all mixed up

dear black and decker,

i don’t usually find myself writing to large corporations, much less large corporations that generally don’t produce things which i use.  while i have been known to pick up power tools for my BS for holidays when he places them on his wishlist; and while there are times when i am tempted to locate a power tool and run screaming down the street, i am probably not part of your target demographic, being a stay-at-home-mom who tends to leave most home improvement projects to the experts (or to my husband if i am quite certain that he will not be ripping an entire wall out in the process. which did occur once, i would add. but i digress.)

recently, my husband generously purchased a black and decker hand mixer for me for the holidays. the wonderful machine is a powerpro 250 watt mixer, a cute little number with additional wisks for beating eggs and even a little scraper attachment that supposedly scrapes the bowl as you go along.  now, i know what you’re thinking: why on EARTH would you ask for a small appliance for the holidays when you could be angling for some serious bling?

in short, i love to bake. and while my kitchenaid mixer is my go-to appliance for probably 80 percent of my baking needs, there are times when you just don’t feel like lugging out the giant behemoth just to mix up the instant chocolate pudding.  and once upon a time, i had a hand mixer. yep. got it when i got married over two decades ago. it was my friend and happy little mixing companion. it survived a lot of things — and if you only understood my inability to cook well, you’d understand how that mixer could be termed a survivor.  however, there was one thing it could not survive.

that would be my son, jools.

once day, jools was helping me mix up some brownies, my most favorite food on the planet. and, if i do say so myself, i make some pretty awesome brownies. if i could only figure out a way to make them actually good-for-you, i would make a mint. sadly, no rationalization of how butter, eggs, sugar, chocolate, flour, salt and vanilla can be made to be thought of as anything but yummy. but that’s ok. anyway, the boy and i were mixing up some brownies when the boy did the unthinkable — and with lightning speed, i would add. my three-year-old chef-in-training stuck a spoon into the whirring blades.


fortunately, no people were hurt in the process (though the moment is seared unto the boy’s memory. to this very day, he recalls the incident. the day the mixer died.)

so i have been waiting for over four years to one day have a mixer. i ended up with an immersion blender one year, hoping that would do the trick. sure, it was useful for a lot of things (such as mixing up instant pudding), but it just didn’t do what a little hand mixer could do, gently combining ingredients, then raising the speed level to add some air. it had one speed, and that was that.

then, my BS went and bought me the aforementioned black and decker hand mixer for chanukah.

it is truly a lovely machine, with additional wisks for beating eggs and even an attachment which allegedly will help scrape the bowl as i’m mixing — how cool is that? (did i mention that already? sorry. i just am too excited.)  i couldn’t wait to try it out, but it took me a week or two to get a moment to bake something.

so i just had the chance to wash up the beaters, plug it in, and give it a whirl: it was time to break out some pumpkin and make some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip bread. i started out with sugar and butter in the bowl. it was creaming time. i turned on the beaters onto the slowest speed.


sugar and butter pieces flew all over my kitchen. (i may still find pieces of butter in 2011.) wow. if that’s the slowest speed, what speeds come next, i wondered. i checked them out, each level even speedier than the next. add the power boost, and you’ve got a tool that probably has more power in it than my entire kitchen appliance collection combined.

black and decker, power is fantastic i suspect when you’re building something manly-man-like. like, say, a building. but you need to remember that baking sometimes is the art of the gentle. flour simply doesn’t fight too hard; and eggs just aren’t that tough.  i fear this mixer was built for the likes of tim “the toolman” taylor.

please consult an actual baker when you develop these sort of tools. i barely clean my kitchen as it is.



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