It's been a while since I last posted about a kitchen item but I'm still inspired by Lindsey Bareham's trifle bowl so here we are again... My Kitchen Aid (which was an unexpectedly generous and very much appreciated birthday present) is easily the most expensive single item in my kitchen. For all the Le Creuset I've acquired I don't think I've spent as much on it as that one item would cost to replace, and though I've undoubtedly spent more on books over the years there are at least a lot of them. If I ever to have to replace the fridge or oven that were already in place when I bought this flat (the oven might need replacing quite soon, but fingers crossed it will carry on for a bit longer) the chances are that I'll buy the cheapest thing that fits in the space and that might well come to less than that one highly decorative food mixer.
Generally I really dislike spending serious money on something that won't last longer than I will (I would infinitely rather spend a thousand pounds on a picture than on a computer - and in the very unlikely event that I find myself with £1000 in hand that's exactly what I would do) but when the Kitchen Aid arrived in my life I was ready to do it. I think they're beautiful as well as functional, I'd wanted one for a very long time, and damn it I felt like I deserved it. In short it was a weak spot, but the tipping point was when I burnt out my 3rd or 4th hand blender (roughly one every 2 years) and decided it had to be something more robust.
It could have been a Kenwood but I have a prejudice against them - not really the Kenwood's fault, the kitchens I worked in as a girl all had knackered ones that were forever breaking down but they were domestic machines being used industrially so that's not really a reflection on the Kenwood's ability, more importantly I just don't find them as pretty. It could have been another hand blender - which would have been cheap and probably sensible, however looking at a hand blender has never given me a thrill of pride or made me feel that one of life's small goals has been achieved. (My mother always said she didn't feel truly grown up until she got her first Kenwood chef).
It qualifies to be mentioned here because it has had a very specific influence on how I cook. One of the, lets call it endearing, traits of a Kitchen Aid is that it needs a regular work out, if it doesn't get them the oil inside it starts to separate and leak (not desirable). Ironically since I got it I'm less inclined to bake cakes, I still make them, just not the cake a week of a few years ago. Nor do I whip a whole lot of stuff in it either - though when I do it's nice to be able to multi task around the kitchen rather than stand over those egg whites or whatever. What I have done though is experiment with more breads and that is a change. Any recipe that warns 'this is quite a wet dough' - which applies to a lot of sweeter bread and buns is much less icky in a food mixer. Chucking everything in the bowl and letting the machine do the initial hard work but still getting the hands on element when you knock back your dough or shape it is the best of both worlds.
It is a functional machine, it is rather nice to be able to put things in it and then turn your back on them for a bit, it does make some things much easier, and it is a thing of beauty if you're that way inclined. I can't really claim it's necessary, or even that it does the job better than anything else can but I love it - it's my pride and joy, and it's very much part of my kitchen.