Sunday, November 05, 2006

For the Knife of Me

I have undiagnosed OCD--Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. How do I know I have OCD? Because I spend hours on web sites taking quizzes with questions that begin with, "Have you ever.." and end with, "If you answered 'yes' to five or more questions, you may have..." No, seriously, I'm pretty sure I have OCD. I'm not talking about washing my hands 100 times a day or organizing pinto beans in my pantry just so, but when I commit to a hobby, I commit fully and whole heartedly.

Let me explain. About 10 years ago I worked with this girl who made the most beautiful handmade, rubber stamped cards. She gave me the basics, and I was off like a bull with gas. Now, I have a love affair already with arts and crafts although I have no artistic ability. As a little girl I loved to color. I can't draw a conclusion, but I sure like to pretend. Anyway, when Nona gave me the basics on rubber stamping, I was hooked, and I was buying rubber stamps and ink pads galore. I have pigment inks, permanent inks, water based inks, heat guns. And then, HGTV happened. And then a little show called "The Carol Duvall Show" came on. And things got ugly. Real ugly. All I can say is thank God Michael's doesn't have its own store credit card because my house would be foreclosed and I'd be living on the street.

I have so much crafting "stuff" I could start my own craft store: "Elaine's Crafts 'n' Crap" or something like that. I have tried everything from beading to knitting to sewing and everything in between. I am semi-good at crocheting, knitting and sewing. Rubber stamping, scrapbooking and beading--eh, not so good. Here's the thing with me. When I start a new hobby I have to, I must have ALL the accoutrements immediately. I have to research said accoutrements ad nauseum before purchasing, because I am nothing if not a bargain hunter.

Anyway, about five years ago I moved out of the crafting phase into the home improvement phase. That was funny. If you've never seen an OCD person in home improvement mode, you should pull up a chair 'cause it's free entertainment. Thankfully I have loving relatives who talk me out of doing crazy things like building a banquette in my kitchen and changing my downstairs bathroom into a walk-in pantry.

But, as with every obsession, the magic soon fades and I must find a new high. Recently I've changed the channel to the Food Network. Now, my closest friends and family are going to burst into high flying guffaws because they know I hate to cook. I do. The thing is, I can cook and I can do it fairly well, I just don't like to do it. But the reason I figure I need to improve my cooking skills is because a) I like to eat, b) my daughter loves to eat c) I'd like to get married and my husband probably would also like to eat, d) my OCD is kicking in again.

So, because I've been watching the Food Network so much, I've noticed that all the cooks/chefs have these basic utensils and gadgets:

Chef's knife
Wooden chopping board
Copper pots
Gas stove
Kitchen Aid stand mixer
Cuisinart food processor

This past spring in Nieman Marcus I saw the copper pots that I desperately need to have. The entire set--including the lids because they are charged separately--is $2,499. So, I will make do with my crappy Farberware pots that I have now until I can swing the $2500. I'm only kidding. There is no way on God's green earth I'm spending that kind of cash for pots. Even if they were gold.

But I am going to get a nice set of copper pots. Eventually. I'm going down the list of things that I need to get. I already have the Kitchen Aid mixer and thank goodness because I just priced those things and I had sticker shock--they're almost $400! I think I can hold off on the Cuisinart for a little while longer. I found the Microplaner ($12) and the wood cutting board at Linens 'n' Things Friday night. And can I just ask why in the world is a cutting board $50? I didn't pay $50 for mine. I paid $7. I assume because it was an open stock. I just could not believe cutting boards were a minimum of $50. While I'm on the subject. Yes, I know I can use a cheese grater instead of a microplaner because basically it's the same thing. And yes, I already have several cheese graters, but they're not microplaners. Sheesh.

As far as the gas stove, I am scared of gas. We had a gas stove experience when I was little girl that has shied me away from gas forever. But if I were to get a gas stove, I would get a Viking because that thing rocks. But that would mean I would have demolish my whole kitchen just to fit the darn thing, and that just spells trouble for an OCDer. That just leaves buying the chef's knife. Let me tell you about my knife buying experience.

Friday night I was determined to get a cutting board, a microplaner and a good cutting knife. I forgot to add that I just decided to get all this stuff on a whim. Literally. I was driving home after dinner with a co-worker and thought 'Oh, you know what? I need a microplaner, cutting board and chef's knife.' Seriously. That's what I thought. And then I headed straight to the store. All right, as you can plainly see, I am naive about the cost of things, but I am a bargain hunter from my soul. I'm also the type of person that wants what I want when I want it. I go to Linens 'n' Things expecting to buy a chef's knife for about $19.

Ok, first of all, I had no idea that there were so many knife choices. Santoku, chef's, carving, paring, cleavers, machetes. All right, there were no machetes, but there should've been. I have never heard of a santoku. What is that? I am so glad to live in America where we have so many knife choices. Not just the type of knife, but handle choices. Silicone, metal, plastic. And then, there's brand. One brand gives you a knife lesson. Did you there's a part of the knife that's called the tang? I didn't.

Linens 'n' Things did not have the knife for me, so I thought I'd try Bed Bath and Beyond. Dismal. So the next morning I thought I'd trot over to the LNT in Alexandria, VA to find my knife. This one is worse than the one in Waldorf. I'm getting frustrated now because I went to Eastern Market (that's a whole other blog) to buy vegetables to chop with my new cutting board and chef's knife, and there's no chef's knife. So, I go back to Waldorf and go past the mall and think maybe I could find one in Macy's. I didn't want to go there in the first place because they're way over priced. But something told me to go into Kohl's.

And what to my wandering eyes did appear but my little chef's knife, and look, Kohl's is having a Saturday sale. The knife is usually $40, but at that moment it's $19.99! Yay. It's the one that I want with the silicone handle and the tang. So, I'm happy and I can chop veggies to my little heart's content. Ain't life grand?

No comments: