eeebay. On the whole I enjoy looking on the online auction site and have bagged quite a few bargains – the Kenwood Chefette is a perfect example – just what I wanted, at a reasonable price from a helpful and communicative seller. However during the last couple of weeks I’ve been very disappointed by the attitude of a seller and the lack of action by the auction site. Just before I bid on the Chefette I saw the holy grail of mixers, an Ankarsrun Assistent for sale with a low starting price. I bid on it and put a reasonable maximum bid in rather than continually bidding up but soon noticed that an other bidder – we’ll call him Mr X – was bidding in small amounts up to my maximum then when I added one more bid he added another. At that point I gave up as I’d bid to my limit. When the sale ended Mr X was the winner but didn’t complete the purchase so I was offered a Second Chance bid, I suggested to the seller that I would offer the amount I’d bid before Mr X started pushing the price up. They refused so the item wasn’t sold. What I didn’t mention was that Mr X only seems to bid on items from this seller and had apparently bought a mixer from them only a few weeks before after a very similar bidding pattern suggesting that Mr X may well be shill bidding ie inflating the price of goods for a friend (the seller). I sent my thoughts to the auction site but heard nothing from them.
The mixer went on sale again, same low starting price, a couple of bids then Mr X began bidding the price up yet again – from £2 to over £100 in a matter of less than an hour. The auction is due to end tonight and again Mr X is the high bidder with another unsuspecting soul as the next highest so I imagine at the end of the auction Mr X will win, opt out and another second chance will be offered at a price well above what it would be without Mr X’s bidding. I have contacted the auction site again – not because I want to win the item (with such devious bidding going on between seller and Mr X, I suspect that the item may not be all it’s said to be and I certainly don’t intend giving them any of my hard earned cash) but because such auctions only work if there is honesty between sellers and buyers and it is up to the site owners to take action against such fraudulent practices.
So if you are looking for an Assistent Original Mixer be very wary of buying one from an online auction and watch the behaviour of other bidders if you do before committing yourself to an inflated price.
After a lovely morning drinking tea and eating drop scones and chatting with a friend I was about to make some lunch when there was a loud knock on the front door. The Postie was there with a big box in his arms – yes, the Chefette had arrived. It was well packed in shredded newspaper and bubble wrap and needed only a quick wash / wipe before it was ready to use. It is white with navy trimmings – very smart. The first ones were an “attractive” battleship grey and white and later models were either cream and orange or beige and brown, very 70’s, but the a340 model was white and navy so it doesn’t look as dated as some. It is 46 years old so I plugged it in with some doubts that it would work but was soon reassured by the spinning of the beaters that all was well. The only slight damage is to the liquidiser which has a chip out of the base and a crack in the top neither of which will affect its use. The Pyrex bowl is perfect, not a chip or crack to be seen. A quick look in the fridge found the ingredients for a Victoria Sponge and I was soon putting the light fluffy mixture into the tin. Is it any better than a hand mixed cake? To be brutally honest it looks very similar but it is certainly quicker to make. I think the machine be most useful for making meringues and royal icing as beating egg whites by hand makes my arm ache and the liquidiser will be good for making soups. That said, I absolutely love it and it is small enough to sit on the worktop (covered by its own little Kenwood Chefette cover) all the time without getting in the way.
I’m still looking for the perfect mixer, as I wrote a while ago I would love an Ankarsrum Assistent but the UK distributor does not have anywhere other than London where I could go and examine one and I don’t plan to spend that much money without seeing and touching one. In the meantime I’ve been scouring the Internet looking for a handheld mixer which can also be used on a stand due to the fact that problems with my circulation mean that holding a mixer for any length of time while it is running makes my fingers tingle in a nasty way. Kenwood make a hand mixer with a stand but looks a flimsy. There are a couple of other makes which are either equally flimsy looking or ludicrously over priced for the power of the mixer. I love the k-Mix hand mixer but it is heavy and there is no stand available. I love even more the k-Mix stand mixer in the crazy purple stripey Oyster Cove colour which (fortunately for my bank balance) is out of stock everywhere other than South Africa.
In despair I’d been muttering about my mum’s Kenwood Chefette, the height of sophistication in the 60’s when it was bought for her by the Gadget Queen herself – my Auntie Jeanne. Auntie Jeanne loved food and cooking (which may have had something to do with her ample girth) and particularly loved gadgets. On a trip to Edinburgh once she apparently spent hours in a shop looking for a gadget – when asked what she was looking for said she didn’t know she just wanted a new gadget. Anyway I digress, she bought Mum one of the first Kenwood Chefettes and as a child I was very very impressed by it. It had its own stand, a liquidiser and a lovely white Pyrex bowl (later models had brown smoked glass and then brown plastic!) The mixer could be tipped back to remove the beaters from the bowl, even if the mixer was still running however this splattered cake mixture up the kitchen walls (don’t ask!), or the whole mixer could be lifted off to use in a different bowl or to stand on its end and attach the liquidiser to the front to make wonderful foamy milkshakes -the only way I could be persuaded to drink milk. I looked them up on the Internet and lo and behold there were some slightly later models for sale on ebay. I bid on a wonderful boxed set which had never been used but was sniped at the last minute then found a less pristine one and bid on that. I won the auction and am now waiting impatiently for my lovely Chefette to arrive. The seller assures me it works perfectly so I’m very hopeful and even if it doesn’t I will have a very nice white Pyrex mixing bowl for roughly the cost of few cups of coffee at Starbucks!
PS my Auntie Jeanne sadly died in her early 30s, she left me a tin of pennies for the penny arcade at the seaside (scandalising the family since gambling of any kind was frowned upon), a love of both cooking and sewing and some very happy memories of a larger than life individual who made the best of a difficult life, she had rheumatic fever as a child which damaged her heart irreparably. She lived in a tiny cottage on the sea front at Anstruther and when we visited would take me paddling across the bay to the penny arcades and the fish and chip shop. On the return trip she would wash her hands in the sea in the hope that her sister in law (my mum) wouldn’t notice the smell of chips on her fingers.