Nothing like a few kitchen utensils to cheer you up!

I, once again, have not had the best of days today. I’ve been kinda in a blue funk about various things and I have been feeling really queasy and crappy for large parts of the day.. Meaning that I’ve spent most of the day hiding under the covers or sulking to myself in a corner.. It’s not a very productive way of spending the day, I admit, but there you go.. Sometimes you’ve just got to take a break, hide from everything and give your poor head a rest.

Things improved significantly from about 3:30 PM and onwards. I started feeling a lot better physically and I also spent some time chatting with Tina which, as I’ve mentioned earlier, has a strange way of cheering me up.. Oh, and I had presents which also helped in cheering me up. What presents, you say? Well, see, my birthday is in less than a week – next Wednesday to be exact – and my dad and his wife will be away at that time, so my dad dropped by with my presents last night.. And, uhh, while I know I wasn’t supposed to open them for another week, my will wasn’t very strong and I didn’t have Louise around this year to threaten to kick my ass if I did.. So, well, there you go..

And they were good presents, too! My dad had apparently once again done his homework and read up on my current obsessions – that and he just has a way of hitting things spot on from time to time. Either way, their present contained three beers for my newly founded beer cellar, well two, really, since one was a Belgian Wit which I don’t suppose will age well.. But still looks nice. The others were a potent Belgian of some sort and a Danish microbrew which I thought looked particularly interesting; a Chili Tripel. Which I can only guess is inspired by the Belgian Tripel style and has chili added.. Two of my favorite things in a single bottle? I’ll be looking forward to sampling that with Tina one day.

It’s funny, really, I was watching this local news segment about the brewery responsible for the beer, and it mentioned this particular brew to which I was like “Oooh, I’d love to try me some of that!” and not two hours later, my dad shows up with, amongst other things, that particular beer.. Good timing, dad, I applaud you!

Their present also contained a book about Belgian beer which I’m also looking forward to jumping into.. And a gift certificate for a local store dealing in kitchen utensils, pots, pans and various stuff that women like to buy to make homes look pretty.. There’s a perfectly good English word for this kinda place, but my mind is fried, so there.. Anyways, the instructions in my dad’s letter was to go pick something up for the kitchen when I could find the time to do so.. Which I did at around 5 PM when I was finally feeling well and happy enough to actually leave the house. So downtown I went to look at pots, pans and knives.. Which is what I mostly need for my kitchen.. Well, need is probably a relative term here since I already own four different pans (saute, small non-stick, large non-stick, cast iron), an assortment of pots and several large and expensive semi-pro knives. The thing is, for the longest time I’ve been wanting both a grill pan and one of those Asian vegetable knives of the Global variety.. And well, this seemed as good a time as any to go look for such things.

When I got to the store, I pretty quickly passed on the whole knife adventure as they didn’t have the knife I wanted (and I hear it’s hellishly expensive, too, so meh!) and started looking at pots and pans instead. Now, the thing about me is that when it comes to cooking gear, I get a little more excited than I’d like to admit. This is probably partially owing to my love for cooking, but there’s still some pretty obsessive and unhealthy behavior going on here. I mean, other than me, who else do you know who lives on a student grant budget and owns three $100+ knives, three $150+ pans, including one made entirely of cast iron, and other assorted “necessities” .. Right? I thought so.. The truth is I love to cook, and I love doing so with quality ingredients and using quality (i.e: expensive) tools.. And I also probably get borderline more excited over getting a new fancy pan or knife than my average female friend does over getting new shoes or a new piece of clothing (and trust me, the girls I know LOVE new shoes and new clothes).. But that’s just how I roll.

So, while already owning enough pots and pans to make the general household happy, I started checking out Le Creuset cookware which is both very pretty, very high quality and very fucking expensive.. So while I really, really wanted me a piece of some of that hot, French action, a little voice inside my head was still telling me that blowing well over $200 on a pan was probably not the smartest idea when there were other alternatives to look at. For once, I listened to that voice of reason and, for once, I was rewarded as I spun away and soon noticed another stack of cast iron cookware which was still quality, still French, still had all the right names on it.. But sported a nice additional feature in the shape of a “50% off” sticker.

Needless to say, 50% off a lot is, well, a lot which might have gone to explain while these goods were tucked away on the bottom shelf under cloths and between stacks of cardboard boxes.. Hah, you can’t hide a good deal from the Johan! So, I dug in and got myself both a pot AND a pan, in the shape of a 3 liter Dutch Oven (isn’t that the weirdest name ever for something that’s essentially a pot?) and a 24 centimeter wide grill pan. At this point, I should mention that the store I was in has apparently started employing people who seem oddly uninterested in what they’re doing and selling. I had, at this time, probably been in the store for about fifteen minutes and none of the five employees present had shown any interest in me, let alone asked me if they could help me with anything.. It wasn’t till I practically started climbing around under a table, pulling out boxes that a nice, young man walked up and asked if he could help me with anything. “Why yes,” I told him, “I’d like this and this, please.”

“Ah, good choices,” he remarked, pointing at the grill pan, “now the interesting feature about this pan is that it has a handle that snaps off.. For easy storage!” – “Uh-huh,” I said, nodding to the guy “Or it may be to allow you to clip off the handle when you place the pan in the oven, thus keeping it from getting warm and making for more easy retrieval and smaller chances of personal injury and severe burns.”

“Oh.. Yeah.. Right.. Eh, will that be all?”, asked the young man and helped me carry my new purchases to the register. He then boxed them up with some difficulty and slid my new pots and pans into some branded bags before handing them to me with a smile and a “I threw the warranty certificates in as well in case something goes wrong.” – “Right, thanks,” I said in a joking manner, “I’ll hold on to them in case the cast iron breaks or anything.” Which caused the poor man to look at me in a very ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ kinda way and inform me that “cast iron doesn’t break!” Geeze, did I just get schooled.. So much for trying to be funny..

And with that, I left the store, the proud owner of several kilos worth of cooking grade cast iron with fancy French names on it.. That had, by the way, with discount, gift certificate and all set me back all of DKK 300 which is like.. Sixty bucks? And certainly less than the original retail price of the pan alone.. Ah yes, those are the kinds of purchases that severely please Johan.. Now, if only I had something to cook using those new pots and pans. I really can’t wait for Wednesday to roll around so I’ll get an excuse for putting them into action by cooking a birthday dinner for my dear friends.

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