Monday, January 06, 2014

The Downton Electric Mixer

Here's the New Yorker's review of the season four opener of the Downton Abbey series last night. I fell asleep. I found Mary, mourning for six months, pale, thin and barely interested in her son, a crashing bore. With all the robust and well drawn characters in the mix, I'm gob smacked at why the writers couldn't have done better

This season’s slightly feminist and pro-labor gambits notwithstanding (several side plots have been established about highly trained servants being forced out of their jobs), the show not-so-implicitly argues that although circumstances evolve, solid family values will endure. Especially if you have kindly old servants watching your back. The show’s plummy, self-satisfied conservatism has been pointed out 
many times before. But that won’t stop me from rooting for Mary, the newly-hatched Downton executive. Please pass the excellent, electric-mixer-made pudding, even if it may put Ms. Patmore out of a job. She’ll find another.

I thought the best of the show was the electric mixer's appearance in the kitchen. They must have had a Hobart, unless there was a British equivalent. Reading about them this morning, I was surprised to read that the mixer's mechanics haven't changed. How amazing that a pea shucker attachment made in 1919 will fit on today's model!!!
Wikipedia. Mixer circa 1930

In the early years, retailers were slow to take on the KitchenAid mixer. To counter their reluctance, Hobart established a direct sales force made up primarily of women who went door to door offering demonstrations of the new food preparation tool. With the creation of citrus juicer and food grinder attachments in 1919, KitchenAid mixers were on the road to becoming the versatile "food preparation tools", as they were subsequently styled. Today's KitchenAid stand mixers can be converted to anything from a pasta maker to a sausage stuffer or grain mill with the addition of optional attachments. 

The mixer's mechanics remain virtually unaltered, too. An attachment made in 1919 -- the pea shucker, for instance -- will fit on today's model. Tens of millions of KitchenAid mixers have been manufactured at the same Greenville, Ohio, factory that produced the first one in 1919.   

More here.


  1. OK, so once more I tried to watch Downton Abbey, and no matter how I try, I just can't like that show. It's a damn boring soap in an interesting place. I preferred the special on the castle that preceded the show. I was in the show just long enough to catch the noisy mixer. I have a Bosch kitchen center mixer, a curious German fantasy, that sounds like a jet plane taking off.

  2. I loved Downton Abbey in the beginning, but now it's getting a little farfetched - very soapy indeed. That's amazing about the mixer. I like the idea of the women going door to door as mixer educators. That would have given some of those fired maids jobs, but probably not Mrs. Patmore.