Thursday, July 6, 2006
Be honest. There've been times when you've gotten a bit testy when using your professional stand mixer, right? When you wanted to cream butter and sugar and have it be as light and fluffy as it used to be when you used a plain ol' everyday mixer? When you wanted to scrape down the ingredients without either losing a finger or having to stop the machine, lower the bowl, scrape in the small space allowed (being sure to get the stuff off the bottom of the bowl that never seems to get incorporated no matter how many times you adjust the machine), raise the bowl, turn the machine back on and 1 minute later repeat the process? Doesn't it make you just a tiny bit ticked-off?
As in, if it weren't so heavy, it could get heaved across the kitchen?
Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like my professional stand mixer. It's just that it's such a pain in the neck to use for those simple techniques like whipping cream, frothing egg whites, creaming butter with sugar, and mixing ingredients for, say, a cake instead of four loaves of bread.
If you understand what I'm getting at, then you'll understand why I'm so excited today. My new Sunbeam Mixer just arrived. That's right, a Sunbeam. You know, the one your mother (and grandmother) used to have. Only this one is bigger and stronger (450 watts) with more beaters and two mixing bowls. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say, why is this so exciting? Because I'll actually be able to properly cream butter and sugar. And I'll be able to scrape the sides of the bowl while the mixer is running without fear of the skin on my knuckles being shredded. And I'll be able to lift the beaters and extract the bowl without going through more than those two simple steps. And I'll be able to lift it from its appliance "garage" without spraining my wrists.
Want more? I'll be able to add wet ingredients without having them splash all over my kitchen. And the beaters will get to all the ingredients at the bottom of the bowl without me having to stop the damn machine and incorporate that bottom layer (by hand) into the rest of the mix every two and 1/2 seconds. OK, I know I'm exaggerating here, but, and be honest, when you want to mix simple things, don't you reach for the hand mixer instead of the "big guy"? Sure, it'll turn out bread dough like nobody's business, but for finer mixing that begins with the creaming of butter and sugar, give me a Sunbeam.
My ex-mother-in-law gave me this little early 1950s cutie many, many, oh so many years ago. It worked like a champ until a few years ago when the motor started overheating. And because I treasure it's sweet nature and old fashioned demeanor, I lovingly placed the little Sunbeam in the cupboard to live out its days and bought a big KitchenAid stand mixer.
Right from the start the "big guy" and I didn't get along very well. Mostly for the reasons stated above. But I persevered, thinking I was just experiencing a steep learning curve. It was when I realized that I reached for my hand mixer more often than not, that I started thinking the relationship with the big guy just wasn't working.
At first I thought it might be that particular stand mixer, so I went out and bought another one, brought it home and set it up to cream butter to a pale yellow, cloud-light consistency. This had become my litmus test. I was anxious. I was excited. And it failed. Disgusted, I returned it to the store. And, except for my little hand mixer, I went without a trusty Sunbeam.
Now this glorious creature is sitting on my counter. Will it be all the things my 50s mixer was? And more? Already it lifts its head sweetly and locks into place with a barely audible "click". The simple touch of a button unlocks it easily. Lifting it is a breeze. And there it sits, waiting to take THE TEST. Tune in tomorrow to see if it passes.