(Kara has been waiting for this post for over a year now!)
A friend postulated in a post the other day that there probably is many a KitchenAid mixer gathering dust. She actually wants one, because she's a big baker. (And we have enjoyed many a good cookie by her hands!) I quickly responded that it was time for a blog post on the subject, because in our house, this definitely is not the case.
The KitchenAid is as much a family tradition in my family as the recipes we cook up using the KitchenAid. My sisters and I remember going into my Mom's mom's basement to do any cake mixing, because Grandma's machine was so big, and there was no working counter space in her kitchen. We did all of our prep for any cooking on her kitchen table. (Then we'd eat in the dining room because there wouldn't be room on the kitchen table to put dishes!)
My Mom has a KitchenAid. We grew up mixing lots of birthday cake batter, icing and Christmas cookie dough in there. Hers is white and has the control dial on the top. A glass bowl! It has a great design in that it twists into place at the base. I'm not sure how this never broke or cracked in all the years of use. Of course, if Mom had a ceramic sink (like we do), she may have needed a few replacements.
As we sisters grew up and got married, it was Grandma who wanted to buy us all KitchenAids for our wedding presents. Who could say 'no' to that? We even got to pick out our own colors. Mine is on the far left. Only one chose a color other than white. (And that blue has to look awesome in your new red kitchen!)
It was my "blue" sister who decided a year ago to make my Mom a special cookbook with some of the classic home-baked KitchenAid recipes that we grew up with and the "next generation" of recipes that we girls are baking today. It was a huge hit!
We helped her personalize it with photos of our machines and some of the things we remembered about baking with Mom (like the cookie jar with the elf lid; the old yellow cookie tin--which I have and continue to pack Christmas cookies in when we visit my folks; and, my Mom's aluminum staple canisters, with the sugar scoop that has no handle and always stays in the canister).
Here at the homestead, CJ and RJ2 have made their share of cookies, "breakfast cakes" and muffins with the KitchenAid. I got the meat grinding attachment, though I've used it most to grind down pumpkin meat for pies. My "blue" sister passed along her shredding attachment. Many a block of cheese has passed through for tacos, mac/cheese and pizza. The dough hook helps us make bread for teacher appreciation days and accompaniments for dinners for friends.
Harking back to the last post here, why we talk about food is because food is never just about the food. There is so much that goes into the preparation of food. And it's not just pulling the ingredients! Making good food takes time--time to chop, mix, bake. One learns how to pass time productively and joyfully.
If you've ever baked cookies with little ones, you know, deep down, how much fun it is. (Suspend thoughts of your messy kitchen for a minute.) Kids show you how creative they can be. They talk while they bake! They ask questions. They learn, slowly, about how to cook. They take ownership of what they make and get a charge out of serving it up to somebody else. And they remember all of these things. You'll hear about it if you don't make gingerbread dough!
You see, CJ, it's not always about what you cook. It's more about the cooking--and what's cooking with you! It's about remembering special times and occasions and family moments. It's not just about the food.
Now, since we're home again today, what shall we make?