I love the idea of cream soups. They look pretty, taste delicious and are a super easy way to sneak random vegetables into kids. But that whole "purée in batches in your blender" thing stopped me. You see, I hate it when hot soup explodes in my face or anywhere in my kitchen. But when my husband and I got married, he brought something to our shared home: Betty Crocker the Pbrrt.
My husband's cheap stick blender, dubbed a "pbrrt" by his French speaking mother, was made by Betty Crocker. He didn't know how it came into his possession. It must have been free with box tops, but I can't imagine him saving them, nor would his mother ever use a cake mix, since she can do anything from scratch, so who knows? Anyhow, Betty the Pbrrt and I got to be great friends. I wasn't sure if I should put her into hot soup, but I was willing to take the risk. How great would it be to purée my soup right in the pot? A one dish wonder!
Over the years, Betty the Pbrrt served me well. I was always a little worried, because the part that went into the hot soup was plastic, except the tiny, miraculous blade. I knew one day Betty would leave me and, it happened. She finally cracked. I bought a fancy new version, with a metal stick, named after a certain seafaring Germanic people. It was fancy enough that I started calling it an "immersion blender," lest it get offended. I'm not calling it out by its name, because that noble adventurer let me down, running up on dry land within a month. (Has this metaphor gone far enough? Probably.)
I replaced it with a humble, $20 Oster, which has been going strong ever since. Oster the Pbrrt purées an entire pot of soup in a couple of minutes. Even a 12-year-old can do it, as evidenced by my 12-year-old's hand in the photo above. With a tall enough pot, there is no risk of spatter or hot soup exploding in my face. Hooray!
Since embracing the stick blender, puréed soups are one of my favorite easy meals. The split pea soup you see? All I did was toss a bunch of stuff in a pot and let it simmer until the ingredients were soft enough for Oster to do his job. Prep, including chopping of vegetables, took about ten minutes. Heaven!
What cheap appliances do you love? What appliances have changed your life in the kitchen?
(Images: Anne Postic)