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Posts Tagged ‘baking addiction’

You can’t deprive a woman the Joy of Baking for five straight days – during school holidays no less – and then expect her to just settle for some replacement with a 600 watt motor and no dough hook. You just can’t do it. It’s like taking a starving man to the All You Can Eat Buffet night at the local Sizzler and expect him to just have the complimentary bread and butter. It’s downright cruel. 

The saleswoman at the local Electrical Bargain Warehouse Place Thing understood me. She could see where I was coming from – and indeed, as some might say, she could see me coming and from a mile off at that. As good salespeople often do, she spoke my language. She knew instantly that I was at the Extreme Sports end of baking. That I couldn’t settle for mere balloon whisks. That I needed a hook to mix dough and another one to cut butter into flour. That’s right: butter into flour. Perhaps even shortening into strong white flour. There, I said it. Live with it. 

She led me gently away from the 600w model and showed me an 800 watt Kenwood model that came with a free Mincer attachment. I think I might have snarled at this point “What am I going to do with a mincer? Can you put flour, sugar, butter and eggs through a mincer?” And it was then she knew to lead me around the corner to what my friend KC later labelled “The Sealed Section” of the mixer department. And it was there that she showed me the Kenwood Chef KM002b. 

Oh, baby how that thing gleamed in the striplighting of the store. And then I saw the price tag and my soaring heart plummeted.

Listen, finances have been bad: we’ve been haemmoraging money for a while now because of the hidden lawyers and financial advice fees required by the bank to seal the deal on our investment property (see “Sold (Out)“). One place even wanted to charge us $2500 for financial advice. Now, if I were our financial advisor looking at our current financial situation, I’d advise us to not seek any financial advice because we simply Can’t Afford to spend $2500 on it. But where that would leave us all, I do not know. Especially since I don’t know how ethical it is to be giving financial advice to yourself in the first place. But I digress. 

So I found myself standing in front of the Dogs Bollocks of Mixers, knowing that its purchase would mean both a full heart and a full credit card. 

My husband, a far more spontaneous creature than I, looked me in the eye. “Do you want it?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Do you really really want it?” he repeated, with a little more force. 

“Yes!” I shouted.

“How much do you want it?” he shouted back.

“I really really really REALLY want it!” I replied. My heart was thumping, my adrenaline was pumping, I could have hurled myself down the track with my steel-sprung legs and won any race at that moment. But instead, I just whipped out my credit card and bought the thing. Yes, I bought it. 

In the end, thanks to have some careful negotiation and a $100 cash-back voucher from Kenwood, we ended up spending $300 more than we had initially intended but $320 less than the RRP of the model we bought. So my financial advice to myself would be to chill: we saved more than we overspent. And surely, that’s a good thing. 

In the meantime, the NDM has come back to baking. And that really is a good thing. Cue: cupcakes. Cue: open-faced peach and custard tarts. Cue: brownies with cherries and coconut. Cue: Butter. Sugar. Flour. Eggs. Bake, NDM. Bake like the wind!

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The other day, K-Chef – the Kenwood Chef Mixer that had once belonged to my paternal grandmother and had been my almost daily indulgence for the past three years – suddenly stopped working. Just like that.

After an hour of trying to fix it, my husband came out of his workshop-slash-surgery and gently told me that K-Chef might not make it. His jaw set grimly, he went back in to give it one last shot. 

To distract myself, I hit Twitter big time with the following series of “tweets” (Yes, I’m so flippin’ hip):

09:13 –  RIP Kenwood Chef. A lot of good times, a lot of good cupcakes. 

09:15 – Arguably too many cupcakes. It was the cupcakes that was its undoing in the end. Still, good times. 

09:17 – Maybe Kenwood will send me a new one for free… I could change that apron design to “Can’t. Stop. Cupcaking… With My Kenwood Chef!”

09:18 – Or I could just change it to “Will Advertise Here for Free in Exchange for Goods.”

It was at this point that my husband came back inside to break The Bad News and my frivolity was washed away in a flood of tears that surprised everyone, especially me. 

Mr Justice ran over to give me a big hug. As he looked up at me, he, too, had tears in his eyes (which would come as no surprise to those readers who remember the”Goodbye old friend!” picture he drew in remembrance of a piece of star-shaped plastic – see “The Cupboard Rarely Opened“) and he asked “Is this is the only thing you had to remember your grandmother?”

“As if!” my husband couldn’t help but exclaim, no doubt thinking of the many times he’s tried to throw away things like a cracked tupperware container only to have me clutch it to my chest and sob “It was my grandmother’s!”. 

“No, sweetheart.” I admitted. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Not that holding onto cracked tupperware is a problem, right? 

“Did you have a granny, mum?” The Pixie asked. 

“Yes, I had three actually. But they have all died now.” I replied. 

“Well, you can share mine.” she kindly offered.

“Thanks, sweetheart,” I said, and burst into tears again. My K-Chef, with all its little cracks and flaws (including the fact it had ceased to mix at any other speed than turbo-jet fast), was gone and it was Just Too Much. I had liked the thought every time I used it that my grandmother had turned that very same dial in the sacred act of baking – it connected me to her, although I suspect she would advise me to use more recipes involving butter and to throw in a heap more salt.

Now, my husband, for all his little cracks and flaws (all two of them), understands me. You see he knows about the Chocolate Eclair. My grandfather always bought me bags and bags of chocolate eclair sweets to the point I thought I’d never get through them all. And then one day, some months after his death, I came down to the very last one and I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it.  I have subsequently put that small gold-foil covered sweet in a special place as a kind of “Break Glass And Eat Sweet in Case of Emergency” setup. It’s good to know it’s there when the shit really goes down.

And so that husband of mine has taken the K-Chef dial off the machine and plans to mount it on a nice piece of wood in the kitchen so I can reach out and give it a twiddle whenever I feel the urge. Who knows, it may even become some kind of mood barometer for the rest of the family (“Don’t go in the kitchen right now, Tiddles. Mummy just turned the K-Chef dial up to 8…”) and thus reduce the need to ever eat that Chocolate Eclair at all. 

Anyway, good-bye K-Chef. Good-bye Old Friend. Your dial will live on…

And just in case anyone from Kenwood happens to be reading:

cupcakeapron_kchef

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Beneath the Mild-Mannered Lawyer’s mild-mannered exterior lies the heart of a Shit-Stirrer. I began to realise this when I received unsolicited facebook messages from her entitled “Rival Cake Maker”, detailing a certain gorilla birthday cake she had seen at a party, along with cupcakes dotted with green sprinkles and with little plastic jungle animals for the children to keep. 

“[The maker of the gorilla cake] said she bought a gorilla cake-mould. Is that cheating?” asked the MML, all wide-eyed innocence. 

“The use of moulds is definitely cheating,” I wrote back, all the while knowing that the one time I tried to use a mould the whole cake collapsed in on itself. “And as for plastic jungle animals, that’s just trying to buy the children’s love. Pah!”

Pah, indeed. 

Now, I never claim to be much of a cake decorator, although it’s something I enjoy doing and seem to do a lot of. Like a lot a lot. However, my friends The Fabulous Miss Jones and the Suburban Diva are far more accomplished than I. Whenever I am faced with Miss Jones’ icing roses (where every petal has been carefully hand-crafted) or the Diva’s glorious mint-leafed mermaid tail, I always think “Shop Quality”. My cakes fall (crumble?) more in the “Home-Made-With-Love” category, particularly with my last-minute-super-freak-out-patch-up jobs using marshmallows and M&Ms (see “The NDM Guide to Decorating Birthday Cakes” for examples). 

In any case, having a “birthday cake rival” would suggest that I looked upon the Birthday Cake Arts as a competitive sport. And we all know that I don’t have a competitive bone in my body. No, no. Not me. Anyone who has ever read my blog and been pressured to sign up for an email subscription purely to increase my stats will know that. 

And so, I tried to erase the image of this alleged gorilla cake masterpiece and its accompanying cupcakes from my mind and get on with my life as a Wife, Mother and Rabid Monkey Blogger.

But then last weekend, I was just sitting around, minding my own business and obsessively checking my blog stats, when I got another NDM-baiting email from the Mild-Mannered Lawyer – this time with a photo of a Wall*E cake made by yet another of her (obviously numerous) cake-making friends. No message. Just letting the picture do the talking. And let me tell you, them’s definitely fighting words. You see, the MML knows full well that I, too, have attempted the WALL*E cake – it was the “It” Cake for 2008, after all.

So what are you playing at here, MML? Is it a good old-fashioned Cake-Off that you want? Is it?? Well, (mild-mannered) lady, you got it. I’ve subsequently gone and created the first Official “Not Drowning, Mothering” Reader’s Poll. And you’ve only got yourself to blame. 

But hang on one dog-darn moment! Before anyone rushes ahead and votes, you should consider the following:

  • one of the following cakes was made for a child not of the cake-maker’s loins and done for the price of an afternoon’s babysitting of two of her three children and a half-price haircut;
  • one of the following cakes actually resembles the WALL*E character, whereas the other is based loosely on some cartoon version drawn by some non-Pixar-affiliated artist and randomly found via google images;
  • both of the following cakes were no doubt made with blood, sweat and tears – but considering the bladder control issues of one of the cake-makers, urine was possibly involved as well in the  making of one of them.

Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest…. let the people choose cake!

cakeoff

Two cakes, one choice: You. Decide.

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