The emulsifying machine and the extraordinary power of emulsification

I thought blenders and mixers and smoothie makers were all part of a new  way of preparing food and cooking. I think I got my first one in the 1970’s so maybe they had been around for ten years or so before that but reading one of my old cookery books I find that they have been around longer than I thought!

In my old book there is a sub-chapter with the following heading and introduction:

The Emulsifying Machine

This is a small but not inexpensive piece of electrical equipment. Revolving at great speed, fine blades set inside the container reduce the contents to the finest of fine pulps in a matter of seconds.

She goes on to explain and recount her own first experiences of one of these ‘modern kitchen appliances’:

It was a particularly velvety cream sauce served with salmon that crystallised my half-formed intention to acquire an emulsifying machine, and I have never regretted it,

She was obviously so impressed with it she suggested it should be top of the list of wedding presents – and then, showing the age of the story ‘even for the bride who hopes and believes she will find and keep a good cook’! Those were the days when no women of a certain class did the everyday cooking – she had a cook and kitchen maid for that, and another maid to serve it! She continues that it is so useful in making soup, cold sauces, fruit cocktails and ‘because of the extraordinary power of emulsification,’ the smoothest of hot or cold cream soups can be made, or soups from uncooked vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, sorbets and cocktails get another mention.

Such kitchen equipment was now possible to manufacture because a small electric motor had been invented in 1910, known as fractional horsepower motors, or FHP motors. All sorts of things use them, not just kitchen appliances – for example cars: boot  opening, central locking systems,  electric windows,  powered seats, sun roof openings, windscreen wipers and wing mirrors,

Back to blenders… the first blender was invented by Stephen J. Poplawski. He was an extraordinary man,  born in Poland in 1885 and emigrated with his family to the USA, ending up in Racine, Wisconsin. Coincidentally, Racine was the home of Horlick Malted Milk! By the time he was twenty-three he had started his own company, invented the commercial blender which he patented in 1922. Fourteen years later he had developed a domestic blender. He was an inventor all his life, and died in 1956 at the age of seventy-one.

This invention was not used only commercially and in the home, but in laboratories too. Would the world be virtually free of polio if Dr. Jonas Salk had not used it with a special attachment while he was researching and developing his lifesaving  vaccine?

Back to the kitchen bender, the emulsifying machine, my cookery writer has a number of recipes, but I’m surprised that looking at her cocktails, none are alcoholic! Mocktails, obviously!

  • Crème Vichyssoise
  • celery cream soup
  • pottage Bruxelles
  • cream of carrot soup
  • green soup
  • carrot and apple soup
  • cold tomato and pineapple soup (fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, pineapple juice and coconut milk… um, no thanks!)

… and then the cocktails:

  • cucumber, mint and watercress (with grapefruit juice)
  • tomato, apple and pineapple
  • tomato and coconut milk
  • tomato and canned pimentoes
  • apricot, orange, pineapple and tomato (miss out the tomato and it might be quite nice!)
  • apple, orange, pineapple, honey and eau-de-Cologne mint (I think this is another I will give a miss!
  • tomato, pineapple and apple mint
  • peach, apricot, orange and honey
  • equal quantities of  tomato and orange juice, one-third their total lemon juice (a recipe for gastritis if you ask me!)



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