Manolo's Food Blog Manolo Loves the Food!

December 9, 2007

Style ideology

Filed under: appliances — Mr. Henry @ 11:36 pm

The topic of blenders drew mixed response.

According to Little Henry, weekend couch rat and Food Network devotée, the Australian-made Breville Ikon blender is the Iron Chef “Kitchen Stadium” choice. To clean it, however, demands disassembling the blades from the canister, something Iron Chefs are not required to do.schulze.jpg

Since Mr. Henry does not handle sharp objects early in the morning, he would not use the Breville to mix Dr. Schulze’s “SuperFood” green goo smoothie.

(Before this blender business gets resolved, however, Mrs. Henry may get bored with the suspicious Dr. Schulze and move on to some new herbal quackery that doesn’t require a blender at all.)

Although Cameron asks forgiveness for buying the stand mixer in metallic chrome, Mr. Henry should be the penitent. She hit upon an important omission in his rule of black and white, and by doing so obliges Mr. Henry to issue a new dictum, one that holds equally for furniture and for architecture:

Machines should look like what they are.

By this measure the chrome stand mixer is not only an appropriate choice, it may be the best color choice of all.

Although there was much virtuosity in Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau, both movements in their inception harked back to an earlier era of handmade objects, an imaginary prelapsarian paradise when happy craftsmen took joy in their work. This is faith-based, anti-scientific, Luddite nonsense.

Art Deco design is more satisfying because it celebrates the functional, the scientific, and the industrial. Its focus is forward, embracing the future. A chair supported by metal features metal as its essential design element. It is not hidden by curlicue wicky-wack.

Style harbors ideology. Faux American colonial furniture holds within its green Carolina hardwood an implicit longing to return to Gilded Age aristocracy, an imaginary gentility based on family, class, and race. The prominent survival of debutante balls reflects the same backwards belief system.

Mr. Henry likes sitting in an honest chair.

As for Funoozer’s suggestion to relegate microwave ovens to the basement, while certainly a suggestion with merit, here in New York City basements are called “garden apartments” and they belong to other people.


  1. Hooray for chrome stand mixers! I agree with Mr. Henry, which is why all of our appliances are also chrome or stainless steel. Aside from being “honest”, they’re also fairly timeless and you probably won’t have to worry about being ashamed of them in later years, a la the avocado green or harvest gold appliances of our parents’ generation.

    Comment by K — December 10, 2007 @ 2:09 pm

  2. Mr. Henry,
    Maybe I’m taking you too literally, but are you suggesting that you are completely anti-Art Nouveau? What about Gaudi? Or the metro in Paris?

    In general, I am all about minimalism and functionality – machines looking like what they are. But I can’t help but find a sort of emotional beauty in some more elaborate architecture and appliances…

    Comment by Kit Pollard — December 12, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  3. No no no. Though never argumentative, once in a while Mr. Henry stakes a claim somewhat on the periphery of acceptable opinion. It’s fun to watch the feathers fly.

    He adores the Metro and worships Antonio Gaudì. As it happens, for this post he prepared pictures of both, but opted against turning a short throw-away essay into a full blown screed.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — December 13, 2007 @ 8:47 am

  4. What a relief! I think of you as a Tim Gunn of the kitchen…and I’d like to think that I have some style, as well (in a good way). So it’s nice to hear that our tastes don’t diverge on this point!

    Comment by Kit Pollard — December 13, 2007 @ 10:29 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress