By Raleigh-Elizabeth.

There are few things in this world I need as much as I need my arms and legs. Air, of course. Butter. Sunshine, a good book, and my best friend. My best friend, the stand mixer.

You might think it strange to proclaim an inanimate object a best friend. In fact, my actual best friend might agree with you, but I have a feeling she could be swayed into understanding by the love and absolute devotion she feels for her own stand mixer. And if you have one too, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Maybe it’s a slight exaggeration, but when it comes to arms and legs in my actual kitchen, my stand mixer is doing at least half the work all the time. And that’s because your stand mixer isn’t just another kitchen appliance. It’s your other half. You rely on it for all manner of household miracles, kitchen spectaculars, and dull daily chores that you quite honestly don’t have the time (or inclination) to do without it.

Here are things I honestly cannot do without my stand mixer:

1) Make a fancy french baguette loaf every week without spending three hours losing my mind to the bread making process.
2) Make homemade pasta. On weeknights. As a last-minute dinner idea.
3) Grind my own meat for sausages.
4) Stuff my own sausages.
5) Beat eggs into submission.
6) Make meringue in a minute, buttercream without blinking, churn my own butter in a hurry. (And yes, it’s particularly good if you’re a compound butter person.)

Here are things I cannot pretend to do without my stand mixer:

1) Be an awesome baker. (I’m actually quite middling.)
2) Claim my kitchen looks reasonably presentable. (Don’t look at the mess, look at the pretty stand mixer!)
3) Bring obnoxiously nice homemade presents to friends’ homes as hostess gifts. (“I just whipped you up this homemade orange bourbon butter and brought along an epi loaf made with T55 flour I imported from France. It’s no trouble, really.”)
4) Win friends, influence people, be a domestic goddess.

Without my stand mixer, I would have to give up all hope of ever becoming a domestic goddess. And it’s important to go through life with goals. Once you have a stand mixer, you start seeing yourself that way.  Domestic goddess? Reasonable life goal! You have no idea what you did without it.

Did I bake baguettes before? Yes, and the whole kneading process not only made my kitchen a mess, but it generally drove me half crazy. Did I whip egg whites into submission? Sort of, but I’ll be frank that my hand mixer never really achieved a “firm peak.” Ever. And when it came to making mashed potatoes, let’s just say that I decided lumpy was very en vogue.

And then I got a stand mixer, and life as I knew it ceased to exist. The world was suddenly full of rainbows, unicorns, and delicious baked goods I actually made myself.

It doesn’t even matter which brand you use. I adore my KitchenAid, but think the Cuisinart one with its smartly-shapped bowl is also a brilliant acquisition. And if someone had shown me a reasonably priced, less-expensive model made by Brand X, I would have jumped at that ages ago. It’s not about brand name. It’s about performance. And maybe also prettiness. And this time of year, it’s the only reason my kitchen moves along at the jingle-jangly pace the season requires.

Do you really need a stand mixer? Do I? I got by once, I know. But that was Before. And now — like my arms, legs, butter, sunshine, and a really good book — I simply cannot imagine life without it.

Which color KitchenAid is your favorite?