Why You Shouldn't Use Pasta Tongs To Flip Grilled Food

Tongs are an essential kitchen tool. They act as an extension of the arm, moving hot food across various surfaces, and keeping our appendages away from spitting oil or jumping flames. They are great for tossing salads, stuffing sausages into hoagies filled with peppers and onions, and are indispensable when it comes to grilling.

Grilling tongs are a special breed of cookware. Designed to be tough and heavy-duty, they come with longer handles, thick, heat-resistant handles, and strong pincers that can move food around with ease. The purpose of the design is to make grilling as enjoyable as possible. The long handles keep your hands away from the heat of the grill, and the pincers have a great grip that keeps your food from falling apart and falling through the grates onto the coals below. They are also flexible so that they don't ruin the meat you're grilling. As seemingly simple and blunt a tool as grilling tongs are, they are nevertheless incredibly nuanced and can be used to handle anything from meat and fish to vegetables and bread.

As grilling tongs have their purpose, so too do others. Despite their near-universal versatility, there are certain types of tongs that should not be used to handle multiple types of food. These are single-use tongs, specifically designed for the purpose of handling the food in their title. Pasta tongs, for example, have one purpose, and it's not to flip or handle grilled food.

Designed only to handle pasta

Anyone who owns or has seen pasta tongs for sale know that they are odd-looking things. Basically a single, bent piece of metal, pasta tongs are notable for the large, forked comb pincers. These pincers are designed to grab and hold onto slippery pasta. The forked pincers allow for maxim grip when moving large quantities of pasta noodles from cooking water to sauce to the plate. They are also helpful in maintaining pasta's shape.

As the name indicates, pasta tongs are for handling pasta. This alone makes them insufficient for grilling. Where grilling tongs keep your hands far away from the flames, pasta tongs, with their shorter handles, will get you far too close to them. Also, if you were to go flip a burger with a pair of pasta tongs, not only would the forks dig into the delicate meat, thereby destroying the burger, but the shorter handles mean your hands are, again, closer to the grill which, in the event of a flare-up, could cause severe burns.

It is best, therefore, to use tongs for their specified purpose. Salad tongs for salad. Grilling tongs for grilling. Pasta tongs for pasta. Ice tongs for ice. When a tool is marked as such, the type of food you use it for directly influenced its design. So, to handle food the way it's supposed to be handled, use the right equipment for the job.