God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Can You Wear a Crock Pot?

Of course not. Who would ask such a question?

I really would not have asked this question 30, 20 10 years ago. My all-knowing spouse and other family members would have made it unnecessary. They all knew that loving gifts did not include something belonging in the kitchen. Gifts that demonstrated caring did not come in boxes sealed with packing tape and industrial size staples. Proper caring, love based gifts were in order: unexpected treasures, clothes, jewelry, books and other well-thought out expressions of appreciation of me.

Gifts that packed a function were verboten. It took just one, maybe two years, of serious threat to marital bliss for this point to be indelibly made. Can openers, automatic hot dog cookers, electric skillets (do these still exist?), vacuum cleaners—anything that implied labor or work did not qualify as a gift—after all, how romantic is a veg-o-matic?

Over time, Ken became a pretty good personal shopper. As the years passed, fewer and fewer gifts necessity hitting after Christmas sales to exchange for something I liked or that fit or was the right color. As his fashion awareness matured, he began to do a pretty good job, particularly after discovering Nordstrom.

Now something bizarre has taken place. I want, must have, obsess over sharp Japanese knives, stew pots, zesters with different degrees of zesting potential, panini makers and the perfect spatula.

Additionally, there is no way I want someone else to buy clothes for me. Since I can't find anything I like, how could someone else? I have a very definite sense of my personal fashion persona but fashion has changed and nothing works anymore. At times I think that it may be my age that has changed but why should that matter? I don't feel any differently than I did a few decades ago.

So it is fortuitous that I have joined the cooking era where what used to be seen as drudgery has become creative challenge. Chopping garlic is soothing, balsamic reduction is heavenly, the perfect ragu is always the next time away, perusing cook books fascinates and "eating in" is not so bad. Shopping at William Sonoma, Sur La Table and Bed, Bath and Beyond is more fun than trying on clothes-- on most days.

Tonight we had simply marvelous Braised Short Ribs with Egg Noodles. I did them right, far better than I would have in the past. Simple food, prepared so well—and they will be even better tomorrow after resting. Good-Good-Good.


Judith in Umbria said...

Heheheh... another one gives in.

nancyhol said...

Jane, you have matured - just like me! I love kitchen gifts now!

barb cabot said...

Oh this is a funny post that really hit home. One of the very first xmas's that Mike and I celebrated was a disastrous gift choice on his part. For months I had been lamenting about the damn toaster so guess what he gave me that xmas. You guessed it and even though I'm not known to be so vocal about a gift I gave him a lesson on appliances. If I want a toaster we go out and buy a toaster we don't give it as a xmas gift. He looked so hurt poor guy as the thoughtfulness was there. He said, "Well I'm sorry but I thought you'd be really happy since you kept saying we need a new one!" Men, poor things. They need an education. Now as you say things have turned around. If he says what do you want I can come up with a list of things and none of them include anything personal. Women, we are just so hard to understand. That's our job to confuse them!