Kitchen Intermediates: Blender

We covered the basics of what you need in your kitchen to make good food. Now, we’re talking about what items you might need at the next level. Today’s intermediate level of kitchen equipment is the perennial wedding gift — the blender.

This common kitchen appliance is a descendant of the drink mixer, most commonly found in restaurants and drug store lunch counters. The first such device was created by Polish-American inventor Stephan Poplawski, owner of the Stevens Electric Company. Three entrepreneurs, L. Hamilton, Chester Beach and Fred Osius began producing Poplawski’s drink mixer under the name Hamilton Beach. Osius then began modifying and improving the mixer and got financing from popular musician Fred Waring, inventor of the Smoothie in the 1940’s. His Waring Blendor (spelled with an “o”) was the forerunner of what we know today.

Other mixers were created in other countries. A Swiss inventor used the Waring Blendor as a model for the Turmix Juicer, the first appliance of its kind. In Brazil, a former General Electric employee created the first liquefaction blender in the 1940’s. John Oster bought Poplawski’s company and released the Osterizer in 1946. Sunbeam bought Oster’s company and still makes the Osterizer today.

There are two basic kinds of blenders: the traditional standing model and the immersion blender. This newer kind, also called a stick blender, is useful for pureéing soups and other dishes while still in the pot. All blenders have the same components: a base with a motor, a sealable container (the immersion blender has a long housing between the motor and the final component) and rotating blades.

Blender applications include: crushing ice, emulsifying, pureéing, grinding, blending and mixing. The food processor has taken over many of these jobs. My advise is if you drink a lot of smoothies or similar drinks, you might find the investment worthwhile. But don’t buy this device on the idea that you might use it. It’ll become a dust collector.

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