I Rediscovered My Grandma’s Rotary Beater and Now I Use It All the Time

updated Jan 16, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Until very recently, my grandma’s hand-me-down rotary egg beater was part of a decorative installation (along with a copper salmon mousse mold and a giant bread peel from the 1800’s). I’m happy to report, however, that I now actually use it — and I can’t believe it took me so long to get on board.

What changed? I went to my brother’s house for a party. I brought dessert, per usual, and when I got there, I asked my sister-in-law for her electric mixer so that I could whip up some cream to serve alongside. She handed me her rotary beater.

Credit: Janet Taylor McCracken

I prepared myself for what I imagined would be the biggest workout my arms had seen in years. But, much to my surprise, the thing worked incredibly efficiently: This hand-cranked gadget got the job done in just a few minutes — basically the same amount of time it would have taken with an electric mixer. Sure, maybe my arms burned a little more with the rotary beater, but I didn’t have to deal with digging out the mixer, plugging it in, running the cord, etc.

Credit: Janet Taylor McCracken

Back home, a few days after the party, I couldn’t stop thinking about my sister-in-law’s rotary beater. Or my grandma’s. So I moved Grandma’s rotary beater from the wall to my utensil drawer and I now reach for it every time I’m making whipped cream, batter, or eggs (it makes the fluffiest eggs).

It clearly takes a little more manpower than my electric mixer, but it doesn’t take any extra time. And there’s really something to be said for the physicality of it. Using it makes me feel closer to my food and closer to my late grandma (and I’m sure she’d be happy to know it’s being put to good use). It makes me think back to the simpler times when she grew up, and the soft churning of the gears makes it incredibly easy to have some minutes of mindfulness. That’s something that not even the quietest electric mixer can accomplish.

If you didn’t get a rotary beater passed down to you, you can, of course, buy one. You can get a new one on Amazon, or if you like the idea of a tool with history, look for a vintage one on Etsy.

Have you gotten any great kitchen tools from a grandparent? Tell us about them in the comments below!