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Stirring up your thoughts


DaveP
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Egullet society,

I am requesting your opinions/thoughts/ideas on stirring food in the kitchen.

I am a student at Lehigh university and as a part of a product development class I am required to find out everything there is to know about stirring food in the home and commercial kitchen. This is all in preparation for designing a product that brings the idea of a laboratory magnetic stirrer from the lab into the kitchen.

If you wish to help my group and I out, please start by taking our survey found here:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=982733289335

And continue by posting additional comments you have related to any of the questions on the survey, or anything related to stirring in general. IE what you like and especially don't like about what you use currently or have used in the past.

This my seem like pretty boring stuff right now but eventually I will be asking for your opinions, feedback and ideas, as forward thinkers of food technology, of the concepts for the embodiment of the magnetic stirrer in the kitchen.

Thanks,

Dave Petrillo

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I havent used a magnetic stirrer in the lab that would cope with the viscosity of much of what needs stirring in my kitchen. Perhaps a varient of a KA with a stirring attachment would work - like an impeller in the lab.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Wow, egullet...

Please help me out here. You guys are definitively the best source in the WORLD for insightful, valuable opinions on kitchen related gadgetry and cooking in general. Please let me hear some of it!

My post before was a little bit vague, that was my fault, here are some ideas.

Post some aggravations about what you burn on the stove most often.

What were you cooking?

How long do you cook it for?

How often do you need to sir it before it starts to burn?

What do you do if it burns? Throw it out? Add an onion?

Would you make tedious things more often, like big pots of sauce, thick soup, or risotto if they were less time consuming because of some kind of stirring aid?

Are you an expert chef who never burns anything ever and thinks any kind of automatic stirrer is a complete waste of time?

I'm really just trying to understand what you guys are doing out there and if there is a problem worthy of a solution. Disregard the obvious technical feasibility problems with this idea for now, that is something we will have to design around once we understand more about what our product actually needs to do.

P.S. The survey is 10 questions long and takes apx 6 seconds to take. 6 Desperate engineering students would LOVE all of you if you can help.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=982733289335

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DaveP,

I would be more than happy to help but I make little on the stove that requires much stirring and those few things that do, require my full attention anyway so that any sort of automatic stirring device would have very little appeal.

I am thinking that your premise that lots of stirring goes on in home kitchens just might be faulty. But others might be cooking things that do require it so let's see what others have to contribute.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I do a lot of stuff on the stove, because our oven has one setting (infernal), but haven't burned anything in a while.

However, if you're taking orders, sign me up for one automatic risotto-stirrer, please. :wink:

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I can't say I do that much stirring either - and when I do, it's pretty much exclusively of things that have to be closely watched at the same time - for developing consistency, absorbtion of liquid, etc. So I'd still be standing at the stove, watching the stirrer stir.

Thing is, stirring is also part of the process of knowing how a dish, a sauce, etc is progressing, since it allows you to feel how thick the sauce is, for example.

So I guess that unless I made a Lot of risotto (which I don't) or had problems with my wrists/hands/standing at a stove for ages, etc, I can't see I'd have any use for an automatic stirrer.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

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I stir scrambled eggs, and risotto (which latter I have made all of once), and sauces.

I could use an automatic stirrer for the sauces and if I had one, risotto would get made more often. Cant really walk away from the eggs.

Technical challenge - the sauces/gravies get made in fairly small volume in large flat pans, so an overhead mixer would probably not work too well.

editted to add: the survey takes about 30 seconds.

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Okay, I took your survey, but I'll elaborate a bit here:

Post some aggravations about what you burn on the stove most often.

What were you cooking?

How long do you cook it for?

How often do you need to sir it before it starts to burn?

What do you do if it burns? Throw it out? Add an onion?

Sauces, frostings and puddings, expecially tapioca, seem to require the most constant attention to stirring of anything I regularly cook. Fortunately, these things can usually be cooked when the stove isn't otherwise in use, so I'm able to concentrate my efforts.

In spite of this, I often get some burnt residue on the bottom of the pan. If I don't stir it up/scrape it off, it usually doesn't affect the flavor or texture of the finished product. (for some things, like butterscotch, it actually adds an interesting element)

Would you make tedious things more often, like big pots of sauce, thick soup, or risotto if they were less time consuming because of some kind of stirring aid?

Are you an expert chef who never burns anything ever and thinks any kind of automatic stirrer is a complete waste of time?

I wouldn't be in the market for any such device unless it was very reasonably priced.

However, I recall that when my then two-year old grandson lived with us, I often had his "help" in the kitchen, which left me with only one operable hand. In this case a stirring aid, (other than said grandson, who liked to help stir, and then taste), would have been welcomed.

In fact, if I were developing such a product for home use, I might target those who. because of disabilities and infirmities find the prospect of stirring daunting?

SB (putting the problem before the solution) :wink:

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Thank you everybody who is helping us out, all you're responses have been great and valuable. Hopefully we'll here from some more of you guys in the coming days.

SuzySushi, we've seen that stirrer before, I think were going to order one to check it out eventually. Have you used it or do you know someone who has? I would be very interested in talking to someone who's used it to tell me what they hate/like about it.

Also, don't hesitate to chime in and tell us that any kind of automatic stirrer is useless if that's how you really feel. Our groups job for our project is to report to our sponsor company what the market (you guys) really think, doesn't matter if its positive or negative.

So far from our other research, one promising market we've found is stirring LARGE pots of pizza sauce at pizzerias. They have issues with burning and it's something that requires alot of stirring with minimal other attention. Can anyone comment on this? Work at a pizza place, own a pizza place, make pizza sauce in large quantities at home... ?

Thanks again to everyone for their help and those who will be helping soon!

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So far from our other research, one promising market we've found is stirring LARGE pots of pizza sauce at pizzerias. They have issues with burning and it's something that requires alot of stirring with minimal other attention. Can anyone comment on this? Work at a pizza place, own a pizza place, make pizza sauce in large quantities at home... ?

Tomato is one of those flavors, quite unlike the previously noted butterscotch, that does not take kindly to being burnt. It scorches easily, due to the sugars in the sauces, and a small bit of the burnt flavor can quickly permeate and ruin a whole batch.

Because of the cost of throwing out a batch of sauce, both in money and time, pizzerias would seem to be a likely candidate for a reasonably priced, easy to use, automatic stirring device.

SB (just be sure to include instructions written in Spanish!)

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