He’s an old guy (very old, in fact. Probably older than both our ages combined). Made in USA, specifically, by Hobart. A Kitchenaid K5-A, in a creamy yellow (a tad faded, but maybe once upon a time he was Majestic Yellow!).
It’s quite remarkable that he wandered his way into our lives, ever since that fateful day when K saw him battered and looking slightly worse for wear, on the ground in the local secondhand market, with his price tag scrawled on his yellow paint in blue marker ink.
I’d admit, I wasn’t impressed when I first met him. On top of the various scrapes he’d suffered, the voltage wasn’t compatible with the UK, and the plug had already oxidised into a menacing dark green. We walked away, but I couldn’t get him out of my head. I’d always wanted a Kitchenaid, having used a small handheld mixer or a basic whisk my entire life, but was slightly put off by the condition and the voltage problem. It wasn’t worth a shot, I thought. I’ll just wait for the next sale.
Something bugged me, though. The word “Hobart” stared out from the sideband, and I was certain that it meant something. I didn’t take note of the model number either, but it was a bowl-lift model that was much bigger than the Artisan tilt-head.
So, like any other technology-dependent person out there, I Googled “Hobart Kitchenaid”. It’s possibly one of the best decisions I’d made in a while, because it confirmed that what I just saw was a true rarity. A gem. A vintage Kitchenaid made by Hobart (who’d originally owned the company), and from what I read, it was created some 40 over years ago, and was the true staple of the American kitchen. A workhorse. And on top of that, it was also possible to remedy the voltage problem through the use of a transformer that was commercially available! Within 5 minutes. K flew out of the door on his bike (to the market, to check if it was still there), and I was trembling at the excitement of owning such a precious piece of history.
Of course, there was the possibility that he would not work, due to old age, rust, and whatnot. Thankfully, the owners of the secondhand store gave us a charmingly handwritten guarantee when we handed over the quid. If it didn’t work- we had a week to return him. Subsequently, a trip to a downtown electronics store meant that we had the much-needed transformer (Charlie’s life-support, we joke).
Plugging him in, I held my breath.
Then, with a low purr, he sprang to life.
No sounds of rusty components, or broken gears, but just pure mechanical power, whirring like a well-oiled sewing machine. I’m so certain I teared.
With a not-so-little clean up, and a slight scrubbing by the resident DIY-man, Charlie’s now proudly perched on the counter, and I still can’t believe it. He’s already churned out batches of bread, choux pastry, mashed potatoes, homemade butter and ice cream, and works so well. I like to imagine that he used to belong to a charming old lady with cotton-candy white hair, who baked victoria sponges every weekend. He’s Charlie, well, because, he looks like a Charlie, and is very Charlie-esque (oh, my imagination…).
We’re honoured to have you in our lives, Charlie! May we bake great things together.