Huffpost TV

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

EllynAnne Geisel Headshot

'Downton Abbey' Mixes It Up

Posted: Updated:

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


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 1920's cook, I looked through my cache of old magazines.

From early 1900 editions of Woman's World and Modern Priscilla, we were giddy for a 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.

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


And to turn the page again, to the mixer that, 90 years later, so enthralled me!


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 $400 investment in a kitchen utility is significant by any standard, but Daisy and I both know the cost of our domestic happiness is priceless.