As revolutionary as the eggbeater was, it was innovation that freed her from the kitchen!
Technology has a certain knack for curbing and flexing time, so that even if we can’t create it, regenerate or domesticate it, we can work to get around it. By getting a task done in less time or arriving at our destination faster and faster. We’re constantly working in a timeframe, trying not to lament or anguish over the loss of it, but to enjoy life. After all, there are no life instructions, but if there were one would read: “Absolutely No Do Overs”.
So gadgets, like the eggbeater, invented with good intentions and far-reaching implications have always been welcomed. Not only did it efficiently mix ingredients, but it helped to make baking easier, cutting the cooking time to bake a cake in half!
Additional improvements were made to foods, which helped in preparation, including storage and processing. Key products like sugar, that had proved difficult to use, sold in blocks or sugar cones that had to be cut and then broken into useable pieces were now being purchased in granulated sweetness! Flour was now being sold pre-sifted, and the ice box, long vulnerable to melting in the summertime, was being replaced with an electric refrigerator. Fresh eggs stored indoors!
Cooking ovens became more efficient, with a knob that controlled the temperature of the heat. Gone were the days of baking disasters– open fires and damp fire wood, that flameless smoky soot. Now the modern woman had the convenience of coal, gas and electricity with which to run her kitchen. This ease of cooking led to clichés and it changed pop culture, “If I’d knew you were coming I’d a baked a cake,” was not only a song, it was her carefree attitude.
Women were no longer slaves in America’s kitchens chained to temperamental cast iron stoves. With her new freedom came time to think and she began to join clubs. Book clubs, garden clubs, philosophical and reading clubs, these seemed to form and sprout up everywhere. She had time to think, to discuss her thoughts with other women and to reconsider the world, and her place in it, she became politically aware.
From electricity, the eggbeater was redesigned with two separate mixing arms and an ejector button that popped them off for easy cleaning. Women found an additional use, she could quickly release the mixers and use them to pacify a baby. Many a toddler was plopped in the middle of a kitchen floor and allowed to lick the cake batter from the mixers.
Technology has always valued time, with a monetary value established for a “by the hour” workforce. Among men there has long been an equal day’s pay for equal work. Unions made certain that compensation was fair. But for some odd reason, that hasn’t had cross over appeal, call it gender inequity.
Hmmmm, maybe we’re mixing technology with our metaphors…