Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mine, all mine

Or: I'm a little embarrassed.

Earlier this week talk on ITFF turned to baby showers, mainly "what food to serve" and "does everyone else hate that silly game where they melt candy bars in a diaper (to simulate poo) and you have to guess what candy bar it was?"

Well, talk also turned to bridal showers and my comment was, in this day and age, I was happier buying presents for baby showers than for bridal showers, because babies are clearly expensive and requiring of a lot of new gear, but the whole marriage situation has changed in the past 30-40 years. Rarely - at least, among my set - is a couple marrying straight out of high school (or even straight out of college) and needing the goods to set up housekeeping. Usually at least one, if not both, members have been out on their own for a few years, and have some stuff already. And also: any more, it's less common for one member (in the past, typically, the woman) to quit working upon marriage.

(I know someone whose mother was "secretly married" for a few years because in those days - the 50s - and the place she was at, it was expected a nurse quit her job upon marriage. I guess when the first pregnancy was confirmed she had to come clean and quit, but yeah - you don't see women expected to quit working any more)

So both members of the couple are likely gainfully employed, and can afford to buy what they want. And, I remarked, in some cases, each member of the couple earned more money than I do.

And I get it, I get it: a bridal-shower gift is about wishing the couple well in their new life. But it does rankle me when I look at a 'registry' and the cheapest thing on there is $70. Especially when both members of the couple make more in a year than I do.

And I mentioned the saga of my Revere Ware Pans. I got a set of these, I think my mom or my dad bought them for me, in 1988 when I moved into my first college apartment. (I was still using the towels and sheets I bought upon moving into the dorm, and my dishes were a loaner set of Buffalo China from a friend).

Anyway, I used them for a few years, then moved back in with my parents while in graduate school. So I loaned them (emphasis on LOAN) to my brother.

And then, he got married. They got lots of nice gifts, including a set of pans better than the Revere Ware ones. Then I got a job and moved here. So I asked for my pans back. It was actually a bit of a fight to GET them back, despite my supposedly having been clear they were a LOAN. (I never did get the frypan back).

So I was using them: two saucepans, a four-quart dutch oven, I think the top of the double boiler is also somewhere.

Then I burned rice in the dutch oven. And this happened before all the budget cut stuff hit the fan, and I felt like I had to economize. I didn't replace the Dutch oven; I tried to get the rice out by scrubbing or boiling vinegar in it or combining vinegar and baking soda or using Bon Ami, or, or, or. The stupid rice wouldn't come out. And I felt bad and bunged the thing back to the back of the cabinet. I thought of replacing it, but by all that's right and good, I'm 46 and I feel like the days of $20 pots that are too thin and burn your stuff or that have handles that fall off are behind me. So I tried a restaurant-supply house: nothing. I went to the local gourmet shop and learned that apparently there is a bimodal choice of pans out there: the cheaply made stuff for $20, or the nice All-Clad type stuff for close to $200 a pan.

Woecakes. At that point I had dug in my heels ("No more wire hangers cheap Wal-mart junk!") but also felt way too skint to buy a $200 pan. (especially after the sink replacement and tree trimming).

So I complained about it and pointed out how it was sort of symbolic: my brother marries and gets all kinds of goodies. I don't manage to snag a husband and am stuck using pans from 1988 or buying my own or asking for them for Christmas (and no, I don't think anyone in my family would buy me a $200 pan. That's TOO MUCH)

So anyway. I was trying to de-gunk it again, because when I made the sweet potatoes for church Sunday, I wound up having to cook them in two separate saucepans because neither one was big enough.

Well, then, today, a box comes for me from Amazon. At work. I was baffled at first - I didn't order anything! And our budget is slashed so far I wouldn't get anything from my equipment wishlist for the lab! was a Cuisinart 4 quart dutch oven....someone or someones on ITFF took pity on me and ordered it for me. (And like I said, now I'm slightly embarrassed. I shouldn't have griped so much and I really hope it wasn't a "Maybe now she'll shut up about the stupid pan" thing. And yeah, I probably could have afforded a mid-range new pan, just not a $200 one. I'm sure this one isn't, though it is a very nice pan).

But yeah, I'm happy to have it but I take things like this as a reminder that I need to whine a little less.

1 comment:

purlewe said...

a) I think that is AWESOME. I completely agree that it is embarassing, but also unbelieveably sweet. How wonderful that someone cares for you in your community that they sent you a gift.

b) another idea for cleaning your pan. try boiling tomato juice or soup in it. something cheap tomato-y that you can pour down the drain. (ie don't worry about sodium content) I once gave up on a pan and had to do something with tomatoes and I was shocked how clean that pan got (after I had really given up on it.)

c) I hate registries that don't have a full range of price points. I made sure we had things from $10-$100 and many many people gave us gift certs for where we were registered and combined they equalled the biggest price point on our registry. I recently had to choose something for some friends and they CHEAPEST thing was $90 and I was appalled. I wish more people realized that not everyone can afford things that expensive. (The worst was a few yrs ago. The CHEAPEST thing on her registry was $250. I sent her a $30 amazon gift card instead of that. I was so furious. She had bought a $30 pot for us but was insisting on nothing less thatn $250 was ridiculous.)