The Poetic Mixmaster

From the delightful book by Laura Shapiro, Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America (which I highly recommend for other food history and home ec history nerds like me), a poetic mixer interlude:

“Back in 1940, while [Gertrude] Stein and [Alice] Toklas were living in the country house where they spent the war years, a package had arrived from Chicago. Samuel Steward, an American writer they had befriended, had decided to send them a Mixmaster. ‘Gertrude had said she liked things that went around–gramophone records, whirling grouse, eggbeaters, and the world,’ he wrote later in a memoir. ‘The Mixmaster seemed like the perfect gift, a useful to Alice as well.’

Stein and Toklas were ecstatic. ‘The Mix master came Easter Sunday, and we have not had time to more than read the literature put it together and gloat, oh so beautiful is the Mix master, so beautiful and the literature so beautiful, and the shoe button potatoes that same day so beautiful and everything so beautiful,’ wrote Stein. She ended her letter, ‘Alice all smiles and murmurs in her dreams, Mix Master.’ Ten days later she wrote again: ‘Day and night Mix master is a delight….Now Alice works it all alone and it saves her hours and effort, she can write a whole advertisement for Mix master she is so pleased.’ Toklas was using it for everything she could think of, including spoon bread and mashed potatoes. Then disaster–Toklas dropped the bowl, and it shattered. Stein begged Steward to send a replacement:’…you see you can use other bowls but they do not twirl around in that lovely green mix master way and when they do not twirl their contents instead of staying down rise up and spill and therefore the mix master will have to be a mix master still.’ Steward couldn’t send a new bowl until 1945. He also sent new beaters, for Stein reported that the originals ‘got busted.'”