From Training Bras to Stand Mixers

I remember walking through Macy’s with my mom when I was very young. I was small and everything looked so big. We’d walk through the home section, admire all the different kinds of china and I’d run my hands along the edge of waffle weave tablecloths. And there was this mysterious high shelf with sparkling white appliances that I was just too short to get a good glimpse of. Ah, things were simple then.

As I got a little older my mom and I would walk past the kitchen section on our way to visit the dreaded Macy’s bra department. Not only did I have to start shopping for bras at least two years before all of my friends, but I had to do it at Macy’s…where old women bought their frumpy bras. By the time the pre-teen approved Limited Too started selling fun girly bras, I couldn’t even wear them because I had grown out of their sizes. I hated this. I had to keep going to Macy’s. I hated Macy’s. At least I got to walk past the kitchen section, which each year got brighter and brighter. I started seeing china and tablecloths in my favorite colors and patterns. And because I was tall now, I could see the shelf of kitchen appliances that magically turned into a rainbow of Kitchen Aid mixers. I was ten years old and had no use for a giant stand mixer. But they called to me. With their perfect design and bright colors. Apple red, blue, copper, butter yellow, orange. If only the Macy’s bra section was as cute as those mixers. Admiring them from afar almost made the trip to the bra department tolerable. Almost.

Since those moments walking past the small appliances in Macy’s, my mom and I always joked about Kitchen Aid stand mixers. In high school I’d adorably whine about how much I wanted one. She would laugh and brush it off by telling me that she would get me one when I got married. By the time I got to college I still hated bra shopping (really that’s a whole different epic story of my life) but did I start to love baking. She bought me a light pink Kitchen Aid hand mixer for Christmas in 2007 and it changed my life. I became super college girl baker. As I got more serious about baking, even if it just was a delicious and fun hobby, I would adorably whine a little more about how much I wanted one. Every trip to Williams Sonoma, every episode of the Barefoot Contessa…same story. I wanted one soooo bad. But I was in college. In very tiny dorm rooms. It wouldn’t make sense. She would laugh and brush it off by saying that she would get me one when I got engaged or when I moved into my first big girl kitchen. The idea of owning a stand mixer was getting closer and closer – it was dangling right in front of me. I could only dream of the day my mother would present me with my very own. (Sometimes it was more exciting to think about than the idea of the mandatory marriage, engagement or house I had to find first.) It would be a rite a passage, a glorious accomplishment.

So fast forward to this spring. These are the things in play: I’m baking several times a week. I’m blogging and tweeting about my cupcakes and brownies and frostings and more cupcakes. My hand mixer beaters are starting to warp. Pantone announces that the color of the year is Honeysuckle (my favorite color right after dark plum) and everyone starts jumping on the hot pink bandwagon. And then my parents give me a Williams Sonoma gift card for my birthday.

It took a brilliant, very long and persuasive conversation by my boyfriend to get me to even start thinking of buying a stand mixer for myself. But once he planted the seed, then I couldn’t get it out my head. I love tradition and it’s difficult to get me to sway from rituals and plans, so I felt very strongly that I had to get my mom’s approval. I would be ruining the plan that she promised to me for so many years. But I should have known I was being ridiculous because of course it was a 30-second conversation and she thought it was a no-brainer.

So yesterday I bought my very own, grown up, real deal Kitchen Aid stand mixer in Raspberry Ice. Yes, it’s just an appliance. Yes, it cost me only $200.00. It’s nothing. Except it’s everything. It means growing up and investment and independence and the future. And while it’s absolutely beautiful and everything I’ve ever dreamed of since my pre-teen bra shopping days – I’m terribly intimidated by it. As I’m writing this, sitting on my couch, I keep on peering into my kitchen and glancing at it from far away. It’s so regal and important. Even the whimsical pink shimmery coat isn’t helping. There’s a glowing halo of high-pitched “aahhh” around it. I’m too young for it. Too small for it. (Exactly how I felt about the Macy’s bra department at ten years old….)

But it’s here. At the end of my kitchen. Waiting for me. Waiting for me to grow up, take a chance, bake a cake…

hot pink stand mixer

15 thoughts on “From Training Bras to Stand Mixers

  1. foodwanderings

    Aww Nikki such a well written post, and yes you were right on twitter, it will all make sense:). Congratulations, this is epic! Once you break it in you will see it’s not as intimidating. I even started kneading dough in it and found out baking bread is really easy!

  2. Adam

    So many things to like about this post where to begin… a machine to facilitate more baking possibly for your friends in DC? eh eh WIN. A Barefoot Contessa ref?! What great taste you and other such followers of Ina have! WIN. And a coming of age tale that rivals that of all but perhaps Holden Caulfield. WIN WIN WIN.

    Great read N!

  3. Ashley

    Sooo happy for you! Lovely, beautiful post. Maybe we can get my red Kitchen Aid Mixer over for a date.

  4. MJ

    LOVE! Love, love, love. Makes me want to get a new one. Plus, I adore the post. Postponing happiness should never be an option. Go for it! (And invite me over for cupcakes!)

  5. Chelsea


    This was wonderfully and beautifully written. It reminded me of A Homemade Life. I never liked cooking until about a year ago, but Kitchen Aid mixer is an icon that reminds me of my childhood spent eating all the delicious food prepared by my mom and sister. I kinda want one, too… ;-)


  6. Nina

    LOVED this post! My mom and I have been going back and forth on the Kitchen Aid mixer for years as well! Too funny. Enjoy- great color choice!

  7. ppinciotti

    When does one come of age? How is family and food intertwined in that growing process? How do mother’s and daughter’s continue to link those special experiences that connect them again and again? As a mother, the one referred to in the article, I always tried to stay ahead of Nikki’s growing curve to make here “coming of age” events memorable and start her down a new path. How many requests for pierced ears in middle school …. and then a summer visit from cousins made the “let’s do it now” a shared memory between cousins. Much the same way as a William Sonoma gift certificate to a wonderful daughter who is carving a life out of words and pantry items paved the way for a new coming of age event. An opportunity; a choice. We continue to provide the ingredients to afford opportunities for making life decisions. These affordances can lay the stones for a new path…that is coming of age! I hope you can bring it home for Christmas, so I can continue to learn from you….my amazing daughter. (Sorry for all the stone, path references…but we just returned from Italy!) Ciao

  8. Sarah

    What a sweet post to which I can completely relate! Although unlike you, I have yet to make the jump and buy my own Kitchen Aid for myself. But wait–is that another one I see in the background in red?

  9. Pingback: » First Mixer Cake Nikki Rappaport

  10. tishey

    don’t get me wrong, i love to bake. but one of my favorite uses of my mixer is to shred chicken. i used to spend so much time shredding it with a fork and now it takes 30 seconds!

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