Cooking with Betsy: the Hobart

Dusty with generations of flour, my grandmother’s 73-year old Hobart mixer sits proudly on our kitchen counter, alongside a few rolling pins and assorted glass jars of semolina, masa and whole wheat flours. She is the grande dame of the kitchen, presiding over every conversation. She’s a workhorse, a Godsend and a dependable friend to every woman in our family who lived for cooking and eating, like I do.

The Hobart used to be battleship gray, but my husband had it spray painted fire engine red at his auto repair shop for my birthday about a decade ago. (He scored major points for that move!) The only thing that has ever been replaced or repaired is the power cord.

She’s got a 3-speed transmission and the heart of a lion. The hum of that motor brings back every childhood memory of cookies baking, holiday preparations, with Betsy and her mother chattering away in the kitchen together. The rhythmic hum of the agitator is a musical tribute to the women before me, who tied on their aprons and went to work in their kitchens, day after day.

Here at K2.0, we decided to splurge on the KitchenAid pasta attachment for the Hobart. It arrived by FedEx yesterday at 2pm, and by 2:15, the Hobart was humming.

The process looks like this: (scroll through photos)

We made a double batch of cracker dough because we have family coming this weekend for the holiday. We know they will gobble them up with salsa and homemade hummus. Whole wheat flour, water, oil, pinch of salt and sugar. We added 4 teaspoons of Everything But the Salt seasoning because of the amazing flavor it lends to the crisps.

The key is to get the dough as thin as possible, and with the new attachment, it was effortless! Start the dough off on the #2 setting. Run it through on each consecutive setting, until it gets to 5. Cut it in half lengthwise with the pizza cutter. Dredge it through a smattering of flour on the counter each time, and run through settings 6-8.

By the time it goes through #8, it’s translucent and gorgeous. Lay it on the parchment paper covered sheet pan, and cut into squares with the pizza cutter. 5 minutes at 450º is all it takes! I made enough to fill two and a half 32oz. mason jars. At approximately 50 crisps per sheet pan, we made over 500 crisps yesterday out of 3 cups of flour.

As soon as you remove them from the oven, turn them out onto the counter. Separate them from each other to cool and crisp up even further. By the time the next batch comes out of the oven, the previous batch will be cooled off. Just sweep them off to the side. Pretty soon, you’ll have a pile of crisps like this:

And all the while, the Hobart hummed away, never faltering … just doing its thing, and singing the sweet, rhythmic song of generations past. I never feel closer to my sweet mama and grandmother than when I pull the Hobart away from the corner and snap that bowl into place.

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