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I had no idea immersion blenders were so dangerous!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/din...

Seems that no small amount of stupidity is going around

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  1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

        6 Replies
        1. re: RC51Mike

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

          1. re: scubadoo97

            http://www.families.com/blog/warning

            1. re: 4X4

              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

                Just make sure not to use the steam option.

                1. re: tcamp

                  I love this story.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I'm late on this one, but I worked in a fashionable clothes shop in the UK back in the mid-90s. The young woman who did the window staging for the shop came into the break room one day wearing a deep cut blouse, she was sporting a bright red triangular burn visible in the deep v-cut of said blouse. When asked by a colleague what had happened she said she was ironing her blouse, while wearing it, and burned herself. The part that made it so memorable was, she admitted, it wasn't the first time she'd done it to herself.

          2. 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. 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

                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

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

                2. 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

                    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

                      (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. a pillow would be dangerous in some peoples hands…

                    1. 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. 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. 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

                            "...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

                              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

                                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. 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. 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%.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: splatgirl

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

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

                                      2. re: splatgirl

                                        I use an immersion blender because I'm lazy.

                                        I realized my very aged regular blender was getting on in decades and that the plastic has (at best) a limited lifespan. Further, I got tired of washing six parts disassembled, for small jobs that were too minor for my Cuisinart.

                                        I looked at replacement blenders that all looked like illegitimate offspring of R2D2.

                                        I read about immersion blenders here on Chow.

                                        I bought.

                                        I've never looked back.

                                        1. re: shallots

                                          I still use my regular blender for frozen drinks (Milkshakes and adult beverages) and for making "ice cream" for the pooches -- but yes -- for just about anything else, it's my immersion (Emeril dubbed it an outboard motor, which still makes me giggle)

                                          Sauces, soups, whipped cream, salad dressings, and mayonnaise are da bomb with an immersion blender.

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

                                            1. 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!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: drongo

                                                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

                                                  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

                                                    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.

                                                    1. re: drongo

                                                      I kinda cringe when I see someone else using one, it brings out the control freak in me and I usually have to fight the urge to take over.

                                                      Cuisinart has screwed up their food processors with the safety mechanism. I don't think I like Cuisinart anymore.

                                                      Give it time, efficiency worshipers will have us swinging by the store on the way home and picking up a fifty pound bag of people chow. Balanced nutrition and no more wasted time cooking and shopping. The crunchy texture is good for your teeth, reduced obesity risks, simplified supply chain and production, not to mention allergen free. Nothing like sitting down to a nice bowl of people chow after eating the bar form all day.

                                                    2. OMG!! How unbelievably stupid. Does this person clean grass off their lawnmower blade while it's running??

                                                      DT

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                        Even the pros screw up sometimes - here is Kenji's story posted on Reddit

                                                        [–]J_Kenji_Lopez-AltProfessional Food Nerd[S] 29 points 8 months ago

                                                        Oh yes indeed. My worst kitchen accident ever was when I was cleaning the blades to an industrial sized stand mixer (we used it to crush lobster shells for bisque). I had forgotten to unplug it and the power switch was on top of the unit. I accidentally pushed down on it and switched it on while my fingers were deep in the blade housing. Ended up with over 30 parallel slashes in one finger down to the bone. Doctor said they couldn't even stitch it up because it was so mangled. Best they could do was disinfect, wrap it up tight, and hope for the best.

                                                        Working on the line that week was hell. Heat makes cuts hurt like a bitch, and that was a SERIOUS cut.

                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                          That fact that you were back on the line speaks volumes.

                                                      2. "ATTENTION FOLKS",Life is NOT risk free; no matter how entitled you may feel!!!
                                                        Reminds me of the woman driving an RV; who received a large legal award/settlement for damages, after setting the cruise control, getting out of the driver's to make herself a cup of coffee.
                                                        Now all RV manuals state DO NOT DO THIS, and warning stickers abound in the units!
                                                        Be aware my friends, they lurk everywhere.............

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                          at least according to Snopes, this is a legend, not truth.
                                                          http://www.snopes.com/autos/techno/cr...

                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                            Damn! Should have quoted the story about the woman who spilled coffee in her crotch, while driving, and sued Mc Donald's......lol

                                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                                              I saw a documentary about "coffee lady". It was very sad.

                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                Please do some research first. You will find she was not driving but instead was parked. That whole story took on a life of its own so that even the press/national news were stating that she was driving. Her story is legitimate, the photos of her burns would make you sick.

                                                                ETA:
                                                                http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/boo...

                                                                http://www.upworthy.com/ever-hear-abo...

                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                  and the final award after the appeals process was a fraction of the oft-publicized amount that was first awarded.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    yes, as noted in the linked articles.

                                                                  2. re: foodieX2

                                                                    Life is not risk free..............

                                                            2. A jar blender is just as dangerous, especially if you stick your hand in while it is running. And stoves .... my god, they get hot enough to burn you badly. And kitchen knives! The horror ....

                                                              As they say on the interwebs, there's no cure for stupid.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: emu48

                                                                and don't forget the pyrex...

                                                              2. Yesterday at Williams Sonoma, I held a banana cutter up threateningly at my husband. Then I clicked it and gashed my thumb open.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                  Karma??

                                                                  DT

                                                                2. Proof that, like college, not everybody belongs in the kitchen.

                                                                  1. I was once sitting in the ER waiting room with a broken wrist, next to a man holding his hand in a bloody rag.

                                                                    He'd put his hand into the lawn mower blade.

                                                                    While it was running.

                                                                    People have a great capacity to do stupid things even when our brains are shouting "what are you doing, you moron?"

                                                                    And seeing as I'd broken my wrist horizontal bungy-jumping, and had snuck past the minimum height/weight chart, I included myself in the stupid club that day. Me and One-hand McGee, chilling out in the ER, reflecting on our life choices.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ultimatepotato

                                                                      I hate that moment that just as you're reaching to do something, your brain is screaming STOP!!! But does the hand listen? Nope.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        You can see the mistake on the horizon and are powerless to stop it.

                                                                        DT

                                                                    2. I am afraid to post anything snarky on this thread for the Karma - easy to do stupid things in the kitchen

                                                                      but why are people making cookie dough with an immersion blender? That's like trying to make a straight cut with a jigsaw.