Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Homage to a small appliance.

 My Mum bought a Kenwood Chef in the early 70s and it's been there almost all my life, mixing cake batters and pastries, mincing pork for leverpostej (Danish baked liver pate), liquidising a variety of good soups every winter.

Best of all, every year we use the fantastic shaping device on the mincing attachment to crank out hundreds of vanillekranse (those small round Danish butter cookies). The mincer is old and it slips so it takes one person to grab the attachment and pull back with all their strength while the other feeds the dough into the machine and tries to grab the long star-shaped strands shooting from the other side without squashing them. Sadly there are no photos - it's all hands on deck.

A few years ago some family friends came across the exact same model in an attic. Somehow it ended up with me and it's the best thing I own. Here it is:

A few years ago I bought a brand new dough hook and went bread mad. I think it was the rye bread that did it - not long after, my beloved Kenwood died in a cloud of smoke. After completing a triple-sized batter mix, luckily. My marriage ended the day after - it was an omen.

Things started looking up when my parents took the mixer to a man in Lincoln who replaced the motor for a nominal fee. He loved the mixer, said he was dying to get his hands on one. And my almost-40-year-old mixer was back on its feet, in a clumsy metaphor for my life.

The motor isn't brilliant: it cycles a little on certain settings, and I'm nervous about exposing it to too much pressure, but to all extents and purposes it's still going strong.

I gaze longingly at shiny new Magimixes and Kitchen Aids of course, with their curves and colours and shiny new steel. But there's something about the A901, with its straight edges and clunky appearance. It's form out of function; a reliable Land Rover to the curvy Magimix's flashy Range Rover Sport. More Tom Baker than David Tennant, it may not be as nice to look at but it's the best there has been, and it's mine.