My mother’s kitchen always included a KitchenAid stand mixer. As a young child, the white machine seemed big and noisy, but I was also drawn to it. Perhaps because I knew when my mother worked at that the machine, sweet goodies followed. Yet I was leery when it was turned on high speeds; the anticipation of the noise scared me, like a vacuum machine turned on or chain saw starting. To this day, I still pause when turning my KitchenAid to higher speeds, bracing for its strong whirling noise and wondering if it will somehow get out of control. Anyone who has used some type of mixer has experienced the spray of flour everywhere when we forgot to start slow. Kitchen work often equals mess, and the mixers like to contribute to the disaster area.
During a recent visit, my mother brought her original KitchenAid Recipe Instructions booklet, and I decided to look into its history. Low and behold the timing was perfect, as 2019 marks KitchenAid’s 100th anniversary. Except for the years I lived in small apartments in NYC, a KitchenAid has been present in my kitchens, so I have a lifelong history with the stand mixer as well.
About 100 years ago, an engineer name Hebert Johnson at the Hobart Corporation was reportedly inspired while watching a baker work and thought he could ease the baker’s task when mixing dough. Soon the stand mixer where introduced, first used in commercial kitchens, and later smaller models were introduced for home use. Apparently it gots its name when a homemaker exclaimed it was the “best kitchen aid” she ever used.
My mother bought her first KitchenAid in the 1970s, and it stayed with us for about 20 years, before she donated it to a church group. That saying that “they don’t make things like they used to” definitely applied to our first KitchenAid. Per the instruction booklet and looking at pictures in the book and online, my mother’s first model was the K5-A, which was introduced in 1969.
Instead of the head titling back which some models still do, my mother’s model raised the bowl to the mixer with a lever, called the bowl lift model versus the tilt head models. I have kept my mother’s tradition, always using the model with the lever. I learned over the years that one needs to stay mindful of one’s task when using the bowl lift models. If one is being a good baker and scrapping the bowl on and off while mixing, one can forget to raise the bowl back to the mixer, which ends up bad for the machine and a mess on the counter. Not that I know from experience. (Ahem.) I have only heard about it. (Ahem.)
The booklet pictured above calls the KitchenAid “your food preparer.” I tend to think of mine as my mixer, but then I am not one to use its multiple attachments. Scanning the booklet, I found the KitchenAid’s specialties at that time included whipped cream and mayonnaise (seems natural) as well as mashed potatoes (hmm, maybe I will try that…or maybe not).
Fun Food Facts:
- Whirlpool Corporation acquired the KitchenAid Division in 1966.
- Since its introduction in the 1920s, the basic design has remained the same.
- The homemaker who was credited for giving KitchenAid its name was also an executive’s wife. I wonder how much fun, or not, the executives’ wives had playing with the earlier models.
- My mother’s first model was introduced in 1969, the same year my parents were married. As KitchenAid celebrates its 100 year anniversary, my parents celebrate their 50th year.
For further reading:
KitchenAid 100 year
KitchenAid history on Wikipedia
Disclaimer: I am not associated with KitchenAid or any of its parent companies, and I did not receive any reimbursement or goods before, during or after this post.