Thursday, November 17, 2005

Much Ado About Blending

It's always a good idea to pay attention to what you're doing, especially when you don't really know what you're doing. Here's a good example. My wife and I were trying a recipe tonight. It was some sort of pumpkin spiced tofu mousse sort of thing. We figured it was worth a shot. You'll never experience new and exciting things unless you.. uh.. try new things. Anyway, the idea was to place the ingredients into a blender and blend until velvety smooth. Well, it became clear immediately that the blender wasn't going to handle the whole batch in one go, so we poured it into a bowl and put a little into the blender at a time. It was a pretty tedious process, as we weren't able to put more than a cup or two in at a time and get any sort of mixing action.

Then as I poured a small portion into the "blended" bowl, I saw something that caught my attention, When the thicker part of the mixture poured off the top there appeared to be a void below it where the blades were. The blades were spinning around in a little frothy air bubble at the bottom of the container, leaving the top almost untouched. We put the next little bit into the blender and cleared the front of the container so that we could see what was going on. The moment we hit the power, the thick mixture opened up in the center, swallowed up a gulp of air, closed up and then sat there. Then I had a "eureka" moment. By starting the blender on low speed and gradually adding speed, the thick mixture started turning little by little and quickly settled inta a neat little swirling funnel where all of the contents were well mixed. Increase too quickly and you end up with a bubble. We were able to get nearly all of the batch swirling in the blender at once. Neat. Incidentally, this only applies to thick stuff. Put thin liquid in it and you can just crank it.


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