Saturday, May 13, 2006

an excuse to brag about all the great bargains I've gotten at garage sales.

My husband and I are pretty picky about food. True, we were raised in the 60's, so we have an unfortunate taste for crap with lots of grease and salt which we indulge to unfortunate excess. However we both cook and cook quite well indeed, and we both know how real food is supposed to look and taste. Now that might sound odd, but really, if more people knew how much of what they pay for at restaurants came prepared and prepackaged from a food service I wonder if they'd be so enthusiastic about the menu prices.

Well, that's another rant.

Our kitchen is pretty well equipped. My shining star is a beautiful Henckles santoku I got for Christmas last year, which will slice through into another space time continuum if you don't excercise due caution. I am in love with it. Absolutely worth the price (LOTS. I went online and snooped because I am actually Gladys Kravitz and without shame.)

Up until a few years ago we actually kept separate utensils, like a kosher kitchen. The Yummy Biker had his (crappy, substandard, wrong) set and I had my (wonderful, state of the art, correct) set. I would not cook in aluminum or Teflon or use plastic or wood - steel, Pyrex and iron were the ONLY MATERIALS ALLOWED TO TOUCH MY FOOD. He, on the other hand, would just eat off any old crap! I mean, aluminum? Please? Hello? Have a heaping helping of Alzheimers? And I won't even go into Teflon.

Things have since been integrated. Of course now I use an aluminum Teflon frying pan. (Sometimes.) I am going to hell.

We watch food programs and critique the chef's technique. Our daughters boyfriend thought we were nuts because we all sat around as a family watching Great Chefs going 'Ooo, look at his knife cuts! Poetry! Now look at that ganache, is that perfection or what? No! Don't deglaze those shallots with red wine! No!!!" And he was right, pretty much.

One of our favorite things to do is to visit kitchen supply stores to fantasy shop and sneer at things. We long for a Viking glass fronted commercial refrigerator. We turn up our noses at magnetic induction cooktops. A separate unit must always be used for frozen food storage. Convection microwaves are viewed with suspicion. Gas is the lord god of all cooking operations and it is the pinnacle towards which we yearn. We make do with an electric stove in the meantime.

Our house came with an appliance bonus since the former owners had used the existing oven to fire pottery or manufacture crack or something and melted it. Really. Off we trotted to DeWard and Bode's appliance center and back we came with a top of the line electric stove. All kinds of functions, and all run by computer chip! Wow! Of course there was no light in the oven and no window in the door, but hey.

The first big lightning storm we had the chip blew. Nothing...And I mean NOTHING, not the cooktop, not the oven, not the timer, NOTHING would work. Replacement cost for the chip? 300.00 cocksucking dollars more than we paid for the fucking unit originally.

We ended up going to my favorite place to shop, the town of Lynden and it's well-trained consumer clones. Picked up a BRAND NEW 1970's stove that someone had bought and then stored because it didn't match the kitchen ( why not just return it? Why, because it was THEIRS!!!) paid 73.00 for it, took off the tags, gave a quick wipe, and been cooking on it ever since. When it puked an element I got a new one the same day for 30.00. Plus it has a light and a window.

This is why we use a 1960 waffle iron (also brand new, Lynden, unwanted bridal gift that was stored, built to survive a nuclear incident) and a 1922 Pyrex percolator (brand new, Lynden, unwanted bridal gift, stored) and All Clad steel pans (1990's, Lynden, owner bought brand new without realizing they couldn't be used on his magnetic induction stove, stored unused) 1970's crockpot (unwanted bridal gift, Lynden, stored unused)....I had a stolen blender that lasted me for close to 20 years that I bought from a wino. When that finally went to the big appliance showroom in the sky I bought a brand new 1955 chrome blender, built to withstand the rigors of whitewater rafting sans raft with 2 speeds (instant liquid death and flying whirlwind of instant liquid death.... Also from Lynden, also an unwanted bridal gift, stored.) I have two Cuisinarts, one in use, one waiting. (A new Cuisinart is worth the price, as long as you get the restaurant model.) The one in waiting? I got for free. Guess where. Guess why?
It had been used.


  1. With a kitchen like that, it's a pleasure to pop by. Nice to be here at last ...


    Glad to see someone else use the word aluminum instead of that crazy spelling aluminIum.

  3. That's supposed to be an upper-case i in the aluninim... looks like an L. Oh well.

  4. well dang! welcome, blind flaneur!
    stop by any time. i do homemade bread once a week. tonight is shrimp and shallots in beurre blanc! bring some of that wine you had.
    natemare: alloo minny um *snerk* yeah. where i come from they pronounce it 'loomimum' so maybe i shouldnt cast stones, though.

  5. Lynden?! Aaaaaa!!! Are you talking Lynden, town of windmills? Do they still broadcast church muzak down the main street from atop the stores on the main street? I felt like I was in a low-budget sci-fi horror flick. Night of the Living Dead meets Stepford Wives. Having said that, I'm on my way down for the next batch of yard sales. What's your best price?

  6. You want cooking??

    Just give me a dead animal and an open fire.

  7. I love a good cooking utensil , my mum used to work for a surgical suppliers and used to get all sorts of horrible implements to use in the all time favourite was the autopsy skull cracking mallet used to tenderise steaks (yuk)....TV chefs some are great some are so feckin annoying my all time fave is Nigella Lawson .I am not sure if you still get her shows over there as they were dropped by the us networks at one point for being and I quote 'Gastro Porn' , I think it was Nigella dressed in her silk pyjama's enjoying a late night snack with melted mozerella dribbling off her chin that did it - lol
    She's a minx

  8. mj: yes! it's all true! omg, you know then! every time i see someone there with out of state plates i feel like apologizing to them. eeeeek!
    SID: how are you with possum?
    beast: your mother is cool! as for NL, never seen her, heard LOTS about her on the cooking websites, though.

  9. Beast, you're correct entirely about Ms Lawson. Teasing us all with her food porn. But it's still a lot more pleasant to watch that Rick Stein. On different subject, can someone explain what a waffle iron is? I don't know if we don't have them this side of the atlantic or is I'm just ignorant...

  10. A waffle iron is an iron for ironing ones waffles before waffling them. Don't mention it, Corin.
    Sorry FN, that was a bit rude of me - jumping in there.
    But not as bloody rude as all those ungrateful brides with their unwanted gifts. I mean, really!
    Glad you gave them a nice home though.

  11. corin: a waffle iron is a heavy blunt object used for disciplining the indecisive.
    no, its an appliance that bakes a sort of pancake batter to have little square indents pressed into it. good for catching high calorie toppings!
    ara: not at all. and as for those brides, i think it wasnt so much ingratitude as cowardice. and I reap the benefit!

  12. I love the Bewitched reference. :)

  13. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Holy freaking cow on the bargains.

    The All-Clad! Heart stopped just a little!

  14. sfb: abner! look! come look! look what they're doing now! abner!
    whinger: thats just what mine did. i had to pull my wallet out of my pocket to get the blood flowing properly again.

  15. ..I'd just like to say that I no longer date the Foodie Phillistine Retard.
    Geeeeeze, ma.

  16. hey, i was giving him points. i LIKED that one.
    GEEZE, kid!

  17. Heh, my Granny had a chopping board that she had for twenty five years until she put her knife right through it. By then it was a kind of dish with extra flat bits and this wafer thin bit of wood between her and the floor.
    And the knife that she used was about a hundred years old too, and had a curved blade that you only had to look at to cut yourself on. She keeps it in a draw in a sheath of paper from the seventies.
    'Nuff said.

  18. All too familiar with Lynden! :O) Your assessment is so right on. I have read MJ’s blog and I think that is how I stumbled onto yours. It is great. And I am incredibly jealous of your kitchen collection. I am a kitchen utensil junkie!