Gifts From The Kitchen Gods: Immersion Blender ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gifts From The Kitchen Gods: Immersion Blender

This is the first installment of "Gifts from the Kitchen Gods" - a series of homages to the kitchen gadgets, appliances, and ingredients that have won our hearts by improving our lives, the food we cook, and the time we spend in the kitchen. Send in your own nominations via comments.

I know it looks like some sort of sex toy but it's really an Immersion Blender - one of the best kitchen gadgets aroundEarly September 1998. My three best friends and I were moving into a run-down rental near campus at the start of our senior year of college. The house was a mess, but there was one small gem amidst the dirt, dust, and broken down furniture the previous tenants had left for us. A strange, white, plastic object with an electric cord had been left sitting on an empty bookcase in the kitchen.

My two friends and I stared at it with dubious distaste - it looked like some sort of odd sex toy (after all, who knew what the previous occupants were into?!) What was it? Should we throw it out? Yes, but then we'd have to touch it... Luckily, our third friend, Alison, whose mom ran a successful restaurant and catering business, swooped down on it with a beaming face. "Don't be stupid, guys, it's an immersion blender," she chided. "These things rock."

Alison was right. I adore my Braun immersion blender - an older model that my husband, Rahm (who I will refer to as "the sous-chef" moving forward because of his superior slicing and dicing skills) and I found at a yard sale about five years ago. It was definitely the best $5 I ever spent!

The immersion blender makes it easy and mess-free to blend soups and sauces right in the pot - no need to haul a hot, heavy pot over to a cuisinart or blender to blend its contents. And no need to pour the blended contents back into the pot to continue cooking, nor to wash the frikkin' cuisinart's many hard to clean pieces.

It gives you much more control over how much to blend things, too - it's very easy to partially blend a soup or sauce.

It is easy to handle, easy to clean, and relatively small. Counter space is in high demand in my tiny kitchen so anything that can be stored in a drawer is a plus for me.

Immersion blenders are pretty cheap, too. Even if you don't find one for $5 at a yardsale you can get a new one for between $30-$60 at a store near you. Or you can buy one online at Amazon - they carry a bunch of different models by Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid.

Check out more Gifts From The Kitchen Gods:


BenBoothby said...

ah yes, the "immersion blender"...
i always thought it was called "my happy magic wand tool"
I purchased my first do-dad of this ilk earlier this year in Iceland, and went to town with it. The wonderful thing about kitchen gadgets like this in iceland/europe is that the current in the sockets is much stronger. Motors are therefore much more powerful, and blending wands get much more magical. The bad thing about that, is that you can't bring them to the states and plug them into our wimpy walls. SO, i had to leave it behind...
Imagine my surprise and joy to find one left behind by the previous tenants of my new apartment!! What is it about these things that makes hasty-packers leave them behind? Perhaps they are so wonderful and magical that we can never truely own them - we are just the corperal vehical for their karmic journey from household to household, as they seek to serve those in need of silky smooth sauces and soups.

DSF said...

Kitchen jewel for me is the mighty ramekin. The ramekin is an unsung hero, a work horse (next metaphor, please). I use it to hold ingredients (sort of mise en place) while I am cooking, to hold garnishes for folks to put on their own dishes, to hold just the perfect amount of crema catalana, creme brulee or individual chocolate cake. It can be frozen or used in the oven (maybe even a microwave but, alas, we have never had one so I can't vouch from personal experience). It can also be used to hold butter in a make-shift bain marie (or honey - nothing like high quality honey warmed and drizzled over frozen yogurt or ice cream). Muliple sizes are another plus. I can never have enough.

Here's to the ramekin!

Chloe said...

I second this nomination to the Kitchen tool hall of fame. Immersion blenders seem to be more popular outside of the US, I'm glad they are catching on stateside. For the second Gift From the Kitchen Gods, consider the microplane grater, they are incredible and a great value (Whole Foods has them for $9). It's wonderful to be able to zest a lemon without zesting your fingers!

Eve Fox said...

Chloe, you must be a mindreader - I actually have a draft of my second posting saved and it IS about the microplane grater!