single-use kitchen doodads will be very interesting and probably hilarious, MM. Then maybe you can ask us for other uses we can think up. Ex: this risotto spoon? Bubble-blower. :)

    Aug 19, 2011 | 1:57 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    titabuds, I have LOTS of posts on single-use implements, particularly sterling silver ones, in the archives… deirdregurl, thanks, it’s tomorrow. :)

    Aug 19, 2011 | 2:05 pm

  8. titabuds says:

    Ah yes (*slaps forehead*), how could I have forgotten about the bone holder, haha.
    Happy birthday! May you continue to be blessed with good health despite all the lechon tasting. :)

    Aug 19, 2011 | 3:22 pm

  9. linda says:

    Happy Birthday,MM! What a special and successful year it has been for you!

    Keep up the good work and wishing you more success!

    Aug 19, 2011 | 3:26 pm

  10. Anne :-) says:

    Wow, is it really your bday? We’re both Leos!!

    Aug 19, 2011 | 4:49 pm

  11. Anne :-) says:

    Wishing you a blessed and eventful bday with your loved ones. :-)

    Aug 19, 2011 | 5:03 pm

  12. Clarissa says:

    I’m a fan of Alton Brown (chef cum crazy scientist) and he’s such a hater of single use implements, but sometimes, even I just have to have some crazy tools. But this one is too odd. I would love to have a drawn scientific support as to how the hole works the risotto better. I honestly think it’s not that helpful though :) But for other risotto lovers, a gift like this would be nicely received :D

    Aug 19, 2011 | 5:54 pm

  13. natie says:

    Happy Birthday, MM!!! interesting post. do you have a special cabinet for the single-use kitchen tools? I particularly love the grape scissors.

    Aug 19, 2011 | 7:33 pm

  14. Lei says:

    Happy Birthday to you MM! I will come back tomorrow to see what post you will put up on your birthday!!!

    Great health to our MM!

    Aug 19, 2011 | 7:53 pm

  15. roland says:

    Happy Birthday! baaaaa – i am sheep, did not really know it was your bday — just saw the comments – happy 21st you may drink legally now ;)

    Aug 19, 2011 | 11:07 pm

  16. eva says:

    Happy Birthday,MM !

    Aug 19, 2011 | 11:42 pm

  17. eva says:

    Happy Birthday,MM !

    Aug 19, 2011 | 11:42 pm

  18. erleen says:

    Happy Birthday MM!

    Aug 20, 2011 | 12:12 am

  19. Lex says:

    Gaita Fores uses them often for making other dishes other than risotto. She used them more making her mongo with ubad last Thursday. Anything you do using a wooden spoon can be stirred using this spoon. Not all the gadgets by Mario Batali are great. We just have to use our discretion in buying these gadgets and cooking equipment.

    Aug 20, 2011 | 9:26 am

  20. Westy says:

    Those look like ‘spurtles’. Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet of the 1970s fame, used them extensively when he cooked. They work great, actually! (Never used one for risotto, though.)

    Aug 21, 2011 | 10:12 am

  21. Mart says:

    When I first read “Single-use kitchen doodad.” I first thought, “Ano? Disposable? Ang sayang naman!”
    Then I clicked on the link and read the rest of the post. :-)

    Happy B-Day MM!

    Aug 21, 2011 | 10:13 am

  22. Footloose says:

    @Westy, Similar concept, that is, cashing in on cooking popularity on TV by peddling gadgets, if that’s what was meant. Probably did not catch on like spurtle because its use is quite narrow, finishing risotto and the market has completely changed. It is now the internet age where the user review of any new gadget can be brutal, particularly if is not even good at it. An ordinary heat resistant silicone spatula could have done the job more efficiently plus a lot of other similar chores too.

    Aug 21, 2011 | 4:20 pm

  23. sophie says:

    happy birthday MM! :), hope that (this time you to give a birthday present to all your readers…. pleading :) you’ll put up a Zubuchon outlet here in Manila even for the frozen goodies, chicharon, and other pasalubong (Zubuchon)….. praying praying….

    Aug 22, 2011 | 11:03 pm

  24. PITS, MANILA says:


    Aug 23, 2011 | 5:36 pm

  25. millet says:

    so that’s what those are! i have a couple of those and have never figured out what they are for, or even what they’re called. thanks for the info, MM! now i can say i have risotto spoons!

    Aug 23, 2011 | 6:25 pm

  26. millet says:

    but wait, mine are not batali’s…mine came along with a set of brand-new elegant cutlery service for eight, in a fancy cutlery tray, all for $10 from a canadian flea market. the guy threw in a full set of knives, (bread, butter, oyster, fruit, cheese, steak, etc.), picks, fancy forks, salad servers, etc., etc. guy said his wife left him, so he wanted to unload everything that weekend (naka-chismis pa!). he wanted to throw in a 7-piece set of vision cookware but there was no way i could bring those back home!

    Aug 23, 2011 | 6:38 pm

  27. millet says:

    belated happy birthday, MM! here’s wishing you more adventures, more posts, and more zubuchon!

    my hubby and our barkada and i (12 of us) had the most wonderful lunch at Zubuchon (Mango) last week, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. it was everyone’s second time to have the zubuchon, but the two stars of that lunch were the crispy pata and the iba shake. everything was wiped out! we wanted to go back for lunch on our way back from hk but the schedule was too tight, so now it’s the first in our list of reasons for going back to cebu.

    Aug 23, 2011 | 6:47 pm


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