One of the most indispensable kitchen tools isn’t big, expensive, or even electric, it is the whisk. Balloon, ball, flat, French, spiral, cage, coil—there is a whisk for every cooking, baking, and cake decorating task.
Although you may assume that a whisk is an ancient apparatus, its popularity is actually rather recent. The wire gadgets were first produced in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until Julia Child’s celebrity endorsement of sorts, that the whisk entered the kitchens of North American homes. Julia Child is famously credited with bringing French cuisine to the American public with her cookbook, Mastering the Art Of French Cooking, yet a lesser known fact is that it was Child who introduced the whisk to the American mainstream when she featured one during the pilot of her show, The French Chef in 1963, using it to whisk eggs for an omelet. Although the ebullient chef called hers a whip, the name for the tool has shifted over the years to whisk, though the terms are interchangeable.
When you are choosing a whisk for stirring, mixing, blending, or whipping, choose one with many wire loops, flexible wires, and a light, comfortable handle.
A whisk is ideal for beating eggs, whipping cream, making a meringue, emulsifying a vinaigrette—making a vanilla pudding, oh yes. (Recipe here.)
Tips for the Art of Whisking:
- Use a bigger bowl than you think you need. A large bowl will whip cream faster than a small vessel.
- Move the bowl as you whisk—shake, spin, twirl, keep it moving.
- Use the end of the whisk to break up lumps of brown sugar, amalgamate egg yolks, mash potatoes and such like.
- Get a good grip: for tasks of long duration (like making mayonnaise or whipping cream), hold the whisk like a bike handlebar and use both your arm and wrist in the whisking action.