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I had no idea immersion blenders were so dangerous!

DGresh Jan 16, 2013 05:30 AM


Seems that no small amount of stupidity is going around

  1. drongo Jan 18, 2013 03:31 PM

    Can you imagine if kitchen equipment had to pass modern concepts of safety? We'd be allowed nothing sharp and nothing hot in our kitchens. No knives, mandolines, graters. stovetops, ovens, etc. We'd be microwaving prepackaged bags of food prepared in factories where engineering controls (robots, safety guards, etc) protected the workers.

    Personally, I think a mandoline is more risky than a stick blender... but lets not tell the NY Times!

    3 Replies
    1. re: drongo
      Sal Vanilla Jan 18, 2013 05:11 PM

      More than a couple folks have made like cannibals at Casa Vanilla after a mandolin and I cross paths. Keep calm and shred on.

      1. re: drongo
        splatgirl Jan 18, 2013 11:57 PM

        plus, one could argue that a mandoline would have been better suited to the whole "chunks of butter" situation than an IB.

        1. re: drongo
          piccola Jan 19, 2013 03:47 AM

          I think the difference is that mandolines are considered somewhat advanced cooking equipment, so people who buy and use them are aware of the dangers. Whereas a stick blender is pretty basic and even people who don't do much cooking might own and use one.

        2. s
          Sal Vanilla Jan 18, 2013 03:29 PM

          I like that one of the amputees works as a digital consultant.

          1. pdxgastro Jan 17, 2013 10:58 PM

            I had a plastic IB break apart on me, but luckily nobody was hurt. I did have to throw out the batch of whatever-it-was I was making. Since then I've only had models that are all metal south of the handle.

            1. r
              rccola Jan 17, 2013 10:48 AM

              Not the tool for those stupid enough to put a hand in the garbage disposal--before it stopped running.

              It's basically the same mechanism as a disposal, just not in the bottom of the sink.

              1. splatgirl Jan 17, 2013 09:15 AM

                Sort of beside the point, but who uses an immersion blender on "stiff clumps of butter intended for chocolate-chip cookies"?
                Maybe the mixer was already in use for washing clothes, and the knives for chopping firewood.

                This article just reduced my respect for the NYT by 50%.

                6 Replies
                1. re: splatgirl
                  sunshine842 Jan 17, 2013 09:24 AM

                  I lol'd. Really. Because I couldn't figure out why you'd use an IB for cookie dough, either -- much as I love my IB and as many things as I use it for...cookie dough ain't one of them.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    ttoommyy Jan 17, 2013 09:56 AM

                    Absolutely agree. I don't think any type of blender is intended for mixing cookie dough. That's what hand mixers and stand mixers are for.

                    1. re: ttoommyy
                      sunshine842 Jan 17, 2013 10:33 AM

                      of course, this sort of "journalism" will soon produce an article by someone who thought cleaning the paddle attachment off with their bare hands while it's running is a good idea, too. *headdesk*

                      1. re: ttoommyy
                        cheesemaestro Jan 17, 2013 10:54 AM

                        And yet it's amazing what some people try to do. That's why appliance manufacturers deem it prudent to cover themselves by putting ridiculous statements in their instruction booklets: "WARNING! DO NOT USE THIS BLENDER IN THE BATHTUB!"

                        1. re: cheesemaestro
                          sunshine842 Jan 17, 2013 12:30 PM

                          I used to work for a major electric tool manufacturer. The stories from Legal were sometimes amusing, sometimes horrifying...but pretty much always a source of one more ridiculous label.

                          Every time you see a warning that makes you scratch your head....remember that this has been enough of a problem that they have to actually warn people not to do it.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            Sal Vanilla Jan 18, 2013 03:31 PM

                            My friend works as an ER nurse. She always wins "Betcha can't top this".

                  2. m
                    masha Jan 17, 2013 09:09 AM

                    Several years ago I sliced up my fingers pretty badly using a regular FP. I was grating cabbage for slaw and forgot to use the "pusher," instead using my hand. Once most of the cabbage had pushed through the feeding tube, my finger came in contact with the blade, and the rest is history. I ended up needing a few stitches.

                    It was incredibly stupid and I am not generally a careless person. I was in a hurry and just not thinking. I presume that's what happens to the various people who have sliced up their fingers on the blades of an immersion blender.

                    1. g
                      GH1618 Jan 17, 2013 08:56 AM

                      I can't find any fault with the NYT editors for publishing a story about the dangers of an appliance which is increasing in use in the home. This is a story of obvious public interest, despite the sneers from those who think that only a stupid person (which excludes themselves, of course) would be injured by one.

                      I do, however, wonder why so many people want one. I can see the value in a commercial kitchen which prepares sauces in large batches, but I wouldn't have any use for such a tool in my small home kitchen. My small Sunbeam Oskar suffices and is far safer, if a little less convenient.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: GH1618
                        ttoommyy Jan 17, 2013 09:09 AM

                        "...despite the sneers from those who think that only a stupid person (which excludes themselves, of course) would be injured by one."

                        If this is directed at my comment, I said the action of doing such a thing was stupid; I never used the word "stupid" to describe anyone. Also, if I did have a mishap with an immersion blender and wound up injuring myself, I would most certainly think it was a stupid move on my part.

                        If this story is so relevant, then why not one about blenders? Or toasters? Or electric can openers? People have mishaps with these appliances too.

                        As far as using one at home, I find it a very useful tool, especially during the winter months when making creamed soups. Pouring hot soup into a blender to puree it is a nuisance (and can be dangerous! lol), plus it dirties the blender. And immersion blender does the job right in the soup pot and is simple to clean.

                        1. re: GH1618
                          sunshine842 Jan 17, 2013 09:12 AM

                          don't knock it til you try it -- I found one on a huge clearance, thinking that if I didn't like it I wasn't out much -- and it sat on my shelf for a long time....but once I tried it? I was hooked.

                          Does so many putzy little jobs that just aren't worth hauling out the big machinery for -- fast and with easy clean-up.

                          Loved it so much I went out and bought a new and improved model.

                          Soups, mayonnaise, meringue, chopped nuts, breadcrumbs, puree, whipped cream, pumpkin for pies....the list goes on and on.

                          1. re: GH1618
                            tcamp Jan 17, 2013 10:46 AM

                            I guess there was a wee bit of a sneer implied in my post but honestly, I am capable of great heights of stupidity in the kitchen. In fact, I *have* cleaned fiberous junk off the blade of my IB. Either I unplug it or I somehow manage not to turn it on while fingers are touching blade. Sure, if misused, an IB can hurt you...I just don't see how there is enough content there to write a feature story.

                            I love both my IB and my practically-antique Sunbeam Oskar.

                          2. ttoommyy Jan 17, 2013 08:41 AM

                            I really cannot believe the NYT thought this was an important enough story to make it the lead in their "Dining In" section of the print version of the paper. I saw this before leaving for work yesterday and thought it was going to be a tongue-in-cheek story. I finally got around to reading it online just now and I am astounded. What kind of person sticks their fingers into ANY electrical appliance without first unplugging it? I have no sympathy for anyone who is hurt while doing such a stupid thing.

                            1. Caroline1 Jan 17, 2013 12:09 AM

                              I have the greatest respect for my immersion blender, and plan to keep it that way. But I do find it somewhat amusing (and discouraging at the same time) that human stupidity is still newsworthy. I suspect our species isn't going to change anytime soon.

                              1. f
                                foodieX2 Jan 16, 2013 11:55 AM

                                a pillow would be dangerous in some peoples hands…

                                1. dave_c Jan 16, 2013 10:15 AM

                                  I don't even need to read the article to bet that people did not unplug their immersion blender.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: dave_c
                                    DGresh Jan 16, 2013 10:52 AM

                                    I agree. I can't imagine dealing with blades of any sort while the thing is plugged in. Same with hand mixers

                                    1. re: DGresh
                                      sunshine842 Jan 16, 2013 11:53 AM

                                      (or if you can't unplug it, at least don't stick something that bleeds in front of the blades...)

                                      Mine's kinda nice that way -- the motor attaches to several different implements -- if something jams, I just disconnect it from the motor.

                                  2. tcamp Jan 16, 2013 10:01 AM

                                    That was a wierd article. I've used my IB for many years without managing to injure myself. I found myself wondering, while reading, what exactly this folks did to incur wounds? Push the ON button while cleaning blade? Moving their fingers into the path of the blade? What about battery operated IBs? Are people also managing to self inflict wounds with those?

                                    Stay tuned for the dire emergencies caused by cheese graters.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: tcamp
                                      donovt Jan 16, 2013 10:53 AM

                                      When I did it, I was cleaning a big hunk of pear out of the blades. I hadn't unplugged it and accidentally hit the ON button. Clearly not the smartest move in the world.

                                      1. re: tcamp
                                        knucklesandwich Jan 16, 2013 03:42 PM

                                        Thanks for speaking up, t. That article definitely flunks the smell test.

                                      2. m
                                        mpjmph Jan 16, 2013 08:45 AM

                                        I generally don't use my immersion blender for anything thick/sticky/doughy for that very reason. If I do find that I need to scrape food off the blades, I unplug, disassemble, then use a chop stick or plastic knife to scrape.

                                        1. RC51Mike Jan 16, 2013 06:55 AM

                                          I was wondering how far along it woud take before the article got to the lawyers. It is a sharp spinning blade. How can you not know it can hurt you? If you know it has a sensitive switch, why would you not unplug it? I swear humans are out on the edge of a dead end limb of the evolutionary tree.

                                          Odd, I cut my index finger to the bone and it did not occur to me to sue Henkels.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: RC51Mike
                                            scubadoo97 Jan 17, 2013 09:27 AM

                                            Sad isn't it. Don't climb a ladder, you could fall off....where does it end

                                            1. re: scubadoo97
                                              4X4 Jan 18, 2013 10:57 AM


                                              1. re: 4X4
                                                tcamp Jan 18, 2013 12:46 PM

                                                When I was a lazy teen, I did periodically iron clothing while I was wearing them. Peasant type skirts were in style. Never got burned, however, though I realized at the time it was a possiblity.

                                                1. re: tcamp
                                                  piccola Jan 19, 2013 03:45 AM

                                                  Just make sure not to use the steam option.

                                          2. d
                                            donovt Jan 16, 2013 06:28 AM

                                            I did the same thing. Luckily I only needed a few stitches though.

                                            1. sunshine842 Jan 16, 2013 05:34 AM

                                              Look for the kitchen war injuries thread -- loads of discussion about this very article.

                                              And a reminder that tools cut whatever is presented to them -- be that nuts or cheese or fingers.

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