Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mixing it Up for the Holidays

I’m going to be mixing it up this Christmas. Its finally time to buy myself a stand mixer. I guess to most readers, that would sound quite normal coming from someone who plays for the ovarian team, but for me, it is just a bit ridiculous.

I was expecting some flack from the hubby. Unpredictably, he did not say, “but you only bake twice a year.” He would have been pretty close to the truth. Instead, he inquired about the price, and only flinched just a bit when I told him, “About $300-$400.” I didn’t need my backup argument, “I would bake a lot more, if only I had a better mixer.” I do believe this.

Hubby gets a cake twice a year; once for this birthday and then Fathers’ Day. The kid gets one for her birthday. And each Christmas, I bake a few cookies. Other than that, the beaters remain silent.

About 15 years ago, I requested a replacement for my grandmother’s hand mixer. I’m pretty sure that appliance was from the 1940’s. 1950’s at the latest. It could handle only the thinnest cake batter. I guess batter was a whole lot runnier back in the olden days. My mother gave me a Cuisinart hand mixer. Oooooooooh, sounds good, I thought. It sat around until after the warranty expired. Then it was cake making time. I put some softened butter into a bowl with a couple of eggs, dropped in the beaters, turned the mixer on extra low, and was instantly measled with bits of batter. A vast portion of the kitchen was also measled. I’m one of those people who likes everything on the counter and on open shelves for easy access (could be a result of laziness). My utensils sit at the ready in lidless canisters, my silverware sits on the windowsill in vases, every plate and bowl is on open shelves next to the cooking area. I was not pleased. Months after a round of mixing, I will find flecks of batter on the window, the cabinets, and every utensil I use.

I’ve stuck with this mixer for these past 15 years. As a result, my baking has dropped off tremendously. My kitchen cleanup time has been drastically reduced, however. But, I do miss baking. And I refuse to do it again until I get a mixer that understands that I need several mixing speeds. Low should be low. Medium should be medium. High should be high. Not every speed should be extra high. Actually, I never attempted to run this mixer on high. I might not still be among the living. Or at the very least, I would no longer be a resident of this planet. Extra low should not resemble the Tasmanian Devil all hopped up on every amphetamine gathered on every college campus over the course of two semesters.

I’m dreaming of mousses and puddings, cakes and tarts, cookies and macaroons. Not batter measles. How quickly can I have this thing delivered.

p.s. I would appreciate any advice on which mixer to buy.


  1. i have no advice but i sure enjoyed this post

  2. Oh, this is me, too. Or, maybe not (this year). For the past 10 years the hubby and I have said we need to get a stand mixer. Every year I faithfully follow the sales, coupons, black fridays, etc. Every year I chicken out, thinking "I'm not going to spend that kind of money on myself" Ha! Like the mixer is a diamond necklace or somethin'. Aargh.

    Anywho..... America's Test Kitchen says the Cuisinart stand mixer is the best. Best Buy and occassionally Woot do offer a refurbished model that has a warranty; the new model can be found lots of places. Prior to reading the ATK review I was determined to get a Kitchenaid. I don't do a lot of heavy-duty doughs, so the basic Artisan is probably fine for me. Seems to me that at sale times, Amazon or Kohls have the best prices on new Kitchenaids. Especially around this time of year there's no need to pay full price. Amazon usually has refurbished models available, too.

    What will you be using it for? The lowest-end model (Artisan?) doesn't get great reviews for heavy stuff. There are a rash of reviews complaining about the motor burning out,. Meh. Just makes the decision harder for me.

    Can you tell I had a lot of caffeine tonight???