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ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- Making homemade gravy, beans, soups and stews can be time consuming. You have to be careful to stir continuously so that nothing burns and sticks to the pot.

Valerie Thomas has burned a meal or two over the years.

"I'm the type of person that I would cook it on high then I would turn it down and walk away," she said, "and when I come back it is done. It is stuck to the bottom and of course I'm scrapping the bottom trying to save it."

So Valerie was eager to get a third hand in the kitchen.

That's whatRoboStir promises. This small cordless, waterproof device stirs food on the stovetop, freeing you to work on other things. It has three silicon feet that are supposed to withstand temperatures up to 579 degrees.

RoboStir sells for $11 plus shipping and handling. It requires four AA batteries to operate. The maker claims the batteries will power the device for about four hours.

It reminded Valerieof the cute robot in the "Star Wars" movies.

"R2D2 with legs, actually," she said.

Then she placed the RoboStir into a pot of chunky stew and turned it on. It began to spin slowly, making a low, vibrating drone.

"Okay," she said, "pretty noisy."

The RoboStir is supposed to offer three different speeds, plus off. But the two we bought only had on and off. The speed seemed to depend on how thick the food was.

"It's actually doing a good job stirring the soup itself," said Valerie. "Now it's really not getting the entire pot. It's kind of just stirring in the center."

The pot of stew turned out fine. However the RoboStir fell short on the gravy, beans and spaghetti sauce.

"The only spot it was stirring survived really well," she said. "But the edges, no, it did a little burning."

Cleanup is supposed to be a breeze. You must take the unit apart and only wash the legs, which are dishwasher safe. Valerie saw some staining of the silicone feet after using it in the spaghetti sauce.

"It stained," she said, "like it turned a different color."

"This product would not be a great kitchen gadget for me," Valerie said. "It would be a great gag gift."

Valerie's final opinion was mixed.

"It is a RoboStir, it does stir so I can give it that much credit," she said, "but as far as its speed, the noise and the convenience - no, no, not a great kitchen gadget."

Valerie gave the RoboStir one thump up and one thumb down.

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