© Another Day in the Country
My poor old little mixer just up and died the other day. Really, she had a cordectomy — it came off. It has been loose for years, shorting out, and I’d have to wiggle it in just the right position to make the mixer “go,” but I loved that little mixer. It actually had three speeds: slow, medium, and fast, 1, 2, 3. I don’t remember the brand. What I do know was that I’ve had it for at least 15 years, it was cheap, lightweight, and, according to me, perfect. With my mixer’s demise, I had to get a new one.
So far, I’ve purchased three and I don’t like any of them. The biggest problem is that these mixers no longer have a slow speed. They say “slow” on the dial but it is not slow. “Slow” in 2015 is like “fast” was in 2000.
“Who is the idiot that makes these?” I yell to the empty kitchen in my distress. “Don’t they know that going fast squirts butter all over the kitchen? Don’t they know you can’t go fast when you are whipping cream?” Of course, no one answers, no one listens, probably, because no one whips cream any more.
I got so angry that I just up and threw the brand new mixer in the trash — not even recycling — because this sweetie was worthless. I went to Salina and bought a replacement. It didn’t work either.
Then my sister stepped in and bought me a mixer for Christmas.
“This looked like a good one,” she said, “I hope you like it.”
“All it takes at this point is a slow speed and a cord that works,” I said. (Seriously, I was about to get out my antique egg beater and forget about electric mixers.)
Sadly, this one didn’t work either. It didn’t go slow. It had weird beaters — more whisk than beat — that buckled doing mashed potatoes.
I went shopping, yet again, for a new hand mixer. I covered all the usual stores, perused all the usual brands, finally settling on one that bragged about how many speed levels it had.
“This should work,” I said, paying too much.
Got it home, turned it on. The cake batter and I erupted all over the kitchen.
This was an expensive tool. It had a reputable brand name. It does not go slow. I hate it! I wished I hadn’t thrown out my mixer with the broken cord. I should have tried to get Art to fix it.
Times have changed, and not necessarily for the better. Today’s gadgets no longer seem to serve us — we have to serve them. I have to put on a haz-mat suit to whip cream. I have to buy — there’s a key phrase, buy — a deeper bowl, a specially shaped bowl to contain 4-Gs of force on my pancake batter.
And while I’m thinking of it: “Does anyone have an iron that really gets hot?”
Irons … do people still iron? (By people I mean people younger than me — people in their 20s and 30s, etc.) New irons no longer get hot. I’ve been babying an old, old GE iron, silver with a black handle, a regular steam iron — you know the kind — and even it does not get hot enough to really put a crisp press on things.
Now everyone knows — or they used to know — that mixers had to have a slow speed and irons needed to get hot. That’s pretty basic to the way human life functioned in my household. Not anymore.
A few years ago, my coffeemaker went lax. It didn’t make hot coffee anymore, so I tried to get a new one. I might have told you about that experience. Me and my cousin Keith, bending over the counter, reading instructions trying to put it together and figure out how it worked. We needed a license to operate it, so I took it back. I’ve been limping along with that old coffee maker ever since — just dragged it back out of the trash until yesterday.
“I’m bringing you the coffee maker from the guest house,” Jess said. “See if you like it.”
A cup of good hot coffee in the morning is supposed to be a calming ritual. It’s another day in the country and I’m dreading plugging that coffee maker in.