Feb 26, 2007

Ms. Hitachi B. Machine, 1995-2007

I got her in 1995, the summer I moved to Virginia to start a teaching job. A bread machine was perhaps a strange thing for a single woman to buy, and I'm not sure what I was thinking, but . . . whatever. She made good bread every so often. When I got married to John in 1997 I took her with me, but she did not get used for a whole year. Just as I was contemplating giving her away, I used her again and didn't really ever stop. We took her with us when we moved to our second house and used her every day, almost, after Jack was born and then Will. Having babies makes you hungry for carbs. And every time my Indiana In-laws came to help, of course they needed to eat bread.

Life was good for Ms. Hitachi B. Machine for many years. She had a position of honor in our household and didn't mind making the same oat bread forever, and the same pizza dough, and never any quickbreads. (You might as well make quickbreads the normal way.) Her glory years were the Swarthmore years, making sandwich bread for Will and Jack's lunches, and pizza dough for the Friday night pizza ritual.

But one day I was browsing at the upscale kitchen store, W-S, and a shiny new stainless steel bread machine caught my eye. She had a convection oven, many more settings, including "artisan," and this one called my name, almost audibly. "Lauren. I'm Q. Z. Nart. Take me home!" Looking back, my big mistake was talking about this machine in front of Ms. H. B and saying things like "Our bread machine doesn't have near that number of settings." Or, in a moment of desparation, "Don't you think our bread machine has gotten noisier?" John was the one to actually say out loud what I was thinking: "We've had this bread machine a very long time. If you find one that you'd really like, why not get a new one?" And I'd murmur, "Oh, no, I'd wait until this one dies."

One night shortly after that, at 2:10 AM, I heard the crash. I knew it was Ms. H. B. Machine right away, even in my grogginess. I took my time walking downstairs, getting slippers and turning the hall light on. Because I knew. That it would be too late.

There she was, lying on her side, door akimbo, a blob of dough flung two feet away from her, just under the range. I picked her up gently. Her door wouldn't close and a plastic corner had sheared off. I sighed. I brushed off the blob of dough and put it in a plastic container, to deal with the morning. I had heard dark rumors of such things, of bread machines moving around the counter during the kneading stage, and actually flinging themselves off the edge. However, this had never happened in 12 years. How strange that it should happen now. Or perhaps I had "accidentally" left her too close to the edge? My sadness is tinged with guilt. A little.

To prove how totally heartless I am, we already have a new Ms. Q.Z. Nart. She is shiny and beautiful, and makes delicious bread. All's fair in love, war, and kitchen gadgets.


M-j said...

I am jealous. I saw that very bread machine at W-S last time and just drooled over it. Of course, we do not eat too much bread. I also want to get the KA stand mixer...just to have.

Amy said...

I've had 2 bread machines meet the same fate as Ms. Hitachi. I recently thought about purchasing a new bread machine, but the noise of bread machine hitting ceramic tile still haunts me.

Plus, where does one keep all these useful kitchen gadgets? C's showtime rotisierre oven (yes, the one from Ron Popiele) takes up half a cabinet!

Lucy T said...

Chuckle Chuckle. Great writing . . made me chuckle (can you tell?) I enjoyed that story so much I want to buy a bread machine to go along with my low carb diet. If I gain weight, it is a result of reading this story. Blog often.

BOSSY said...

Bossy lives in fear that her best friend Oscar will meet similar fate. A boyfriend long gone purchased Oscar for Bossy when she was only nineteen. The fact that Bossy wanted a miniature food processor at the age of nineteen is an entirely different comment saved for a different day.

But Oscar was cute - very. Off-white and stumpy, there was nothing he couldn't obliterate. In tiny cup-size increments. One tedious batch at a time.

And often over the years Bossy would think perhaps she deserved one of those big fancy pants food processors that produce more than one chopped peanut at a time, but then she would reflect on her faithful Oscar and recoil -- which is really just short for: she faints at the Cuisinart price tag.

Anjali said...

Have you set up a memorial fund where we can donate packages of yeast? Have you scattered her (bread crumb) ashes?

Lilian said...

I love Anjali's comment ;)

This made me LOL... your writing is just so great it makes me envious... :)

Our bread machine (a cheap one) didn't commit suicide (yet), but it does need a new bucket, since the part that attaches to the kneading blade is loose. I've always placed it quite at the edge of the counter. I've seen it "jump around" before, but I'd never considered the possibility of it jumping to its death. Now I'll be ever more careful!!