Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Mixing Fork

My maternal grandmother was a home economist. She had graduated in 1920 and worked with her agricultural rep husband to teach farm couples better ways of growing and preparing foods. My grandmother taught all four of her kids to cook and they all taught their children.

One of the essentials of my grandmother's kitchen was an oversized fork with tines that were slightly angled. It was a cross between a fork and a pastry cutter. It was the perfect tool for a wide variety of jobs in the kitchen.
It was ideal for blending dry ingredients or wet ingredients. It was perfect for mixing any batters, biscuits, breads, muffins, cakes, puddings, sauces, gravies - almost anything! You could also use it to mash potatoes or fresh fruit and also use it in place of a slotted spoon. It could take the lumps out of any dry mixtures and volumize any mixture with eggs or cream. It beat a wooden spoon or a pastry cutter by a country mile and then some!

When both my mom and my aunt were married, my grandfather bought them each one of these tools.

As far back as I can remember, there was always a mixing fork in our home. We never really knew what the real name of this handy tool was, but it was indispensable.

The fork itself was about 10" long and about 2" wide. The tines were about 1/8" wide, slightly curved and close to 2 1/2" long. The angle of the tines allowed for efficient blending by hand with minimal effort. Sure we also had electric mixers and even the old crank style hand mixer, but this was just a better fit for the hand and a lot easier to clean.

The first few years that I was living out on my own, I had to go without one of these mixing forks. Mom and I had looked for them and couldn't find them anywhere. We finally found them in an old style variety store and bought several for gifts. That was around 1980 or so. My sister eventually inherited my grandmother's mixing fork.
I never really looked for them again until around 1990. Several friends had coveted my "unique" tool and had even threatened to steal it! I searched high and low, but was unable to find anything even remotely similar. I took the fork with me to several stores that carried substantial kitchenware but no one had it. Pretty much all of them said if we ever find it - let them know as they thought it was a great idea! My sister and I even looked while on one of my medical trips to Toronto but no luck. She and my mom looked whenever they traveled.

I recently decided to see if I could find out anything on line, but trying to find something when you don't know what it is called isn't easy. After trying several names such as mixing fork and kitchen fork, I checked my fork more carefully and found the name "Foley" engraved on the back. I typed "Foley Fork" into a search engine and hit the jackpot!

Over the years, the Original Foley Fork has been known by several names including blender fork and granny fork. I wasn't able to find the history of the fork, but since my grandmother had one before her kids were married, I know it goes back at least 65 -70 years. The Original Foley Fork is no longer manufactured, but here are a couple of products that caught my attention.

The first one is a wanna be called "Norpro Grip-Ez Granny Fork". It looks somewhat similar but the tines are varied in length. This may be a good tool for some things but I doubt that it would be as versatile as the original design.

The second is called "RSVP Fantastic Food Fork" or "The Endurance Fantastic Food Fork by RSVP" and is manufactured by RSVP International which is a wholesale manufacturer.

I examined the product detail and description and this is the closest to what I have been using for over 40 years.

The fork is carried on several sites such as Creative Kitchen, Chef Tools or Amazon. You can also check with your local kitchenware store to see if they carry the RSVP line. Prices vary greatly so shop around. I found prices from $6-10US/fork on line plus shipping, handling and taxes. I contacted a local store to see if they could get it. They could only order it in lots of 6, but I was quoted $11.99 plus taxes for one. If I bought all 6 I could get 10% off ($10.79/fork X 6 = $64.74 plus taxes). That may be a lot more expensive, but by the time I add in exchange on the dollar, international shipping fees and any duty/border taxes there might not be a lot of difference in price.

Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, an experienced cook and baker or somewhere in the middle, the Foley Fork is a MUST for every kitchen.

If you don't cook but want to learn or just say thank you to your favourite cook - this would make a perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas or any other gift giving occasion!

This is one tool that is really worth the investment. I can't imagine how I would manage in the kitchen without it!



never 2 old said...

I have been using my Foley fork for 40 years now and would be lost without it. I even have an earlier version with a wooden handle. I think I got them as a wedding present. Now I am looking to purchase a couple for Christmas presents and didn't know where to look. Thank you for your advice and I will look on the web sites recommended. I don't know why they would stop making something so useful.

dnsyl57 said...

Great to hear from another fan of the mixing fork! I've never understood why such a great tool is so hard to find either. Word of mouth among anyone who cooks should be more than enough to have this in every kitchenware department and send sales through the roof!

Good luck and thanks for reading and posting! -dn

cindy61048 said...

I am obsessed with the Foley fork! Years ago, my fork broke. My dad repaired it for me. Then I learned that Foley no longer made them. That started me on a quest to get more in case another one broke. I have collected them over the years, and currently have over 60 of them, with all the varieties of handles. No cheap imitations for me...if it doesn't say Foley MPLS, I don't buy it!

Rachel said...

I got an Ekco 'mixing fork' at a yard sale. It has a wooden handle. I had no idea what it was - but have been searching on the internet to find out what it was. So glad to find what it is and how it is/was used. Thanks for the info!

FoleyFan said...

Thanks for the tip. I got a Foley food fork about 25 years ago and haven't seen them since. On an antiquing trip with my sister in law, she said, "If you see a Foley food fork, let me know." We didn't, but now that I know I can find the next best thing, I'll grab one for her.

FoleyFan said...

I've had a Foley for for about 25 years. On an antiquing trip with my sister in law, she said, "If you see a Foley food fork, let me know." We didn't find one, but now I know I can get a close substitute. She'll be thrilled

Hollygal said...

Thank you so much for the post. I had a "green fork" my mom gave me when I got married. It was a very strong plastic material. When we moved, the items in the dishwasher (my most used items) were left. My green mixing fork was in there. I've searched high and low and have not found an adequate mixing utensil since. I just searched Foley fork on Ebay and found something very similar to my beloved "green fork" - I've ordered your recommended metal one as well. I am over the moon and of course nobody understands my joy over something so simple. I can't thank you enough :)