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My Haul

Thursdays during NaBloPoMo have thus far been dedicated to Thanksgiving planning, but that’s sort of redundant at this point. I am pretty tightly wrapped, (and fancy myself a paragon of organization) but even I don’t start planning the next Thanksgiving a week after the last one.

Since I am free to write what I want, I have decided to share with you all my IMMENSE and glorious good fortune yesterday which is entirely due to the generosity of others, and their willingness to indulge me in the belief that I am actually a chef. I’m probably kind of pathetic about it (little boys dressed in chaps, spurs and Howdy Doody hats with toy guns come to mind) but in my rich, inner life I wear orange clogs and chef’s whites and might be asked at any moment to compete on “Iron Chef.” I can hear it now: “from her Midwestern home kitchen where she prepares dinners nightly that are rich and varied but do not involve the use of anything on the Forbidden Food List…Chef Annie!”

Anyway, as a thank you for preparing the Thanksgiving feast, my mother took me to Williams-Sonoma to pick out “a few things.” No, wait: first, because she knows that I can only rarely prepare fish or any seafood on Forest Street, she first took me to lunch at Mitchell’s Fish Market where I had a cup of perfect lobster bisque, an almost breadless crab cake and a huge shrimp from her salad. Then we went to Williams-Sonoma, where she bought me:

  1. A real 8″ chef’s knife. Wusthof. I have been cooking for years with a decent 4″ knife but a terrible, El Cheap-o chef’s knife that is incredibly dull but too cheap to sharpen. The new knife has a sharp blade, a heft in my hand, and makes me want to conquer pounds of potatoes. I am in love.
  2. Vanilla beans and vanilla paste, both of which I use regularly but both of which are pretty expensive. I had just run out of both making pies, and was forlornly contemplating a return to the stuff from the grocery store.
  3. A microplane grater for hard and soft cheeses, and onions. We used it last night to grate practically transparent shards of Gran Padano onto our pasta, effortlessly.
  4. A hand-held Kyocera mini-mandoline thingie. It slices wafer thin at high speed, is small enough to store easily, and has a hand protector. So far, Sam has had transparent banana slices on his cereal, and I have discovered that I really, really have to use the hand protector.
  5. A decent set of concentric, round cookie cutters, which I use for everything from doughnuts to poaching eggs (the old set was missing a couple of sizes that were involved first in a ring toss game and then in a tragic lawn mower accident).

Arriving home from this merry festival of seafood and spending, I found a package addressed to me from Inside was a copy of Giadia di Laurentiis’ newest cookbook, Everyday Pasta. This was yet another glossy and beautiful addition to my cookbook collection from my father in law in San Francisco, who buys me books that i covet and drool over but can’t justify buying for myself. As many of you know, in addition to pretending to be a chef, I often pretend to be Italian. Unfortunately, I do not look like Giada even when I’m deep under cover, but at least I can use her recipes.


I am so lucky, and so grateful to be the recipient of such generosity. I am generally thrifty, and can “make do” in ways that would make my raised-in-the-Depression dad proud, but I still love shiny, new things. Is it wierd to love a knife?



About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

4 responses »

  1. once again – i really loved reading this post. i was there in the store with you. so well written.

    i bought the kyocera mandoline thingy and returned mine. i just kinda didn’t get it. i’m sure it was me.

    i can not live without my microplane grater.

    a cook like you needs a knife. a great knife. but annie. YOU GOTTA KEEP IT SHARP ALLA THE TIME. DON’T LET IT GET DULL. SHARPEN IT EVERY WEEK AT THE VERY LEAST!!!

    ok? ok… geeshk

    don’t make me have to come over there…

  2. You are very spoiled and I’m so jealous (both the gadgets and the book)!

    Those crab cakes are to die for and if you’re really nice I’ll give you the recipe.

    Well, I guess I’ll give it to you anyway — since it’s not mine to give. I made them last year for my honey’s birthday. They are the real deal.

  3. you are soooooooooo gonna love your wusthof! the children chipped in and got me one last christmas and now i wonder how i ever managed with my parade of generics from wally world! LOL
    i’m rejoicing with you annie girl! this rocks!!

  4. Claudia, I mean to get it sharpened, really I do – I didn’t get the last one sharpened for the same reason one does not pay $50.00 in tailoring for a $20.00 dress. (Assuming one is able to locate a $20.00 dress). I’m not sure where to get it done, but I’ll figure it out. As for you “coming over here,” that’s not a threat; I’d just feed you some pasta with bacon in it and talk to you about cooking and music. I’m still not sure about the Kyocera thing – it works, but I think I’ll still end up needing a real mandoline because you can’t adjust the blade and I do not require everything to be the thickness of single-ply Kleenex.

    Barbara, I am spoiled, but I am very, very grateful. Getting that recipe from you means I got a trifecta of gifts – thanks so much!!!!

    Thanks, jayedee! I swear I’m cutting stuff up just for the sake of cutting; this family may never eat a whole piece of meat again….


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