Downton Abbey Mixes It Up


I am no stranger to lusting after a kitchen utility, most recently and especially, a KitchenAid stand mixer. My desire for this mother of all mixers was kept in check because financing such an extreme upgrade just wasn’t possible. Surgery on my right hand changed that.

With a weakened wrist and damaged dumb joint curtailing all baking production, my husband, for whom a home without cookies is somebody else’s house, bought me a helpmate:

ka buttercup_ (Medium)

It’s weird to be in love with an appliance, but head over heels am I for “Daffodil,” my very own KA artisan. Had I understood how life changing this mixer can be to even a modest cook, I’d have ruined my hand years ago.

For last Sunday’s premiere of the new season of Downton Abbey, Daffy turned out a scrumptious crust that served as the base for a salmon quiche, which we ate while watching the show. The crust was delectable, so delicious it merited mewing, and we’re dog people.

As I was scraping minuets of crust to the fork’s tines so as not to leave a crumb on the plate, Daisy of Downton was unboxing an electrical hand mixer.  Her excitement for a convenience that would make her life as a kitchen apprentice easier and more enjoyable was adorably portrayed, although not shared by her mentor, who would be just fine, thank-you-very-much, with her trusty rotary hand beater.

Having labored with the old way of mixing a batter or whipping cream, Daisy was intrigued by the electric gadgetry. Reading the instruction manual, she immediately applied the new technology to the evening’s dessert – a whipped confection that was ready in minutes, not hours.

Raised with every conceivable household convenience, modern women watching the show would have a hard time imagining the effect electrical kitchen utilities had on women of earlier times. Having just experienced a personal domestic hallelujah, I totally felt Daisy’s spirits lift at the wonder of a single invention.

Curious as to what other kitchen inventions were changing the landscape of the 1920s’ cook, I looked through my cache of old magazines.

From early editions of Woman’s World and Modern Priscilla, we were giddy for

kitchen utilities 1920s

a metal slanted grater, waffle iron cleaner, date pitter, combination measuring and sifting cup, extending casserole holder, jar opener, can opener, crank food grater, rolling pin cover and a drip coffee maker.

kitchen utilities 11920s 2

And what a surprise to turn the pages of an early 1920s issue of American Cookery and find an advertisement for the mixer that so enthralled Daisy:

Elec Mixer 1920s ad

And to turn the page again, to the mixer that ninety years later, so enthralled me!

mixer_KA 1920s ad

The price of the KitchenAid isn’t revealed in the ad, but it figures it was in line with an electric vacuum cleaner costing $39.00, which in today’s dollars is $415.00.

A four hundred dollar investment in a kitchen utility is significant by any standard, but Daisy and I both know the cost of our domestic happiness is priceless.

What’s Nu?

As this 1945 advertisement (for sheets) in Country Gentleman/Country Woman magazine illustrates, we’ve been shortening our vocabulary long before twitter and texting.

Pretty perf.
Prec Perf 1945 Country Gentleman www

I’ve been going through the stacks of magazines in my collection/hoard (not my description, but definitely to be considered), researching a new project, and I’m cutting out practically every page because the relevancy to modern-day life so obvious.

I post daily on facebook and pinterest of my findings – if this angle of vintage interests you, please join me!

Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Oven Cleanser a New Best Friend

As I prepared last night’s dinner, smoke wafted from the oven and created a cloud that literally filled the kitchen. Opening all the windows and the door helped dissipate it in time to prevent the smoke alarm from going off. But the signal was clear – it was time to clean the oven.

The task of cleaning a self-cleaning oven isn’t much of one. Still, I thought it best to read the oven’s manual to be certain of the steps. Before pressing the button CLEAN, there was some cleaning up to do that included scrubbing at the burnt on stuff from the oven’s floor with a non-abrasive product, such as Bon Ami.

Bon Ami? I had no idea it was still available. From my stash of vintage magazines, I discovered this 1933 advertisement Bon Ami ad [800x600]

She’s set the Bon Ami can on the fabric covered stool, within easy reach as she confidently cleans the sink without wearing rubber gloves….because Bon Ami “cleans thoroughly, quickly and well—without any injury to the lustrous surface—without any harm to your hands and fingernails!”

More interesting Facts: Bon Ami is French for “Good Friend.” The first Bon Ami soap was manufactured in 1886. It’s sold by the Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Company of Kansas City, MO. The product’s slogan is “Hasn’t scratched yet” and refers to the fact that it does not scratch surfaces. The Bon Ami mascot, a

Bon Ami ad chick [800x600]

chick emerging from an egg is a play on the slogan (the newly-hatched chick hasn’t scratched the ground for worms and insects). Fascinating, yes?

If I’d been smart, I’d have heeded the 73-year-old advertisement and made a new Best Friend with Bon Ami. Instead, I scraped at burnt gook –gloveless – with a pad and cleanser that left both my hands and the oven’s floor looking like I’ve been scratching the ground for ….

Ah, well, the oven is clean and it’s been ages since I’ve had a manicure.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Santa Land

Impersonating an icon like Elvis is a lot easier than impersonating an iconic illustration, which accounts for the army of badly done Santas that are everywhere. Because Santa is an illustration, we have no idea what he sounds like (were Santa a dead recording artist, at least the impersonators would all similarly deliver their Ho Ho Ho’s!), however due to the groundbreaking 1930’s Coke advertising campaign that featured a jolly fat man with a long white beard dressed in a fur trimmed red suit, we all know what Santa looks like


So at the least, a Santa impersonator should have blue eyes that twinkle, a plump belly that shakes like a bowl full of jell-o when he ho ho ho’s, and not be the least bit weird or scary, like the


Santa I met at an open house hosted by my new friends, Pamela and John. As far as Santas go, this Santa was a ringer for the original Coca Cola Santa. He was so Santa-like, I bet he would win first place in a Santa competition. Seeing him was like seeing Elvis, before he left the building.

Do visit the Coca-Cola website for the history of the Santa illustration, and to learn the answers to burning questions like Is Santa’s coat red because that is the color for Coca-Cola? and Did Coca-Cola invent Santa Claus? Knowing the answers will make for the best holiday cocktail party chit chat.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!