Sunday, May 31, 2009

A bowlful of history

I recently acquired my great-grandmother's Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

I'm not sure when she got it and it only has the one attachment still and it's a little bit beat up, but I love it. My great-grandmother (better known as Grandma Hailstone) passed away in March 2005. I had the awesome honour of eulogizing her, which was pretty special, but even better was inheriting first many of her knitting supplies and now her stand mixer.

Grandma Hailstone was a fantastic cook, but it was her baking that really got the family going. She made the greatest pastry ever (seriously, the greatest ever and I am still trying to perfect the recipe [which I am not allowed to EVER share, else my branch of the family tree will be lopped off]), which would become the best butter tarts ever. And her doughnuts were just the thing with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

When I was younger, there was a Farmer's Market every Saturday morning that Grandma Hailstone would go to and she would take a large carafe of coffee and trays of her butter tarts, doughnuts and cookies and she would sell them to friends, family and other locals. Of course, she didn't have a license or any of that nonsensical paperwork that one would need if one was anywhere other than outside-of-small-town Ontario. I remember going to the Farmer's Market as a child and buying a dozen butter tarts from Grandma Hailstone, then going back to her place for a visit and having her serve us more butter tarts to go with our tea.

When I look at the stand mixer, I think about all the wonderful things she must have made with it. All the time she must have spent in her kitchen, making the pumpkin pies we would eat at Thanksgiving and the shortbread we would have at Christmas. I try to live my life without regrets, but one thing I do regret is never visiting Grandma Hailstone and baking with her. I would love to know what her recipe secrets were, how she added a pinch of this or a dash of that to make something extra special.

Even though I missed out on that, at least now I can do my own baking and strive to one day be as good as she was.


wildphoenix 袁婉君 said...

Yay, you got your great-grandmother's mixer! Sorry it took so long, I realize me having a stand mixer was a bit of a road block to you actually aquiring it. I'm sure you can get the other attachments and they'll fit. The only other one I've used to far is the paddle - I have yet to attempt anything that required a dough hook. Happy baking!!! =)

Paronomaniac said...

Considering the number of times I used your mixer (i.e. zero), I wasn't exactly in dire need of one, but I'm just happy it's sitting on a kitchen counter and not a bedroom floor. I just hope my baking skills do it justice!