I was going through an old recipe box and found this scrap of paper. My grandmother (Clara Alice) wrote this recipe for Fluffy Frosting to share with someone…no idea who that would have been, but I had to chuckle when I read the last two sentences,
“It makes a lot of frosting. I suggest you have someone around to help beat unless you use that electric mixer. It’s just the thing for whipped frosting.”
I mean, isn’t that “just the thing”?
My Grandma’s Egg Beater
That got me to thinking…when did she write this recipe? And when were electric mixers invented?
I’m pretty sure at that time she was using a rotary egg beater. I had one that I think was hers but one of my daughters has it, now.
That egg beater just whirred like crazy…smooth as silk. A beautiful thing. The thing is, as easy as it was to crank it’d take a while to whip up that honey and egg whites combo! It’s similar to the egg beater in this picture.
So I’m sure when Clara Alice discovered the electric mixer she was over the moon.
From Egg Beater to Electric Mixer
I tried to figure out when she might have learned about electric mixers and I found a lot of differences in the timeline depending on which source I looked at.
According to Kitchen Tool Reviews,
By 1915, due to the capacity of the 80-quart mixer also known as “Model H” it became a conventional equipment on all U.S. Navy vessels and large commercial bakeries. Although World War I interrupted the move into the residential market, by 1918, the executives of most companies tested the model in their home.
“I don’t care what you call it, all I know is it’s the best kitchen aid I’ve ever had.” one of the executives’ spouses retorted.
So that’s how the Kitchen Aid electric mixer got its name. Who knew?
Here’s what else I’ve found according to Mental Floss.com
“In 1927, a new, even smaller version hit the market, and KitchenAid finally had its hit. The Model G was even smaller than the Model H-5 and a bit less expensive, which helped it find a sweet spot that fit both homemakers’ counter space and their wallets. The new version was a huge success that sold 20,000 units in just three years.
In 1936, designer Egmont Arens came aboard to create new models of the mixer, a choice that would literally shape KitchenAid’s future.”
About this time Sunbeam introduced the Mix Master in competition with Kitchen Aid and this miracle appliance was here to stay.
So I’m guessing that it was after 1936 when Clara Alice found out about this wonderful small appliance because by then it was starting to appear in American households.
Fast Forward to Electric Mixers Today…
Today’s electric mixers do so much more than just mix cake batter or cookie dough. There are attachments that turn your Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer into a multi-purpose appliance. Just to name a few, you can:
- Whip cream and egg whites
- Churn butter
- Churn Ice Cream
- Shred cooked poultry and meat
- Make ground beef
- Make pasta with a Pasta Roller
- Make bread dough and pizza dough
- Mash potatoes
- Grind Grains with the KitchenAid® All Metal Grain Mill
- Blend smoothies
- Chop nuts and herbs
- Spiralize veggies with the KitchenAid® 5 Blade Spiralizer with Peel, Core and Slice
- Juice citrus fruits
- Slice and grate food
I know! It’s mind-boggling.
I’ve posted links to just a few of the possibilities but check the website for others like a Splash Guard or Pouring Shield that you put on the mixer bowl to prevent splashing.
For a guide to learning about the variety of beater attachments, go to Kitchen Aid’s Guide to Beaters and How to Use Them.
Believe it or not, there are some vintage pre-1950 mixer attachments that can shell peas, buff silver, and opens cans!
Hand Held or Stand Mixer
I’ve got a hand mixer and although it would be great to have a stand mixer, my kitchen is small and I just don’t have room for a stand mixer. No place to store it and not enough counter space to leave it out.
Hand held mixers usually come with just a few attachments…a whisk attachment and two different sets.
This chart is from Hamilton Beach but it explains the difference between the shapes of beaters you’ll have no matter what brand of hand mixer you own.
Hand mixers are perfect for creaming ingredients like butter and sugar and whipping cream and making fluffy mashed potatoes.
So even if you don’t bake a lot, a hand mixer is a good small appliance to have. It’s usually one of the first things people buy when they’re starting out in their first homes. Hand held mixers are less expensive than stand mixers.
One thing you can’t do with a hand mixer is step away while it’s working. You can with a stand mixer, of course. And a stand mixer has more power so it takes less time to mix well. It’s easier to mix heavy batters like bread dough with a stand mixer.
There’s Even a Kitchen Aid Museum
If you’re ever in Greenville, Ohio…
Since 1940 all KitchenAid mixers have been build in Greenville, Ohio. Did you know there’s a Kitchen Aid Museum? You can go on a factory tour and shop in their retail store.
The museum has vintage ads and all the old models including one owned by Julia Child.
So that’s what I learned when I went hunting for information about my grandmother’s frosting recipe and the scrap of paper she used. I’m going to see if I can find some other cool old recipes in that recipe box.
Have you any old family recipes and do you know when they were written? I’d love to hear about them so I love to have you leave a comment and a photos if you have them.
And as long as you’re here, another post you might like is The Best Gadgets for Small Kitchens in 2019.
Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned!