Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Jan. 21, 2015 - 6:30 p.m.

KitchenAid Kunundrum

Warning: Food geekery ahead. I recommend skipping it.

I was on Craigslist the other day looking for a food strainer attachment for my KitchenAid K5SS stand mixer, so I could make baby food for NewWifey(tm) and her new bestie diverticulitis. But the first ad that popped up was from someone selling an entire KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer for $40. According to the time stamp, the seller only posted the ad 8 minutes before I saw it. I immediately wrote him a terse: "I WANT THAT FUCKING ARTISAN!!"

He immediately wrote back: "Come get it."

I showed up at his house the next day (it was amazingly right on my way home from work) and practically threw the 2 twenty's at him.

This is the story he told me....

His mom gave him the mixer 10 - 12 years ago, but he never used it since he doesn't cook. At all. Now he's moving across the country for work, and he doesn't want to lug it along. He just wants the cast iron monstrosity (as he called it) gone. This was not a kid, by the way. He looked to be in his late 50's or so, and nicely dressed. He said he was a hospital administrator.

Now here's the thing: when I opened up the box, an official KitchenAid Artisan box with the words "KitchenAid Artisan" in massive font over the photo of an even more massive KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer...I pulled out an "Ultra Power" model stand mixer.

What the hell? Was he trying to pull a fast one, selling me a lesser model but having me think I was getting an Artisan because it was in an Artisan box? But if so, why only 40 dollars? Even used Ultra Power models go - rapidly - for 3 times that much.

The guy had never even opened the box. I - we - think what happened was his mom got a new Artisan, and she gave him her old one in the only box she had available. He just assumed she gave him what it said on the box.

It looked in very good shape. There was a bit of crusted batter here and there on the body, but otherwise it was blemish free. The bowl, along with the beater/whisk/dough hook, all looked like they'd never been used. We plugged it in and I ran it for a while to make sure it didn't smell like it was burning, and it hummed along nicely. I decided for 40 bucks, even if it wasn't an Artisan it was still a very good deal.

I really did want the Artisan. It has a 5 quart bowl, compared to the Ultra Power's 4.5 quarts. And it has 325 watts vs. 300. Plus - a biggie - the attachments are physically larger. You can knead a double batch of bread dough in an Artisan, but not with the U.P.'s smaller C-hook.

I already, as I mentioned, have a K5SS. If you're not familiar with it...it's big. I got it new in 2000, but you wouldn't know it if I gave it to you. The thing looks, and cooks, like brand new - and I don't baby the thing by any means. I mean, I put it through its paces on a regular basis. With its deep 5-quart bowl it can easily knead a triple batch of bread dough, and the lift head keeps the entire unit rock stable - more than the tilt heads I've used previously. It is a dream at Thanksgiving because I can whip an entire 5-lb. bag of potatoes in it, and it doesn't even grunt. It's on par with any food service Hobart I ever used during my chef years.

The problem? The K5SS doesn't do small batches. The bowl is rather flat bottomed, which leaves a gap between the pointy bottom of the whisk attachment (particularly) and the inside wall of the bowl. The beater attachment also suffers from this, although not quite as much. This means if I put one egg in, or a half a cup of heavy cream, and use the whisk attachment, nothing - and I mean nothing - happens. I've raised the bowl with the adjustment screw to where it *just about* scrapes the attachments, but no dice. The yolk doesn't even break on the egg, as the whirling whisk just pushes the entire thing around the perimeter. The beater is only marginally better, breaking the yolk but not beating it well. And forget about a small amount of whipped cream.

The Ultra Power, with its tapered bowl bottom that hugs the whisk right down to the end, whipped a single egg to a light yellow homogenized liquid in seconds. Seconds!

So here's my dilemma:

My K5SS is great at big stuff, but not small stuff.

The Ultra Power is great at small stuff, but not big stuff.

I need both.

I don't have room for both *cough*accordingtoNewWifey(tm)*cough*.

So my plan is, or rather, was, up until a few hours ago: sell both on Craigslist and get a new Artisan. I'm sure the combined total would cover it.

My friend just got a new Artisan last week and paid $200. It's 5-quart, has the larger sized attachments, has the same 325 watt motor as my K5SS, and has a tapered bowl in which we whipped up a single egg and a quarter cup of cream for whipped cream (we tested it).


In doing some online stand mixer perusing today, I noticed an awful lot of people opining that the latest batches of KA's, including the Artisans, are being made much more cheaply with plastic gear housings and other cost-cutting no-no's, and as such aren't as reliable or durable as units being made just 5 or 10 years ago.

What to do, what to do.

If only the two I have were the same color. I could hide one and swap it out whenever I needed it, and wifey would be none the wiser.....

Ok, that's it. I just needed to type out loud here, hoping it might give me some insight or direction.

Of course, it didn't. I'm waffling about this just like I do everything else. I'd ask for your opinion in the Notes section but WE APPARENTLY STILL DON'T HAVE A NOTES SECTION I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'VE NOTICED. Not that it bothers me.

Of course, if you DO have an opinion about KitchenAid stand mixers - specifically: is it worth trading two older and very reliable models for a single one that combines the best features of both but possibly at the cost of reliability - you can always e-mail me. Hit me up at: notepad101 (at) h o t m a i l (dot com). I'll probably dismiss your advice out of hand, but I enjoy getting mail nonetheless.





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