June 6, 2011

My Kitchen Aid, a Chocolate Cake and James' Birthday

At one point, a Kitchen Aid symbolized everything I thought I'd miss and sacrifice by migrating across the world. 
The frosting, almost done.
I never owned a Kitchen Aid back in the States, nor did my mom have one in the house when I grew up.  But at some point I began to covet a Kitchen Aid. I knew that one day, when I had a lifestyle that didn't involve fitting everything into a backpack on a regular basis, I would get one and bake beautiful goodies in the kitchen with flair.  Just like Martha, I would effortlessly create baked goods that were at once delicious and pretty.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about cooking and baking and do enjoy doing it.  Semi-settled into our Dunedin, New Zealand home, now with far more than I could fit in a backpack, I started looking for a Kitchen Aid. They didn't seem to be available in New Zealand at all, but then I did find some. For the bargain basement price of about $1000.  Just $850 on sale!!! I thought about bringing one back from America (where they are about $250) but they, 1-weigh a ton and 2-can't be plugged in here.  Over time, I became a bit devastated about the stupid Kitchen Aid. I quietly, steadily over-reacted, internalizing this as a sign that my life was never going to look quite like I imagined; it was going to be different in a million little ways just like this -- and sometimes it's the little things that seem to matter so much.

Same ingredients, but the packaging will look quite different to non-New Zealanders!

This recipe calls for Dutch chocolate, which I could also find here in the International foods aisle.  This is a different brand than the one I used to find in the states. It wasn't quite as dark. But still very yummy and not overly sweet.

Butter comes in one big block - 500 grams. So when the recipe calls for 1/2 pound of butter, I get out the scales!
A cup is not a cup, nor a teaspoon a teaspoon!  The words are the same but the amounts are slightly different. When baking from an American recipe, I use American measuring cups and spoons.
And then one day I came home and there was a Kitchen Aid on my counter top.  I gasped and ran out back to the garage where James (or course) was.  He was with my sister-in-law who is also American and was living with us for a short stint.  I asked her quickly, "Is that your Kitchen Aid?"  She looked confused. "What's a Kitchen Aid?" (Obviously a Kitchen Aid is not part of every American's image of domestic bliss.) So I looked at James. And he just smiled and looked at the ground.  "How did you do it?" I asked. "Is it mine? Can I have it, can I use it? Can we keep it?"

So the story unfolded... He saw an ad in the paper when looking for something else: "American Kitchen Aid for sale with power transformer - $50."  My husband thought 2 things at once: "I have to get that for Molly" and "Wow, that transformer is worth more than $50!"  (He is an electrician after all).  So he called immediately and raced to get the Kitchen Aid from the person's home, apparently just barely beating another interested person out of it.  I have eternally felt sorry for that other person who, I imagine, is a slightly homesick and somewhat shell-shocked American baker-type.  The person selling it was an American man. His family brought a Kitchen Aid and transformer over to his Kiwi wife.  It had sat unused on their countertop for years and now they just wanted it out of the way.

The Kitchen Aid, plugged into its transformer.


This weekend I used my American Kitchen Aid to make an Alaskan recipe for chocolate cake for my Kiwi husband's birthday.  My Kitchen Aid symbolizes that with a little luck, and help from my husband, I can combine both my worlds and both my homes and always have a little bit of here when I'm there and there when I'm here. 

And I can make a serious chocolate cake.

Now, one question... Do other women's husbands do things like this to get attention when you are baking? 

Happy, er, uh-hum, THIRTY-FIRST birthday, James.


  1. Ooooh, I totally relate :-) I know that we have shared about our "Kitchen-Aid Envy" before between blog posts, and it's so true! They do represent a certain something, and yes, they're ridiculously expensive over here! But maybe someday...

    I'm so glad that you have yours, and happy birthday to your hubby!

  2. I am just moving to Auckland in about seven weeks. We have been contemplating a crate coming over AND I have been contemplating bringing my Kitchen Aid! Now, I am sold!! So, if the crate happens, my Kitchen Aid will be in it! Now to find a company to handle a small crate to New Zealand!! Thank you!!