A whisk is a cooking utensil used in food preparation to blend ingredients smooth, or to incorporate air into a mixture, in a process known as whisking or whipping. Most whisks consist of a long, narrow handle with a series of wire loops joined at the end. The wires are usually metal, but some are plastic for use with nonstick cookware. Whisks are also made from bamboo.
A makeshift whisk may be constructed by taking two forks and placing them together so the tines interlock and make a cage. This is far more effective than a single fork at incorporating air into a mixture.
Whisks have differently-shaped loops depending on their intended functions:
Additionally, a mechanical device known as a rotary whisk consists of 2 sets of beaters that are joined together with a hand-operated crank and handle.
Although the modern whisk may have only appeared at the end of the 19th century, evidence of whisk-like tools exist even further back in history. A bundle of twigs fastened together make an effective whisk; often the wood used would lend a certain fragrance to the dish. An 18th century Shaker recipe calls to “Cut a handful of peach twigs which are filled with sap at this season of the year. Clip the ends and bruise them and beat the cake batter with them. This will impart a delicate peach flavor to the cake.”