This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.
There are hundreds of specialized cooking gadgets you can buy, from strawberry hullers to olive pitters. Even if you have a big kitchen, we believe less is more: you really only need 3 knives and a streamlined set of tools. But the one tool we can't live without (besides the knives) is the Ateco Small Offset Spatula. It’s an inexpensive multitasker that takes up barely any space in your kitchen drawer.
Technically a baking tool, the offset spatula has a long narrow flexible blade with a rounded end. You’ll see the Ateco spatula comes in a variety of sizes. Bakers will appreciate the largest (9.75-inch) offset, fantastic for frosting a cake in a smooth, even layer. But the tool that every home cook should own is the mini, measuring in at just 4.25-inch offset.
We like to think of it as an extension of your hand, like a regular spatula, only more precise. Because of its flexibility and angled end, it can easily slip under delicate foods without breaking them (unlike a regular table knife). You’re frying eggs, for example, and the whites look like they’re about to start cooking into one big mass. Use an offset to gently push them apart. You’re searing homemade veggie burgers and want to move one to the hottest part of the pan. Give the burger in question a lift and a scoot with your offset. You forget to put parchment paper down when you’re making brownies: slip down and underneath to neatly loosen them from the pan.
The Ateco offset is also better at spreading condiments than any butter knife you’ve met. Because it sits flush against bread, you spread with much more surface area than a knife, which forces you to pull spreads along on its edge. Whether you’re buttering, mayo-ing, or peanut butter and jelly-ing, the offset will become your new best friend. Check out your sandwich maker next time you're at the deli. Chances are they're using one of these babies.
In case you’re still on the fence, it’s dishwasher safe. And did we mention it only costs $6?