Find an Egg Beater


You could call me a Luddite for preferring my old-fashioned egg beater at home to high-tech electric versions, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I’m talking about the handheld, hand-cranked version with two beaters, blades akimbo, that miraculously spin without getting in each other’s way. I rescued mine from the junk drawer in the kitchen of my childhood home—it was destined for the Salvation Army—but I see the beaters often at yard sales. Nostalgic memories of my childhood were behind my initial grab for it, and I planned to use it as a decorative prop in my old-timey kitchen, but it’s actually become an indispensable, time-saving tool in my batterie de cuisine. It whips up the two egg whites I fold into my pancake batter every Sunday morning in, no joke, less than 15 seconds. Try to beat that with an electric mixer! It would take me five minutes alone just to extricate my big KitchenAid or even my handheld electric mixer from the cupboard and plug it in. And the egg beater makes beautiful whipped cream, giving me the control I want to get it to that perfect point where it has just enough body to ease (not plop) from a spoon onto strawberry shortcake or a sliver of dense chocolate cake. Cleaning it is three-fourths of the fun, and you can’t say that about a hulking stand mixer. I put a dash of detergent in the bowl I just used to beat whatever in (thereby washing two things at once), then give the beater a few cranks and watch a cloud of soap foam rise—it held my kids’ attention for a good hour at a time when they were young.

old-fashioned egg beater

Like every appliance, there are well-made and poorly made versions. Be sure you give it a good spin before buying. Mine has precision gears that work so smoothly I think it was made by BMW, but others are so stiff and cranky that you want to throw them out the window. Be careful about the antique ones on eBay. They really should be reserved for decoration, not for everyday use. I should know—my husband bought one at a flea market (it was old and cute but didn’t work well) and then posted it on eBay; he had a dickens of a time trying to sell it. And in the future, don’t be so quick to toss out those old handheld appliances—you might be surprised at how handy they could prove to be!

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