People hang on to their eggbeaters for various reasons. One is their durability. Avis Fleming of Alexandria, Va., keeps her eggbeater in the kitchen drawer with the rarely used spices. “My Kitchen Aid stand beater, stored in the cellar, drowned in the Alexandria flood a couple of years ago,” she wrote, “but the eggbeater was safe, a flight of stairs up, nestled in the kitchen drawer.”
When Dorothy Penner of Annapolis renovated her kitchen in 2004, she had a special drawer made to fit her eggbeater. “It’s with me to the end!” she wrote.
Some people have an affection for a specific eggbeater, one that has been passed down in the family like an heirloom. Others have sentimental feelings for eggbeaters, in general, for similar reasons: They are talismans of a beloved past.
“We use it occasionally,” Rose Beauchesne of Falls Church, Va., wrote of her eggbeater. “It reminds me of when I lived with my grandmother and all her kitchen appliances were hand-powered.”
Maryanne Kendall of Reston, Va., has an eggbeater, too, the latest in a long line. She uses it every day to make scrambled eggs.
Wrote Maryanne: “About 25 years ago, my then 4-year-old granddaughter, Emily, wanted to help me in the kitchen, so I sat her down at a table with a bowl of eggs and milk and handed her an eggbeater. She sat there, looking puzzled, and said ‘How do you turn it on?’ ”
Four years ago, Jennie Fogarty’s granddaughter Claire asked for an eggbeater for Christmas. She’d seen grandma — a.k.a. Gigi — use one to scramble eggs and smooth canned soup. Gigi happily obliged.
“It was her favorite gift,” wrote Jennie, of Bethesda, Md.
Betty Loeb of New Market, Md., sent me a photo of the two eggbeaters she pulled from a kitchen drawer.
“Of course, I cannot tell you the last time they were used,” she wrote. “The older one belonged to my mother-in-law, and the ‘newer’ one was part of my trousseau 59 years ago!”
Annapolis’s Luisa Girlando also has a brace of beaters.
“They were hard to find,” she wrote. “I bought my first in a thrift store in Berlin, Md., and my second in a thrift store in Annapolis. And I am sure that after I die, they will probably find their way back to the same thrift stores: the circle of life for eggbeaters.”
Nancy Philipp of Silver Spring, Md., remembers her mother using an eggbeater to make Christmas candles.
“She beat up melted wax to make a frothy mix that she put on the outside of candles she had molded or on large glass containers that held candles,” Nancy wrote. “Are there other nonfood uses for the eggbeater I wonder?”
Here’s a nonfood use from Rob MacTurk of Rockville, Md.: “We had an eggbeater when I was growing up in the 1950s. My mother would accuse me of using it to comb my hair. In reality, I used it to terrorize my little brother.”
Virginia reader Bess Taylor pointed me to a 1973 TV commercial for Hunt Snack Pack pudding cups. In it, a group of children are playing at a swimmin’ hole when a woman — “Somebody’s Mom,” they exclaim — motors up, riding atop a massive eggbeater as if it was a Jet Ski.
You couldn’t make that ad today. No child would recognize her motorboat.
Finally, I heard from Ladd Morse of Jefferson, Md. He confessed that he and his wife are “whisk people,” but they do display two eggbeaters in their kitchen.
The reason? Ladd is named after an uncle on his father’s side. “Much to my surprise, I learned in my late 50s that he was named after the brand of eggbeater that his mother owned, as she really liked the name,” Ladd wrote.
That would be an eggbeater patented by one Earnest W. Ladd.
“My wife and I loved that story so much that we started shopping antique stores and ended up purchasing two LADD-branded models. I’m sure you will receive a few emails from folks who have eggbeaters and some of those folks might actually use them daily. But I’ll wager that none of them are named after one!”
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.