I want a new stock pot.
My mother never had time to teach me to cook, and I never had time to learn in college, so my first meals as a bride were godawful, which offended my sense of achievement. So at twenty-one, I decided to learn to cook, and by the end of the year, I was really good at it. Then we were stationed someplace permanently, I went back to work, and I let those skills slip. Cooking seriously was so far off my mind the Bad Wolf didn’t even comment. Well, he had a lot of other things to chew on. But now that I’m putting together the cottage kitchen (small) that I want on the cheap, I am suddenly cooking again, and the Bad Wolf has returned, licking his chops.
The first thing he got me on was the deplorable state of my kitchen. There are boxes in there that I step over every day, have been stepping over since February, and every time I do, the Bad Wolf says, “For the love of God, put that away.” But I can’t because I don’t have my kitchen built; that is, I don’t have all the shelves put in yet where that stuff will go. So I have to build the shelves, but there have been other more pressing things–winterizing the windows so I don’t freeze, grading, writing, getting the outside stuff cleaned up before it ices in place–so no shelves and lots of boxes with Bad-Wolf-Chewed corners.
But this week, I realized there may have been some method in my mess. When you have very little storage, the things you use tend to end up on whatever countertop you have. And that means that you know exactly what you use and what you don’t. So this week, I told the Bad Wolf to shut up, pulled everything off my two existing shelves and moved the stuff that was on the counter down onto them. It was amazing how little I needed, although the rest of the stuff is now sitting on top of the boxes I’ve been climbing over. But it also brought me to the second thing the Bad Wolf hit me with.
As a result of all this cooking and experimenting and thinking about my future kitchen, I’ve realized I need a new stock pot because my current cheapo is too small; it holds about four quarts which is ridiculous. But to replace it with a good quality larger version is not cheap. And now that I’m back to serious cooking again, I crave good quality. I crave the Multipot.
That’s when the Bad Wolf chimes in with, “Who are you kidding? You don’t need expensive cookware, you’re a hack, half the time what you make doesn’t turn out, this is a phase, just make do, you can’t afford it anyway.”
I’ve been here before with that bastard: “Just buy cheap paint, who do you think you are, Georgia O’Keefe?” “You don’t need a faster computer, all you do is type anyway, stop being such a spendthrift.” “Why would you buy a real dress form? You’re no seamstress. Get over yourself.” The thing that gets me when I think about these messages is that underlying every one of them is “You don’t deserve good tools because you’re just an amateur.”
That’s ridiculous. Good tools make good work easier, the same way good materials–good yarn, beautiful fabric, fresh ingredients–help make for a good outcome. It’s not indulgent to buy good tools and then take care of them; they’ll last for years, definitely longer than I will.
More than that, there’s nothing wrong with being an amateur. Amateur does not equal “bad;” it equals “unpaid.” Amateur means you’re doing what you do for love not money. How the hell could that mean you deserve less? The Bad Wolf, as usual, is criminally wrong.
Which is what I told the Good Wolf, who said, “Williams Sonoma has 20% off plus free shipping. And they have a bay leaf wreath. Also we need a pot big enough to make stock for gravy because stock is the lifeblood of cooking and gravy is the lifeblood of life. Go for it.”
So I’m going to. I was planning on justifying it by promising myself that I’d use any Christmas money I got to pay for it, but I think that’s pandering to the Bad Wolf. I think what I need to say is “I deserve good tools to do good work. It doesn’t matter that I’m not Ina Garten, I am still worthy of good pots and pans. And a bay leaf wreath.” So I’m going for it, and if the Bad Wolf gives me any grief, I’m marinating him in pinot noir, bay leaf and garlic and then stewing him in a medium oven for two and a half hours. Then I’m feeding him to the dogs.
Meanwhile, the Good Wolf and I will make gravy in the stock pot we deserve.