My wish for her demise isn’t, I will say, because she hasn’t been a truly loyal companion over the last 10 years. Any day of the week, she’s ready to rock, dutifully spinning or whipping anything I put inside her: egg whites, cake batter, buttercream icing, pie dough, pizza dough, cookie dough. Even when I make bread dough, she’s always game, even though in the world of mixing athletics, it’s the equivalent of completing a triathlon. So thick is the dough sometimes, it causes her to limp forward on the counter, similar to those runners who lose all control of their bodies near the finish line and are reduced to jerking, rather than intentionally moving.
I never even considered her passing until I learned how to bake bread with my mom’s friend Carol. She hauled over her Braun mixer to my mom’s house and we spent a lovely afternoon in the kitchen.
There were two main advantages to her Braun over my Kitchen-Aid. First, its bowl was way bigger, allowing us to make more dough. Second, the bowl itself turned, not the whisk, paddle or hook, as in the case of the Kitchen-Aid. This allowed us to more strategically add flour because the dough moved much like water folds on itself in a boat’s wake; we could time the flour additions at the exact moment the dough was folding. In the Kitchen-Aid, see, the dough just has a tendency to climb up the hook.
It’s an interesting experience when you meet a machine that works better than the one you’ve long loved. You can actually feel the moment when your loyalty starts to wane, disappear in a wisp and then reappear — pop — on the other side. It’s like when you buy a new car. You like the one you had, god knows you had some good times together, but the new one, it’s just so shiny and smells so good.
Alas, buying a Braun was out of the question since they don’t make them anymore (for shame) and besides, I have a perfectly good mixer at home.
But then a second thing happened. I was in the middle of cooking for a big dinner party and I was putting my Kitchen-Aid away on the highish shelf where she lives in the pantry. So busy was I that I did not make sure I had placed her completely on the shelf. Ten seconds later, hanging onto her precarious perch long enough, I can only presume, to make sure she wouldn’t crunch my toes, she fell — CLUNK — onto the floor.
I ran inside and she looked helplessly up at me. Ouch, she whispered.
I picked her up and saw a big scrape on her side, exactly like the road rash you get if you fall off your bike. One of her plastic knobs was broken, revealing the raw metal underneath it.
Surely, this was it for her. But then I plugged her in and she started spinning tirelessly in front of me.
You would think this would have endeared her to me even more. That after such a high fall and 10 long years together that would have sealed the deal; BFFs 4ever.
But readers, it didn’t. After the fall, her speeds were a little wonky. She spins too fast, yes, works too hard. And her bowl, it’s still just too small. And, like, she’s not a funky fun color like red or robin’s egg blue. The husband picked black. Like, black? Like, not cobalt blue even? Like, why?
In fact, it may just be that my love is fickle because he’s the one who picked her. At the time, he was nearing the end of a serious phase of stocking up his kitchen. Vitamix blender, whisks a-plenty, a mandolin, a fondue pot, a waffle iron, an army of cookbooks, even a butane torch for crème brûlée — he’d done his homework.
By the time I moved in with him, I had no cooking skills but every possible kind of appliance and utensil known to man at my disposal. Including this stand mixer, which looked like it had been used exactly zero times.
So if I had long needed a mixer and finally got one for Christmas or if I had had to save up for one, if the Williams-Sonoma catalogue didn’t have such a good picture of the 8-quart, bowl-lift, 120-volt commercial Kitchen-Aid in dark pewter, maybe then, only then could I be a better friend.
But I’m not. I’m sick. I’m baking more bread these days just to tire her out. And I’m sorry. I’m just really sorry.
It’s not you, babe. It’s me.