So, I managed to save myself from buying any new knives, albeit it only by ordering a cool new sharpening kit. For some reason, I seem to have excellent restraint in some shopping categories and am a borderline shopaholic in others.
I have all the kitchen gear I need. My ten-inch skillet is wearing out, and I’d like to replace it one with an oven-safe handle. Someday I’d like a rice cooker with a nonstick finish. And I do admit to looking forward to the day my scale dies so I can replace it with a cool new one that holds more weight and has a better display. But there’s really nothing I need for the kitchen right now, and there are probably a few things I could stand to get rid of. On the acquisitiveness scale (aka the Trump score) here, I give myself a 3.
When it comes to computer gadgets and software, I’m one of those guys. I’m already wishing we could replace the computer we bought less than a year ago with the newer, faster model. I’m always wondering whether I might like a different keyboard or mouse, and I register shareware all the time. One time I went out to get my iPod fixed and came home with a new laptop. Honestly, I’m not proud of this. I’m giving myself a Trump score of 8 in this category.
There are plenty of other categories in which I get a score of 0, just because I don’t like shopping for those things, like clothes. It’s either rock shirts or Lands’ End. (I’m guessing Laurie didn’t marry me for my fashion sense.)
While I was working on that knife post, I realized that there’s another category in which I surprise myself by being not at all acquisitive. It’s recipes.
When I make brownies, I make Alice Medrich’s New Classic Brownies. I might make a totally different kind of brownie at some point, like a cheesecake brownie or a peanut butter brownie, but for plain chocolate brownies I’m not going to bother trying other recipes. Probably there’s another brownie recipe out there I would like better, but finding it is not worth making a hundred pans of not-so-great brownies. (I don’t mean to say that your brownie recipe is worse than mine, but if you’re in a fighting mood: Your brownies blow. Steve Bath 4EVA, sucka.)
When I want chowder, I crack open some clams and 50 Chowders.
And for many, many other recipes, I put myself in the weathered, plow-weary hands of Christopher Kimball.
The term everyone seems to be using for this approach is “satisficing”–that is, I stop when I find something that meets my criteria, without worrying about whether there’s something better.
I guess after I try making something two or three times, I give up and figure I’ll order it some time when we go out. Spaghetti carbonara is going into this category. Every time I make it, the sauce is overcooked or undercooked. (I’m not blaming the recipes for this, of course.) So screw it.
Actually, if anyone has carbonara tips, let me know. (My Trump score has just gone up by one.)