Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mixwell makes a Thanksgiving appearance

A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

To make this holiday extra special, I pulled out one of my two vintage Dormeyer "Mixwell" stand mixers. As a peace offering for not having posted for an awfully long time, I am bringing you a multi-media presentation of a most delightful 1950s kitchen gadget!

The Mixwell 5020 is one in a series of standmixers produced by Dormeyer under this name ("Mixwell" probably being a play on "Maxwell"). Its sleak, rocket-like profile leans in the direction of the "atomic" vein of mid-century modern design. Unlike other Mixwell models from the time, this model lacks the detachable head which converts it from a stand mixer to a hand mixer.

As you can see, mine is covered in a lovely powder-pink paint that matches my kitchen tiles perfectly!

Very little information about this model seems to be available online. A few examples have been listed on Etsy and eBay in the last year, but I would surmise that, while not rare, a working Mixwell 5020 in as decent condition as mine is a rather rare occurrence.

As you can see in the photo below, the machine and beaters sit slightly off center from the base which holds the rotating platform where the bowl is placed. This characteristic is no design flaw, but rather a feature, as it leaves space in the bowl to maneuver the spatula or spoon without it getting mangled by the beaters.

This model came with two milky-white glass bowls of different size. The larger one is pictured in the last two photos directly above; the smaller bowl makes an appearance later on below.

Here the asymmetrical placement of the beaters with respect to the bowl is clearer to see. The notch in the bakelite handle and the beater-like socket is for the attachment of the juicer accessory.

Here I removed the quarter-sized metal piece that fits into the front to shield the socket for the grinder accessory, pictured below. The pin holds the grinder in place.

Amazingly enough, I got this mixer with its original wooden stamper designed for use with the grinder. How many of those do you think still exist?

These shots show the mechanism of the grinder, including the connection to the mixer in the one close-up. I wonder if this accessory originally came with more circular plates with holes of varying size?

And this photo shows the grinder attached to the body of the mixer.

Here's the juicer accessory (which I should have used to juice the oranges that went into my cranberry sauce below!). There is a possibility it belongs to my other mixer, and that a milky-white glass juicer sans metal post that I have lying around my home actually belongs to this mixer. I should figure all that out…

Regardless, it still fits this model, and the connection resembles that of the metal beaters to the underside of the mixer that I'm sure you're all familiar with from your own kitchen hand mixers and stand mixers.

When in place, the spout of the juicer is placed such that the juice falls conveniently into the bowl below.

The plug, for those of you who are interested in such things!

And here's the complete setup I used to make the cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner.

Now for the multi-media portion of this post! I took a video to show how the Mixwell 5020 functions with its grinder accessory. Unfortunately I couldn't properly capture all the moving parts of the mechanism inside because it was so dark in there. All told, the grinder worked okay, but not as well as a hand-cranked grinder that I also own. I think the rotation of the motor is transferred to the grinder in such a way that it moves rather slowly, hence the long wait before any pulp came out!

The mixer should have also been set to the highest setting ("juice-grind") from the very beginning.

Here's what I started out with:

Here's the consistency of what the grinder produced:

Add a little brown sugar, and it's all done!

Hope you all enjoyed meeting my precious Mixwell 5020. Out of curiosity, do any of you have vintage mixers that you use regularly or even occasionally? How would you compare them with modern gadgets? I've never had anything newer than 1970s, so I'd be curious to hear your opinion.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pudding Packaging Pleasure

Once again a perfectly retro design on a pudding box has caught my eye in the grocery store. What was I to do? A few boxes of lemon and chocolate flavored My*T*Fine pudding leaped into my cart as I told myself that they would make a lovely dessert tonight.

This is not the first time something like this has happened, I will admit. (Click here for evidence.)
Do any of you find that most of the food packaging these days is either ho-hum boring or downright unsightly? I am unabashed about demanding a good product and pretty packaging, although given a choice between the two I'll always pick the former.

What, if any influence do product appearances have on you when you're grocery shopping? Do you splurge or impulse buy when faced with a pretty product?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Home Sweet Home

When I first set foot in my new apartment, it instantly felt like home. Considering my husband picked out the place for us without my ever having seen it, I count myself exceedingly lucky! He chose a spacious yet cozy apartment that fills an entire floor of an early twentieth-century house.

And the best part?

Both the kitchen and bath were renovated in the 1950s and still include many details from this period! My husband had not said a word of this to me ahead of time, so discovering this for myself felt like winning the lottery, or at least a game of bingo.

Yes, home is where the heart is, but for me home is also where my treasured belongings surround me. As we unpacked the boxes that had languished in storage for so long, I greeted my collections of antiques, vintage decorations, books and records like old friends.

Speaking of old friends, have I mentioned that we share our space with a bevy of tiny, colorful parrots? Family had been taking care of my small flock for a couple years during our stay in Europe, but now that we're back in North America (at least for the time being), they're living with us again.

The wild birds and monarch butterflies around me are in the midst of their long journey to find winter quarters. As I hear the formations of geese pass by with their distinctive honking and watch the groups of hawks slowly winding up into the sky on a warm pocket of air, I cannot help but draw a parallel with my own migration over such a great distance. Unlike the wild creatures, however, I hope not to make such moves a regular occurrence!

Did you know that the Hausfrau Journal has also migrated to a new home? From now on you can find my many musings at If you have not yet seen my new home(page), come right on over and take a look around!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

On the move

Source: Sweet Mama Jane

The Hausfrau is busy these days packing her things for a transatlantic move. Mercy, have I ever collected a boatload of vintage in recent months! My husband has made the smart tactical move of refraining from any comments on this topic, but I can tell he is not looking forward to lifting my suitcases....

And you can be sure I wept few tears when I had to entrust "die deutsche Post" with several carefully-packed boxes of one-of-a-kind dresses, linens, and kitchen gadgets. Will I ever see them again?

Source: Happy Postcards

Inspired by my real-life change, I have decided to move my blog as well, away from the "blogspot" subdomain and to a dedicated URL, Since this entails updating a few posts and troubleshooting over a period of time, I'm expecting the transfer to be complete by the beginning of September.

Back to the boxes...

(By the way, many thanks to rockin' Susan at Susan's Diary—Vintage style meets heavy music for nominating the Hausfrau Journal for a "one lovely blog" award! If you're into mid-century with a twist of heavy metal, check out her not-so-ordinary blog.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Recipe: Strawberry Chutney

Strawberry season has come and (largely) passed, and while you can still spot some of those heavenly red berries in the supermarket, the ubiquitous stands offering crates of them at discount prices have long disappeared.

One day in recent weeks I came home with more strawberries than I could put in my morning müsli, make into jam, or mash up for dessert, so I decided to adapt a chutney recipe I had lying around.

Hausfrau's Strawberry Chutney
  • 2 cups of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 chopped apple
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • a spritz of lemon juice

Mix ingredients together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour or until the mixture becomes thick. Stir occasionally to prevent the chutney from burning to the bottom of the pan. Break up larger chunks by mashing the mixture ever so slightly, but do not make a homogenous pulp!

In the end you will be rewarded with a condiment that infuses your mouth with a bevvy of flavors: sweet, sour, spicy, tangy...


As I was titillating my mouth with a spoonful of this red ambrosia, I looked out the window and spied a Long-Tailed Tit feasting on the little insects that sit on the undersides of the leaves in our cherry tree.

Aegithalos caudatus, or "Schwanzmeise"


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Grocery shopping in 1967

Pictures of everyday life from previous decades are utterly fascinating! Recently I ran across this cover from a 1967 issue of the Hamburger Kurs on display at the City Archive (Staatsarchiv) of Hamburg. Despite the slightly posed look of the woman, it captures the look and feel of an old-fashioned grocery store quite well, wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

1950s Children's Fashions from East Germany Part 2

Ready for another installment of darling children's clothing sketches from the 1950s? In April I posted some scans of a pattern booklet for kids' fashions produced in Erfurt, Germany around 60 years ago. Here are three more pages, front and back, for you to enjoy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Case study of a 1950s apron

Recently I snatched up this sweet half apron at a thrift store to add to my collection of vintage and retro aprons. In my opinion, if you're standing in a kitchen or doing chores around the house, nothing is more practical wearing an apron. Draped over your skirt or pants it protects them from splashes and spills. An apron is a handy towel strapped to your waist, an impromptu basket, and the perfect garment for a retro homemaker!

Yes, I could rave about aprons for ages, but instead how about I "pick apart" my newest garment so you can see how it was constructed?