Saturday, August 16, 2008

The official end of summer

For the past few years, the official end of summer at my house is not a holiday but "Book Rush" at the bookstore. It is two to three weeks of chaos and frenzy followed by time on the sofa watching DVD's (or napping)!

In the past, this is how I earned my money to purchase items on my Priority List. This year the income will go to food and gasoline. Now that is what I call a priority. :)

Part of the paycheck from the last Book Rush went to the purchase of new cookware. Kathleen asked for a reminder of what I had purchased. It is quite difficult to believe I've had them for six months now! I LOVE them! After thirty-four years of keeping house, I am convinced owning good quality cookware (knives, etc.) is necessary to enjoy the process of cooking. I've cooked with cheap cookware and that is when food gets burned easily.

I had budgeted to purchase a complete set of Wolfgang Puck cookware on sale (my daughter likes her Wolfgang Puck set and I have an omelet pan of his, purchased at Goodwill, that works great). However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what I needed was not in the set. Here is what I ended up buying: 1 Cuisinart 12" skillet; one Cuisinart 12" saute pan with lid; and I purchased on sale... one All Clad large saucepan. I could only afford it because it was one of the kitchen store's specials that month for about $90.00. They later told me they put one All Clad product at a great sale price each month.

The Cuisinart pans are made for the home cook rather than the restaurant chef but I find mine work very well. The 12" skillet and 12" saute pan are the best to purchase since they are nice and big. That was the reason I decided against getting a set of anything, none of them came with a 12" pan (at least at the time). I didn't want the nonstick interior and as long as I've sprayed them with something like Pam or poured a little oil on the bottom, I've never had anything stick. I can also saute items or add other ingredients and then pop it all in the oven. For the three items, I paid what I brought home from one week's work at the bookstore. Money well earned...

What can I say about All Clad? There's a reason that is the choice of professional chefs throughout this county. It's simply wonderful to work with. (Same with Henckle and Wusthof knives). I have heard, though, that a lot of professional chefs buy inexpensive omelet pans with a nonstick finish because they get beat up quickly regardless of price. I can see that as in my own home, with just three of us, we go through omelet pans and have to replace them every few years. Although, the Wolfgang Puck omelet pan that I found at Goodwill is holding up great.

My other cookware item that I use all the time, every day in cold weather, is my ancient Le' Cruset dutch oven. It's chipped now and the outside discolored but it still works fine. It was a gift for my 10th anniversary (yes, we just celebrated our 34th year).

Kathleen, I hope that answers your question! :)

I also hope you all had a chance to click on some of the links at the end of my previous post about my Scrapbook Journal. They will take you to many lovely pictures to inspire you to put together your own. My original scrapbook is about eight years old and I love to get it out and look through the pictures when I need something beautiful to think about. I don't actually write in it, it is all magazine pictures and poetry I've printed out. My scrapbook journal is fairly new. I find I write in it a lot some weeks and then set it aside for others. At least when I want to write in it, it is ready.

Picture: Under the Sunflowers by Robert Duncan;


Iva said...

I love my Wolfgang Puck set! I think the neatest thing about it (besides its ease of cleaning) is that it's oven safe. Makes dinner making sooo much easier.

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

Oh, absolutely....good quality cookware, knives, etc. do make a lot of difference in the kitchen. Though they are expensive, they are a wise investment. When I think back over how many cheap frying pans I've bought over the years......I could have purchased a beautiful All-Clad twice over! Ah, but I've my mom's wonderful cast iron now! My mom purchased an expensive set of pots and pans for me when I was about 10. I am still using those pots every single day after 30 years of marriage. Just wish I had one more 3 1/2 quart sauce pan! ;-)

freetobeme - Anita said...

How nice to have a job for only a couple of weeks, fall & spring. I think it would be a nice change of scenery & folks to talk to. I'm sure you get tired but just knowing it's only for two weeks must make it okay.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Yes, that is how I can handle it.

I always figure I can do anything for a couple of weeks and the reward is a paycheck!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Not sure, but I think I just saw Wolfgang Puck cookware at T J Maxx. Usually T J Maxx prices are more "fair" than another store's sales price I've found. I wish we had a really good knife but they are so so expensive.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Brenda - thank you so much for giving me some great and detailed advice. I'm not a great cook but am getting inspired to try new things and invest in quality cookware. I'm tired of buying the same non-stick stuff over and over.

I recently moved to HI from Colorado Springs and found you on the Clarkson's blogs. I've enjoyed your blog for 8 months now. I never blogged before but after moving here, things were slow in connecting with others and I found blogging helped ease a case of homesickness. I have found 4 or 5 blogs I absolutely enjoy; yours being one of them. I always look forward to checking in with you! -Kathleen

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe it's been a year since you last worked at the bookstore as school was starting.
Where DID the time go?

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I wonder that myself. :)