Sunday, May 29, 2005

Even a Man Can Do It

Probably a lot of people who went to elementary school in Washtenaw County remember taking a field trip to tour the highly successful Chelsea Milling Company.  Our sixth grade class at Fletcher went on the tour.  Anyway, a local photoblogger, Argusmaniac (I'm Male, 48 and Taken.) put up a nice photo of the factory.  That reminded me of a local story.  

According to the company's website:
Mabel's magic mixes began in 1930, when her twin sons, Howard and Dudley, came home for lunch with two motherless friends. When the visiting brothers opened their lunches, Mabel shook her head. Those sad, flat biscuits! Fluffy biscuits are not easy to make, but these were like hardtack. It was then Mabel decided to make a ready-mix for biscuits.

Howdy Holmes, Mabel's grandson, reflected on her motivation: "My grandmother Mabel was shocked by the hockey puck biscuits the motherless boy's dad had made. She wanted to save homemakers time in the kitchen and make a mix even a man could prepare."
In the 1930's is was not politically incorrect to say something like that.  I might be wrong about this, but I seem to recall that, even in the 60's, that line -- "a mix even a man could prepare." -- was used during the tour, with no eyebrows being raised.  

Our teacher, Mr. Wheeler, was an Air Force veteran who served during the Korean War.  But he was no Top Gun macho nut.  Rather, he made of point of teaching the proper balance between humility and pride.  It would have been like him to use that story to point out that there are some things that women do better than men.  

Now, he probably couldn't get away with something like that.  At the time, though, feminism was just building up momentum, and it was common for progressive men to say such things.