Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Last week, my hand mixer broke. The plastic body cracked all the way around, and I thought maybe I could still make it work - but the crack caused the two beaters to be out of alignment. Since they were no longer concentric, "mixing" became more like, "using both hands to keep the vibrating mixer from flying apart."

So I started looking for replacements to my $12 Wal-Mart special. There is no Wal-Mart in Boston, however, so rather than travel arduously by bus to the suburbs where one can find a Target, I opted to poke around online. As I sat with pursed lips in front of my screen, I pondered: Well, let's see - I could always get another of the same one. OR, I could get this nice $20 one - but ooh! The $34 one has a retractable cord...

Well, ladies and gents, by the end of my research, I was nearly ready to place an order for a KitchenAid stand mixer.

That tends to happen in my family. The oft-told story goes that we renovated and doubled the size of our house, starting because my mother didn't like the living room curtains. And more recently, my family gutted the home office, beginning with the fact that the air conditioner didn't work in that room. Projects tend to escalate quickly!

Back to my project, Operation: Replace Mixer.

A KitchenAid, if you are not familiar, is a serious tool. Depending on the model you get, it's also a $300-$400 investment at retail price. But what my family has taught me (besides "projects escalate quickly") is that it is critical to have the right tool for the job. Actually, I suspect the two go hand in hand. Escalating projects is only a winning proposition if you are properly prepared for the expanded vision...

So is the KitchenAid a tool I need? I cook quite a bit, and use my mixer often. And man, the KitchenAid can do so much more than a little hand mixer... and the attachments! Endless opportunities. Good for hours of dreaming for someone like me, interested in both mechanical tools and cooking. 

And the best part? At Amazon, the color I wanted was on sale for $206. 

Figure: Ah, lovely...

Now let me be clear - the KitchenAid comes in many colors. Standard colors are available all the time, and then every so often they come out with specialty colors. Pioneer Woman even sold off a yellow flowered variety. 

I happen to think that pattern is terrible, but in my browsing I found there was yet a worse option. Pepto-Bismol, baby powder pink. Sheesh. 

Figure: Okay, I think it's actually for cancer, so it gets a pass for being a good cause.
And in fact, you can get a whole range of pink kitchen implements! 

I feel about pink kitchen tools about the same as I feel about pink construction tools. 
And that being, that if you can't handle the full-powered version of a tool, you shouldn't be playing with it. This applies to the "baby" versions of tools that come in pink, like the above drill, which is powered with all of 9.6 Volts. Don't hurt yourself, now...

To be fair, I did have a friend point out an excellent argument - that if you are a woman who can handle tools, there are legitimate, high-quality tools that come in pink. And there is one good reason to consider purchasing such a thing.

Figure: That's more like it. Comes with proper drill bits and 18V battery. Could be lithium ion, but still.
 And that being, your tools will not get stolen (and believe me, tools have a ridiculous tendency to walk off). My chemistry friends would say that tools have a high vapor pressure... think about it... think about it... okay, maybe bad joke. In any case - if you work on a construction site, none of the men would be caught dead with a pink drill. And even if someone DID swipe your tools, it would be immediately obvious, because who else would have a pink one? I mean, let's not kid ourselves and think more than one woman would probably be working on a construction site.

So I will grant you that argument. But in my kitchen, nothing is getting stolen. Therefore, no pink. I want my KitchenAid to blend in, be a beautiful component of my counter space. Like so:

Figure: Can you see it? Hiding over there by the oven?
So that black KitchenAid baby was in my cart, and I was so tempted. I left it there to think overnight (another lesson from family - never rush the thinking portion of a project...). And what I decided was this: 1) I haven't saved up the chunk of cash I need for such a purchase, and money is definitely one of the "proper tools" needed for a project. And 2) I have been getting along just fine with a hand mixer so far. And finally, 3) Does my kitchen look like this?

Figure: My DREAM kitchen looks like this, granted.
No, no it does not. I still have a tiny efficiency kitchen, and I feel like getting a KitchenAid is a life step. Kind of like getting the white picket fence and the dog. And honestly, I'm just not there yet. When I have a house - or shoot, even an apartment with a dishwasher - then I'll revisit this.

So for now, I deleted the KitchenAid from my cart.

Actually, that's not quite true - I "Saved for Later."

Because you better believe I'll be back for it. And in the meantime, I splurged for the $34 hand mixer with retractable cord, daggone it, because I'm at least ONE step up from the $12 model. :)


  1. That's exactly my beef with pink tools. I'm pretty sure it's a marketing gimmick for women who may not feel "comfortable" buying the regular set. It'd really be better if tool manufacturers targeted women with all of their awesome stuff rather than exclude them with separate pink sets.

  2. You're not really missing much of anything, to be honest. I have the KitchenAid stand mixer, I am a pretty serious baker, and I still choose to mix almost everything by hand, because it comes out so much lighter and better. I use my mixer for whipping egg whites and cream... and you can use a hand mixer for those too. Now, if you're planning on making your own sausages, then I get the appeal of the attachments, but if not... I really think the hand mixer is the way to go (and you can wrap it up and put it away when you're done with it!).

  3. The KitchenAid mixer is a long-term investment (we've had ours for about 20 years). You need space for it and you need to use it often enough to justify the space (which is more expensive over the long term than the initial purchase price).

    It is good for kneading bread, creaming butter and sugar, and whipping cream. Egg whites are still better done with a hand whisk and a copper bowl.

  4. I am really new at baking (pizza & bread)
    I am having a tough time keeping the bread soft. We have real hard water in our city. Is this the reason the bread is not staying soft?
    I used a bit of milk & an egg in the dough mix which didn't help.
    After cooling what is the best way to store the bread?
    kitchenaid artisan blender

  5. That's amusing about the Pink Construction Tools. The Pink Kitchenaids were themed with breast cancer awareness CSR projects. Some women just like their mixers on display, wistfully gazing at it, hoping to use it more often. Cheers