Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 11, 2008: The gift

Once a week, on Tuesdays, I share my office space with L. We're involved in different projects and spend most of our time quietly getting them done, but we've also established some common ground. She's always knitting cute socks and is apparently a very good photographer (I don't doubt it, though I've not yet seen any of her work). L has enthusiastically discussed the pictures I've hung on my side of the room and has a huge appreciation for fine food - at last year's Christmas party, we spent 20 exquisite minutes devouring roughly half a wilted (but still excellent) Bûche de Noël.

This week L gave me something very special.

This is the KitchenAid mixer that she has owned for 30 years. When she first had it she had been married about two years and was living in Boulder, Colorado. It was the launching point for a lot of baking. "Oh, the butter I've creamed, the cream and the egg whites I've whipped with this!", she marvelled. In the following years she had two sons and their first experiences of cooking were with this mixer.

By the time one of them was in kindergarten, she had moved to Australia and needed this transformer to convert the KitchenAid's voltage to suit Australian power points. (It's far heavier than the mixer!) Similarly, she embarked on the process of transforming her North American recipes to suit what was available in Australia, like the sugary chocolate instead of the unsweetened and bittersweet varieties she was accustomed to. For birthdays and fetes she baked brownies and cupcakes in little paper cases - at that stage unknown and most impressive to the Aussie mothers. For her part, L was bamboozled by fairy bread and lamingtons.

L's sons are now both in their twenties, and she doesn't have the back strength to heft the KitchenAid onto the kitchen bench. Instead she relies on a hand-held mixer she bought ten or fifteen years ago. So she offered it to me, keen to see it inherited by someone who'd use and value it as much as she did. As she took me to her car and dropped me and my new mixer at my house, she told me these stories about her mixer that had returned as she packed it up.

I couldn't think of much more to do than to thank her, and promise that I'd whip up some more memories with it. "I know you will," she replied. "That's why I'm so excited for you to have this!"

So, what was the first recipe I mixed up with my new-old KitchenAid? You'll have to wait a few days to find out...


  1. oh. wow!

    that's so exciting, hahaha.
    just yesterday i picked up an old Kenwood Chef mixer i got from ebay... not sure how old it is but they are supposed to have good lifespans too... let's hope we're both still using them in 20 years!

    you know that now i'm going to be expecting more treats to come home with mum...?!

  2. Fantastic. Where do i find a friend like this? I am green with envy!!!

  3. Ah, Stoo, I hope you're not going to challenge me to any endurance baking. :-D I might be able to push a sample of my first KitchenAided recipe your way - there are leftovers but I'm not sure how they'll travel. I hope your mixer is just as fun!

    KJ, I know you've got a wait for your KitchenAid but here at least is evidence that you'll have many, many years of great mixing once it does arrive!

  4. In my family all the sibs give a Kitchen Aide mixer for a wedding present. At the age of 30 I finally decided if I didn't buy myself a mixer I would never get one. Hope you enjoy it.

  5. Ha, now there's an incentive to get hitched for all the wrong reasons. :-D We need more KitchenAids for the happily unmarried cooks of the world! Some kind of kitchen commitment ceremony...?

  6. That is an amazing gift! :) 30 years is so impressive, I wonder if appliances made nowadays would last as long.

  7. Oohhh, the suspense....

    What a lovely lady!

    Would you believe, my mum still has the same mixmaster she's had my entire life (I'm now approaching 29), apparently it's willed to me, lol. It's amazing how many memories can be held by a simple appliance.

    Take care of it, and pass then it can be used to teach your kids to cook!! (well, eventually)

  8. Oh wow! What a lovely, lovely lady and wow what a heck of a wonderful gift!!! You lucky thing! I look forward to reading up your posts where the kitchen aid plays a supporting role!

  9. Agnes, I hope a brand new KitchenAid might still have that kind of staying power! Not most of my other appliances, though, that's for sure - I buy cheap stuff. :-)

    That's cool, Anna! My mum also has a Sunbeam mixmaster that I think was a wedding gift from the mid-1970s. It holds all my childhood baking memories. :-)

    Yes, SL, I'm a lucky girl! The bowl on this thing is enormous, so I may begin baking in bulk.