When You Need Some Aid in the Kitchen (#300)

For more than a decade, our Labor Day weekend has been marked by intense kitchen rivalry, thanks to the neighborhood cooking contest.

Andy trounced everyone for years—until he got tired of me micro-managing the presentation of his savory entries and told me to make my own dish. I did, and he was sorry after I crushed him and our whole neighborhood with my baked goods. Two years ago, Andy staged a comeback and walloped me. Last year, we tied.

Some of Andy’s doughnuts.

This year was looking to be a showdown. Andy spent quarantine mastering everything from French bread to homemade doughnuts, prepping for a possible assault on my baking territory.

There have been casualties:

My waistline.

An immolated dish towel.

A burn mark on our supposedly unburnable granite kitchen counter.

But worst of all?

My beloved Kitchen Aid.

Decades ago, I turned in my baking beaters for the smallest white Kitchen Aid on the market. The Kitchen Aid (KA for short) was big enough to mix dough for 5 dozen cookies, but not so loud you couldn’t talk over him.

KA in the background, holding more ganache for piping onto the six-hour cake.

KA was a work horse during baking season, churning out pumpkin cheesecakes and maple cream pies at Thanksgiving, followed by Andy’s six-hour birthday cake and over a thousand Christmas cookies. When Andy and I remodeled our kitchen, I had the cabinet maker design a special pull out drawer for my baby.

Then came Andy’s bread making obsession.

When I bake bread, I don’t use KA. I get a better feel for the dough and have more success kneading by hand.

My husband, however, believes in the dough hook.

Andy doing doughnuts with the cursed dough hook.

Unfortunately, he turned his back on bread hook one time too many, with perhaps one cup flour too many. The thickening dough created resistance. KA struggled and heaved…

…and rocked his way off the counter, crashing onto the kitchen floor.

Our tiny house reverberated with the impact.

I ran into the kitchen.

Andy lifted KA back up to the counter, bleating, “I, I, I just turned my back for a second and it fell off the counter!”

As if poor KA had a mind of his own and did it on purpose, rather than Andy not paying proper attention or filling KA’s mixing bowl too full.

Andy plugged KA back in and turned him on. KA churned slowly, groaning and wheezing.

“It still works,” Andy insisted triumphantly, because Andy hates spending money and Kitchen Aids are not cheap. “I mean, maybe not like before, but it’s been having trouble recently, and it’s old…”

Reader, I did not say a word.

Instead, I examined the five-inch dent/ divot that now existed in the kitchen floor and left the room.

Because I knew if I said a single syllable, I would be unable to stop until I pointed out every single mistake that had led to Andy nearly murdering my mixer and our kitchen floor and perhaps I might throw something at him.


We had a heatwave not long after The Incident. Baking went on hiatus because no one wanted to turn on the oven. But the early heatwave morphed into a very cool summer. I pulled out KA to make chocolate chip cookies.

KA could barely cream butter, gurgling and grinding slowly.

“Oh my God,” I told Andy. “These are his death throes. You murdered him!”

“I did not! I told you he wasn’t running well even before he jumped off the counter—”

“You shoved your baguette dough down his throat until you killed him! MURDERER!”

“I did not—”

“Oh, no, do not even start! What do we tell Baby D when he breaks something and tries to shift the blame?!”

“But I—”

From the living room, a voice yelled, “You broke Mom’s toy! Take responsibility, Dad!”

Andy made a face. Then he looked at my face and promptly looked at the floor. “Sorry.”

Baby D yelled, “Sorry for what, Dad?”

“I’m sorry I broke your Kitchen Aid, honey.”

“I don’t hear you identifying and admitting your mistake!” Baby D called out, with no small amount of relish.

Andy gritted out, “I’m sorry that I wasn’t careful or paying attention and I broke your Kitchen Aid.”

“And how are you going to make amends, Dad?!” Baby D shouted gleefully.

Welcome, KA 2.0.

Ironically, the neighborhood cooking contest was canceled this year due to the pandemic. Andy sacrificed KA for nothing. 

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

15 thoughts on “When You Need Some Aid in the Kitchen (#300)”

  1. I’m surprised Andy didn’t go the suicide angle. KA was clearly feeling depressed by all that hard work without so much as a cooking contest to show for it and just couldn’t bear to continue living, so he took a leap.

    Baby D’s running commentary was the best part.

    1. I see you have extensive experience with creative excuses. Does…does Tara actually buy into them?!

      What’s hilarious and humbling about having a child is hearing your own advice parroted back at you, verbatim. The kid even said, “There! Was that so hard?” when grading amends were made.

  2. I swear by KA too! I have an old $$ one I bought in the 70s and it’s still going strong but I don’t overfill it. I also have one of the first Cuisinart food processors that came out but it should be replaced. I don’t use it much so my “Andy miser gene” kicks in. I recently bought a KA heavy duty blender. OMG! I can’t believe I put up with cheap blenders that leave everything lumpy. Sorry about your competition but the best part of this story is Baby D. I love that he has figured out a way to use what he had heard many times!

    1. I bet your KA is awesome. The new one holds a lot more, but I kind of hate it because it’s not as easy to lock the bowl in place and you can’t tip the motor back to fill the bowl.

      Andy did get a Vitamix blender last year, which is AMAZING when it comes to ice-crushing and smoothies. Expensive AF, though. KA 2.0 was way cheaper.

      It’s very galling to hear one’s parental admonishments coming out of your child’s mouth. Although hearing the swear words is worse?

  3. Haha, I have a KA, and it’s been around forever. Don’t know what I’d do without it!

    Yay, Baby D, hey he’s been listening!

  4. Baby D’s education is amazing!

    A few years ago I got rid of my KA. I used to love to bake. But I live alone, and if I have baked goods around the house I’ll eat them. So instead I buy my cake by the slice and my cookies in the smallest packages. Unfortunately, we don’t have a good bakery in town. A couple of the supermarkets have some good stuff, though.

    1. Well, Baby D is very good at telling other people how o apologize, but doing it graciously himself is quite another story.

      I bake a lot less than I used to–I mean, 65 cookies is great when you’re making snacks for an entire soccer team or a party, but there are only 3 of us stuck in the house right now.

  5. It does sound a bit like the old KA was tired of living, haha. Weird that Andy wants to use a machine for kneading, doing it by hand is strangely relaxing. Although I don’t knead much at all, I always just leave the dough to work on itself overnight hahaha.

  6. I’m so impressed by the baking done in your house! The photo of that chocolate cake… had me drooling on my keyboard. I won’t lie. Looks better than the stuff at my bakeries.

    Poor KA. He had a good run!! How does the new KA hold up? With the new KA, you’ll win next year for sure!

    And btw, love Baby D’s comments to Andy (I assume they’re verbatim? haha)

    1. New KA is on probation. I kind of hate it, actually– not as easy to move and maneuver. Maybe it will come into it’s own during cookie season.

      Baby D lives to instruct his parents, especially when he can parrot their own words back at them. (Some of those words are obscenities, unfortunately.)

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