Thoughts Thoughts

My Kitchen Aid Mixer

If my house was burning down I would save my children, my husband, my pets, my computer and my KitchenAid. Everything else I can replace. Even my computer can be replaced. My KitchenAid mixer – this KitchenAid mixer – however, can never be replaced.

Sometimes I actually feel like setting a match to the house and just starting fresh. All the STUFF just gets a little overwhelming sometimes and seems so unnecessary.

There’s a long story to this mixer. First of all it’s probably 28 years old if my memory serves me correctly. Still going strong. I still have all the original beaters and bowl. I’ve added 2 new “swiping” beaters in the last few years which almost eliminate the need to scrape down your bowl. If you don’t already have one I highly recommend you seek one out. It’s never overheated or stopped working on me. I know there’s debate among Kitchen Aid fans as to which is better – the model that has the crank lift or the model like mine where the top lifts up. I prefer mine.

I’ve been cooking practically since I could stand on a stool and reach the counter. I didn’t start with anything fancy. Cake mixes mostly. Sometimes I’d branch out and make some brownies or Jiffy corn muffins, but I made a lot of cakes.

My parents divorced when I was around 8 and my sister and I then lived with my father. I started cooking more then. Experimenting with actual meals. At that time my sister (who is 20 months older than me) wanted nothing to do with the cooking — she’s a wonderful cook now.) For a child 8 to 12 year old, I did a lot of cooking.

We didn’t have a lot of money, but my dad and I were saving to buy me a Kitchen Aid mixer. Every week we would put money aside for it. We finally had enough and were going to go buy it that coming weekend. That week my father, who was a carpenter, fell off the roof of a house he was working on and broke his back and crushed his foot and spent about a month in the hospital. My sister and I ended up using up that ‘mixer fund’ for essentials, like food and stuff, while he was in the hospital. I never did get that mixer, but I did get my father back in pretty much one piece.

So, I survived the rest of my childhood with my electric hand mixer. I think maybe we had one of those really awful electric stand mixers that had the glass bowl that fell off the stand as you were mixing too.

My parents moved on. Both my father and mother remarried wonderful people.

I think it must have been my 19th birthday. Maybe my 20th. It also may have been a Christmas present and not a birthday gift; that was a long time ago and my memory is fuzzy. My father and stepmom gave me my long-waited-for Kitchen Aid. Truly one of the best gift I’ve ever been given. Certainly the most useful. This mixer moved to California with me and went through some serious cake decorating courses. It survived professional pastry school done part-time. It moved back to Connecticut with me and has been with me through 1 fiance (never married) and 2 husbands, 5 dogs, 4 kids, and three houses. It never complains. It’s never cranky. It will work at whatever time of the day or night I need it to.

I cook for comfort. When I’m troubled with something or upset about something I cook. When my best friend Patty was dying last year of cancer and it was really close to the end I was frantically cooking. Morning, noon and night. It gives me comfort. It was Christmastime and I made three gingerbread houses. Not simple ones either. Elaborate ones. All different. They were exactly what I needed then and my mixer mixed all of that hard gingerbread dough without a single complaint. I gave two of those houses away to friends. That seemed right. The one my kids decorated I kept for our house.

I have another Kitchen Aid mixer out in Wyoming. It’s that great new Tangerine color that they make. It’s just not the same. It doesn’t seem as sturdy or strong. The engine makes a funny noise. It’s not familiar. Maybe it’s the history behind this mixer. Who knows. Cooking makes me happy. Cooking with my Kitchen Aid makes me very happy.

Originally published on December 2, 2009. Modified June 9, 2011.

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