Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Clean a Blender

We both smelled a waft of burning motor from the kitchen. Dark bits of kale were suspended in the purple berry mixture, impervious to the blades that struggled to create a fruity whirlpool at the bottom of the carafe.

Mom was in town for a few days. My blender was on its last legs. Though she is not a shopper, Mom is a natural problem solver, so it was great timing. She was party to the quandary of finding a replacement blender and possibly a food processor. I do a lot of vegetarian cooking, and the chain-gang labor of chopping, grating and grinding registers similar effects on my patience and nerves. Clearly this offsets the benefits of the healthy meals I make, so I finally considered investing in another kitchen gadget.

I poured out the smoothies, which were a lot more like chunkies, and mom did KP.

Mom took the blender carafe, filled it with warm water and a bit of dish soap, then placed it back on the base and spun it for a few seconds. “Oh my GOD, Mom!”

I had never even thought to clean a blender that way. I always unscrewed the thing, parried the blades with a sponge, trying not to cut myself, or threw the bits haphazardly into the dishwasher. “Well,” Mom said in her characteristically self-effacing way as she poured out the soapy dirty water and rinsed the carafe, ”there's probably a better way than this.”

Sitting at lunch with my coworkers the other day, discussing my new blender, I asked: “Do you guys know how to clean a blender?” They blinked.

“Rocket science,” I proclaimed, and described what my mother did in my kitchen that morning. Their mouths dropped open ever so slightly.

“I know.”

Now, my mother and I have not lived together for a number of decades. That channel of wisdom and know-how on matters domestic or otherwise that links mother to daughter went on pause after my formative teenage years.

Sipping (chewing) on my smoothie I looked at my mom in my tiny sunny kitchen, and wondered what else this amazing woman knew.

My mother sometimes expresses regret for the lack of nurturing and guidance and whatnot I received growing up. There were unfortunate circumstances, it's true, and they took a fair bit of her attention.

But as far as I’m concerned, that blender trick makes up for it all. Sure, I might have missed a few things, but I'm doing okay. And I can clean a blender in a cinch. 

I am so glad to be able to learn from my Mom, to receive her unexpected and often unintended gifts open-heartedly. Mom, you’re off the hook. The new blender is great. And you’re awesome. 

To my mom, on my birthday.