This is one of the most curious gadgets we've ever come across, and we've been at a loss as how to post about it. This is an "automatic stirrer" from British design group üutensil, a company that has designed some fun products. So we were fascinated by this stirrer and yet completely baffled as to why anyone would need it. Read on for our impressions and a quick video of this gadget in action.
On the one hand, this product seems preposterous. Who needs an automatic stirrer when you have your arm and a spoon? Was this the ultimate in uni-taskers, we wondered? And yet we were so curious about the engineering of the thing that we decided to give it a try. We also wondered if it had potential as a really useful product to people who have a disability and are unable to stand and stir for long periods of time.
This stirrer has little feet has you can see above, and when you put batteries into the gadget and turn it on, the feet vibrate. They do this in just the right rhythm so that the stirrer rotates, slowly. You can change speeds, too, from slow to faster to pretty brisk. Fascinating, right?
As we played around with it we started thinking of some things that would benefit, after all, from an automatic stirrer. Things like polenta, risotto, scrambled eggs, and any milk-based sauce that has a tendency to scorch. No, we probably still wouldn't buy a stirrer for any of those things, but hey, it might come in handy from time to time, right? Especially when multi-tasking?
Well, in the end, after we got the Stirr into a pot or two of sauces, our final verdict was sadly not a good one. The idea, as we admitted above, has some potential, but the execution is lacking. The Stirr, it turned out, won't actually stir anything thicker than a thin liquid. We tried dish after dish with the Stirr to see if it would help out, but it proved far too weak for polenta, oatmeal, and even milky sauces. As the sauce firmed up or started coating the bottom of the pan, the Stirr would get stuck and stop. And this when you really need the pan to be stirred, right?
Our final attempt is documented below: a pan of scrambled eggs. Surely it could handle this, we thought. And scrambled eggs are one of the dishes that would actually benefit from an automatic stirrer; we had visions of scrambled eggs cooked for an hour over ultra-low heat, stirred constantly by our mechanical arm. The ultimate in luxury!
But again, the poor little Stirr just wasn't up to it. As soon as the eggs thickened and coated the bottom of the pan, the Stirr was stuck.
So, final verdict: Very interesting idea and fascinating execution: but still needs some work.
• More about the Stirr: Stirr at üutensil
Related: Odd Gadget: Al Dente Operatic Pasta Timer
(Images: Faith Durand)