Monday, September 17, 2007

The King of Food Mixers, and a Failure


The cookbooklet "Kitchen Tested Recipes" from Sunbeam Mixmaster, the King of Food Mixers (1933) has recipes ranging from mashed potatoes to meatless stew. In between every recipe and on full page ads, the Mixmasters let you in on little secrets: no static in the radio while MIXMASTER runs...MIXMASTER attachments are not trashy...it is impossible to injure yourself with a MIXMASTER food chopper and meat grinder attachment...

There are lots of promising, basic recipes in this book, like popovers, biscuits, angel food cake, orange marmalade, and waffles. Some sound a little unusual, like stuffed peppers that list prunes as an ingredient, spinach loaf, and corn fondu (sic), but even those have potential. The print is tiny so they could fit many recipes, and snippets of wisdom, and supportive letters, into just 40 pages.

The dozens of letters alone are worth the price of the cookbooklet. This kitchen appliance is "indispensable," "perfect," "the pride of my kitchen," and "the finest gift my husband ever gave to me." My favorite is a letter from Mrs. B.E.S from Ithaca, NY who is quoted as simply saying, "MIXMASTER...is the joy of my life!" Sigh.

Now, don't try to print the coupon on the right and use it for your own MIXMASTER attachment because it expired August 30, 1933. Even if you could use it, how would you decide which attachment to get? The mayonnaise oil dropper? The slicer and shredder? The potato peeler? The coffee grinder? The can opener? The knife sharpener? The silver polisher? The grapefruit reamer? The choices are almost endless! (After reading the next paragraph, I'm sure you'll be able to guess which one I would choose).

Rather than attempt one of the standard recipes, I decided to try to make mayonnaise. Now, of course, I don't have the Mixmaster mayonnaise oil dropper attachment (as a matter of fact, I don't have a stand mixer at all; someday, someday). Pressing ahead, I dripped, dripped, dripped oil into a raw egg and just couldn't get it to emulsify. Making mayonnaise is apparently a tough process and after two ruined batches and wasted oil and eggs, I gave up. I don't think that speaks to the quality of the recipe at all, but to the technique of the cook. I think my mother will be glad to hear this recipe didn't work, because she would not sleep for days if she knew her daughter was eating something with raw egg in it. But I am going to try it again someday...salmonella here I come!

2 comments:

Sunday Cook said...

Mayo from scratch? Very brave. When I have made it (not often, I'll admit) I found there are two secrets to my success with this sauce: Drizzle slowly and find a buddy.

Drizzle slowly: use a plastic or paper cup with a hole punched in the bottom to drip in the oil. I have never been able to pour the oil in slowly enough otherwise. (If you have a Cuisinart, the pusher tube has an "oil drizzling hole" in it.)

Call in a buddy: if you're whisking the mayo by hand, it is just too hard to manage your oil properly while whisking. Have your mayo buddy drip the oil in for you while you whisk like mad.

Actually, there's a third tip: Buy Hellman's and add a little lemon juice. Not the same, but pretty darn close.

Me said...

Thanks for the tips! Like I said, I'll definitely try it again, and may try the lemon juice trick, too.