Aug 7, 2010

A few of my favorite things

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things"

Ahhh yes.  Bright copper kettles and brown paper packages...a few of my favorite things, too.

I have been officially in the market for a few new pieces of cookware for a while now.  My current set is almost 15 years old and I've had to toss a few pieces along the way. The remaining pieces consist of a large saute pan (it's held up well to constant use, but the non-stick coating is starting to get scruffy) and a couple of saucepans and stockpot, also starting to show their age.  My favorite stockpot is a hand-me-down stainless number; it has lost one of its handles.  My lone skillet (a gift from younger son a few years ago) is also starting to show signs of wear and tear.  I think it's time.  And I'm ready to graduate to stainless.

Yesterday, I spotted and began immediately coveting a big All-Clad saute pan at Williams-Sonoma.  (Okay, yes. To be honest, I heart almost everything W-S sells.  Doesn't everybody?)   Fortunately I had the girl along and she dragged me out of the store before I did anything rash and foolish.

Here's where my current infatuation with beautiful cookware meets reality:  just how many saute pans and skillets do I really need, and how big do they really need to be?  It's one thing to lust after a full cadre of skillets and saute pans, but let's be serious.  I've managed to cook for my crew with just 2 or 3 skillets, a handful of saucepans and one big saute pan over the years.  Does it really make sense to expand my ensemble when I'm scaling back the quantity of food I'm serving?  Will my cooking improve if I use these pans?  Quite frankly, that single All-Clad saute pan retails for more than I've spent on skillets and saucepans our entire married life.

Practicality took over: I've read reviews and compared several high-end cookware lines against each other.  I scoped out eBay and several cooking sites to figure out the going rate for All-Clad, Caphalon, and Cuisinart.   

And...then I marched over to Amazon and placed an order for this Cuisinart 5.5 quart saute pan.  I've had a Cuisinart saucepan for a couple years, and it is my favorite saucepan ever.  The Multiclad line got good reviews, even when stacked up against All-Clad.

But then Amazon did what Amazon does best:  it immediately began showing me additional items I "might" like, including a set of Cuisinart Multiclad skillets, saucepans and a new stockpot with steamer insert, plus lids.  All for a very low price - about 60% off list.  (About the same price as one full-price All-Clad from Williams-Sonoma.)  AND free shipping.

Soooo...of course I caved into temptation.  There is more than a little irony here:  I will have the best and biggest set of cookware I have ever possessed, and use it to cook for an ever-dwindling crowd of regular diners.

I can rationalize this purchase in two ways:  one, today is our "when we met" anniversary.  Exactly 28 years ago, I laid my eyes on the cutest boy I had ever seen.  He made my heart go pitter-pat, and my pitter-pat go booga-wooga.  (He still does.)  I figure my well-timed purchase lets him off the hook for a gift - I couldn't be more delighted with my gift and he didn't have to worry about what to get me.  I'll be giddy with excitement (if not surprise) when the UPS guy drops it off next week. 

And since I had a gob of Amazon rewards points, it cost me $6 and change.  I think I'll be humming "Favorite Things" until my brown paper packages show up next week.

P.S. To a couple of my favorite people in the whole world: I hope the cruise was wonderful and you have a safe trip home! Can't wait to see the pictures!!!
Seattle:  60 and rainy.  KC 94 and dry.