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  1. #1
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    My new Kitchen-Aid, or the Best Christmas (almost) Ever

    When I was growing up, my father used to buy my mother household items as presents. Every year like clockwork, she'd get things like a blender. She hated it. What she really wanted was sexy lingerie or expensive perfume, or something lese equally as personal. My dad on the other hand didn't understand the fuss, since his idea of a great Christmas was getting a Black and Decker electrical saw.

    While I do understand my mother's annoyance, I was thrilled this year when she unexpectedly gave me a Kitchen-Aid mixer. Technically, that's what it is, although that's like saying James Brown was a good dancer. The Kitchen-Aid is the high-end car of mixers; one can buy attachments for it that do everything except call the supermarket and arrange for delivery. Even alone it's pretty spiffy, as it comes with a dough hook, a whisk that makes one's meringues even fluffier than normal and a paddle that glides through cake batter like an Olympic ice-skater taking a spin. I had mentioned that I wanted one (I'd also mentioned wanting new sheets that even on sale were too pricy for me), but I didn't really expect to get one. You see, my mother almost invariably never gets me what I want unless I make a short list of items that can be found online, actually track each item down myself, send her the exact information on how to get them in a email that includes photos and the exact URL, and make sure I itemize how much each item costs. This year was too busy for me to do all that, so I offered to send her the URL to Overstock.com for the sheets (at 71, my mother can navigate the internet but she needs as much guidance as possible), but she said she'd take care of it. And then she told me my thermal underwear was on its way (I get a set every year, like clockwork).

    So. It's mid-December and I was feeling more than a bit tired. My mom had her gift already- a shawl I'd finished in front of her on Thanksgiving Day. And I was hoping for sheets that weren't too ugly, or maybe I'd get a gift card to my favorite music store. I come home from work, slogging heavy books and termpapers in what might be the world's largest work bag, when I see a box in front of my door. I look at it, and there's a label from a prominent department store on it. Inwardly I groaned, wondering what it was going to be. I dragged it inside the apartment, opened up the box--- and there it was.

    When I've watched the Food Network, I've drooled over Alton Brown's Kitchen-Aid and felt a kind of covetousness I haven't felt since I was about 5 and desperately wanted an Easy-Bake Oven. But I never thought I'd actually own one. That was too much to dream about. Instead, I've spent years going into Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma, ogling those sleek beauties like they were fashion models in the latest designs. When my mother bought herself a Kitchen-Aid a few years ago, I tried not to be filled with envy. Instead, I would idly plan my dream kitchen in my head which would have a Kitchen-Aid as the central item, right next to the duck press and across from the giant refrigerator, and think about what it might be like to be rich.

    But this December evening, when I was tired from wrestling with students, I wanted to know what was inside the box. I must admit that I thought it was some kind of cruel joke. I looked at the address to see if it had been delivered to the wrong apartment, but no- it was addressed to me. According to the box, the mixer was white. I opened the inner box to take it out- it was incredibly heavy. I thought of the mixer sitting in the kitchen cabinet, a Dormeyer that had served me well for at least 10 years, and which had been found at a garage sale and bought over my husband's objections. I loved my Dormeyer and I'm devoted to vintage kitchen items, but I just had to take the packing from around this thing and see if it was real.

    And it was.

    It wasn't the fanciest Kitchen-Aid on the market- if the Professional line with the lever that raises and lowers the bowl and the ice jacket accessory is the Lamborghini of Kitchen-Aid, mine was the Mercedes-Benz- the bare-bones but incredibly alluring Classic with the locking bowl. I ran my hand over it to see if it would disappear. It didn't. I looked at the accessories. They were there. I tipped the machine slightly. It didn't rattle.

    I picked it up and put it in the kitchen and plugged it in- it worked well, the little arm moving in its own orbit like a planet around the Sun. I kept staring at it. Then I called my boyfriend and told him I had a Kitchen-Aid and how I knew something horrible would happen because hardly anything good happened anymore and how it was the first time in ages I'd gotten what I wanted, and then I dissolved into tears. And he told me nothing bad would happen and I shouldn't be frightened, and maybe Santa might bring me some accessories over the next few years, and then I started crying again, and I realized it was only a few days before my wedding anniversary, only I was a widow and didn't celebrate it anymore, and that December had been a rotten month ever since.

    I called my mother and I thanked her, while still sounding shell-shocked. Then I made a cake. And a few days later I put it to the test- I made gingerbread cookies. The machine performed like an ace.

    I am still trying to accept that I own a Kitchen-Aid. I put in in the cabinet next to the Dormeyer, and I look at it once in a while to make sure it didn't evaporate. Then I start planning meals around it. It's insane. I must admit that I like it better than pretty much anything, except my boyfriend- and I'm not so sure about that. All I know is that while peace has not descended on the earth and lions are not sleeping with lambs, life seems a bit more hopeful than it has in years.

    Happy Holidays, Everyone!

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  3. #2
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    Anthrogirl, I know precisely how you feel -- I felt the same way when my mother bought me a Cuisinart in the early 80s. I stared at it for a day, too excited to turn it on. That year I became the baker of my extended clan, just so that I could play with it.

  4. #3
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    The BF bought me a cake decorator- the kind where you can put the cream inside cupcakes and puff pastry shells. So it's going to be crazy around here soon.

    This thing can actually handle TWO batches of gingerbread cookies at the same time! TWO! With my old mixer I had to fold everything in by hand, or the kitchen walls (and myself) would be covered with molasses.

    My mom and I both got excited over the Cuisinart too- we had to chop everything in creation. At the press of a button one could make crudites for a crowd! But I think this excites me in part because I've come to dislike or dread December for a number of reasons, and I'd given up on gifts. While the BF is fantastic, we're both so poor right now that it's not even funny, so there's no magical items underthe tree. But cooking is my real passion in life, and now I'll be able to make bread easily. I'm looking forward to using this thing like mad.

  5. #4
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    Oh, Lord, anthrogirl, I know just how you feel! Three years ago, I bought myself a red KitchenAid Artisan mixer. I was hesitant, as I was living alone at the time and wondered if I would ever use it. Believe me, I do. I'm not so far gone that I genuflect every time I use it, but I'm damn close!

  6. #5
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    Oh, the kitchenaide kneads bread like CRAZY. Ours was a past holiday present, and my husband baked a LOT of bread with it. We would make pizza dough, too, and put individual crust amts into ziplock containers, stored them in the fridge. We haven't done this is about a year, since diabetes II made itself known in my husband, so I can't remember if we froze it, too...

  7. #6
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    Jun 2005
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    Oooh, you are a lucky girl! I love my kitchen aid. It's a beautiful, lovely machine. It can cream butter and sugar like nobody's business. I make bread in it, too, though it's tricky getting used to the kneading function--it's far more overzealous (and takes less time) than kneading by hand! My mixer is my prized possession, next to my wedding ring :). I have to leave it on the counter, though, as that puppy's way too heavy for lifting in and out of cabinets! Happy cooking!

  8. #7
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    That was the most beautiful post ever.

    I don't bake (much) but I still covet Kitchen-aids.

  9. #8
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    Apr 2004
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    My mom gave me the epicurean kitchen aid mixer (she bought it for herself, but it was too big to fit on the counter. I think she also didn't want to part with her first kitchen aid).

    It has the lever that raises and lowers the bowl. Honestly, I think the one my mom has (where the bowl is attached to the base) mixes better. There is always this fine layer of unmixed stuff at the bottom, where the beater doesn't quite reach it. I scrape the sided regularly, but it still happens.

    Oh, and if you want to acquire attachments, skip the slicer/chopper set. I find my food processor works better. And the meat grinder set isn't good for heavy use (my mom tried it out, but went back to her hand meat grinder).

    Get a second bowl if you get a chance. It's great when you make whipped cream and cake at the same time. :-)

  10. #9
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    I received a surprise Kitchen-Aid once and experienced many of the same thrills you've just described, anthrogirl. The box didn't even arrive on a major gift-giving occasion, so I just boggled at its size and heft. Then, upon opening it, my jaw literally dropped.

    A friend had been shopping for them online, and I guess I had been pretty bold in my covetousness (Full Disclosure: At one point I think I threatened to send ninjas over to her place to liberate her Kitchen-Aid.). She bought one for herself and sent one to my husband and me with a card that said "Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy Anniversary, Happy Everything!" (Continued Full Disclosure: I might have cried.)

    It's been in our possession for over a year now and has enabled countless loaves of bread and choco-chip cookies. I'm still awed I own such a cool device and hope your's gives you many years of good service, anthrogirl!

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by smudgy_cat
    My mom gave me the epicurean kitchen aid mixer (she bought it for herself, but it was too big to fit on the counter. I think she also didn't want to part with her first kitchen aid).

    It has the lever that raises and lowers the bowl. Honestly, I think the one my mom has (where the bowl is attached to the base) mixes better. There is always this fine layer of unmixed stuff at the bottom, where the beater doesn't quite reach it. I scrape the sided regularly, but it still happens.

    Oh, and if you want to acquire attachments, skip the slicer/chopper set. I find my food processor works better. And the meat grinder set isn't good for heavy use (my mom tried it out, but went back to her hand meat grinder).

    Get a second bowl if you get a chance. It's great when you make whipped cream and cake at the same time. :-)
    I want the second bowl first, and then the splatter shield... and then the ravioli maker. Thanks for the tip, though- I was eyeing the meat grinder and thinking of how I could make sausages with it.

    My Dormeyer has a heavy-duty meat grinder (all metal) that I've never used. I'm thinking seriously about keeping the Dormeyer (which comes off the stand) to use as a second heavy mixer. I have a small hand-mixer that I like, but the look of that chrome Dormeyer is classic.

    I think you can adjust the height by turning a screw- you can on the Classic (I devoured the instructions). That way the beater will come closer to the bottom.

    Thanks, everyone, for the advice and encouragement- this gift really meant a lot to me, and I'm still marvelling at owning such an amazing appliance.


 
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