Q.

What is a spider?

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A.

Spiders are a chef’s tool used to fish items out of liquids (often water or oil in the fryer, they’re a great tool when cooking delicate artisanal pasta).  They look like a shallow sided, wide cup made out of mesh or wire attached to a stick.  Home chefs are more likely to find them with finer wire or mesh cups and wooden sticks.  In the professional kitchen spiders tend to be larger, made of thicker wire, and attached to metal sticks. 

Chefs like them because they can be used to gently scoop food out of liquids without the pressure exerted by a pair of tongs or the force of dumping the contents into a colander.  The metal baskets you see in commercial deep fat fryers do much the same job, but require you to remove everything from the oil at the same time. 

Though home cooks aren’t used to using spiders at home, consider picking one up if you do a lot of frying or boiling, you’ll be surprised by how useful they can be!




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