The gunmetal gray KitchenAid stand mixer was a mainstay in Stella Parks’s baking life. It came into focus for her when she was 10. Already a budding baker, Parks recalls reading a chocolate cake recipe in “Cooks Illustrated” that mentioned using a stand mixer. “That KitchenAid saw me through my entire childhood and into culinary school, and even into some of my professional forays,” said Parks, who went on to become a pastry chef, a James Beard-award winning cookbook author and an editor at the food site Serious Eats. Like all the things we take for granted, her mixer eventually faded into the periphery. Parks moved on to newer models, and her old kitchen companion ended up stashed away with her parents out in the country in central Kentucky. Five years ago, the mixer reappeared in Parks’ life. She spotted it as she pulled into her parent’s home, on the curb, out with the garbage. “It was like I saw the family dog shot in the driveway,” Parks said. The KitchenAid stand mixer has fulfilled many roles in its near-century of existence: status symbol, badge of culinary skill, wedding registry must-have. Stand mixers aren’t unique to KitchenAid. Plenty of other brands make some version of an electric mixer mounted to a frame. Many are cheaper than KitchenAid’s models, which will set you back at least $200. And let’s be honest: A home baker could probably make do without a KitchenAid on their countertop. So what makes this product so special? I… [Read full story]
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