As a non-cook, I don't spend a lot of time in Williams-Sonoma, but I have purchased things (that is to say, 'gifts') there over the years. And I'm sure that if I did cook, I'd want things from there for my own, personal, cook-ish use.
As a non-cook, I'm not on their catalogue list, making it one of the few catalogues I don't get. But someone in our building does, and since I do the recycling here, I was able to get my non-cook's hands on the holiday entertaining issue, A Farmstead Thanksgiving.
A Farmstead Thanksgiving!
While I have spent precious little time in my kitchen cooking delicious and beautiful meals, I have spent even less time on farms, let alone on farmsteads.
There was that one hostel in Switzerland that was a working farm. The hostel bunks were in a Heidi-ish loft in a charming little Heidi-ish chalet, on a Heidi-ish mountainside, in the midst of Heidi-ish pastures, full of Heidi-ish cows. As I recall, those cows even wore dirndls and pigtails. And cowbells.
So that was one night down on the farm.
And when I was a kid visiting my grandmother in Chicago, we drove up to Wisconsin for the day to visit some farmer friends. I remember three things about that trip. One, it was a blistering hot day and they were tarring the roads. And since we were in an un-airconditioned car, well, pee-ewww. The farmhouse itself had been cut in half to accommodate two generations of farm families, and there were no interior connections -just blocked up doors. To get from Generation A's digs to Generation B's, you had to go outside, which struck me as odd. I was used to Worcester triple-deckers, where you had your own flat, and when you went from Generation A's flat to Generation B's flat, you used the front or back staircase. Which were indoors. Most memorably, we were served lemonade made with the most atrocious tasting well water. We were used to Worcester's wonderful, drinkable, non-smelly water, and we always had to make an adjustment to Chicago water which "tasted funny." But Wisconsin water! I'd rather drink tar than that lemonade.
So I am no expert in things farm-ish, or farm-steadish.
And yet I have a distinct impression that farm/farmstead cooks are not cooking their farm/farmstead-fresh turkey in the extra-large W-S roaster - suggested retail $420, but for W-S customers, the low-low price of $299.95.
Farm/farmstead Thanksgivings - especially in the Midwest - would no doubt feature a jello salad, but not one that was made with the ceramic mold for $19.95 which "bears the intricate three-dimensional silhouette of a pineapple." My Midwest mother - city-girl, not farm-girl - used plain old Club aluminum molds, one of which is still in my possession, although it goes largely unused. Although maybe I'll surprise the family by resurrecting one of my mother's jello salad recipes for Thanksgiving. Will it be orange-pineapple, strawberry-cranberry, or Waldorf? I appear to be making fun here, but I'm actually craving a bite of one of those luscious little beauties.
But $19.95 is actually pretty reasonable for a fancy jello mold, and someone on the farm/farmstead might actually splurge on one.
But someone on the farm/farmstead would not likely splurge for the $419, 13 1/4 quart monogrammed hammered copper stockpot.
And how about the ruffled pie dish for $44? Or the oval Harvest Berry platter - actually quite pretty - for $299?
There is, of course, a whole lot more - including my own personal favorite: the special, kids' table tablecloth for $59. (Four napkins: $26.)
And, of course, I couldn't help peeking ahead at what's in store for us for the farmstead Christmas.
Like any non-cook (but pro-eater), I cut right to the food-stuffs.
There's the personalized ginger bread boys - 3 for $26. (What's nine-bucks for a cookie?) And the Nutcracker cookies - 15 cookies for $55, an absolute relative bargain. And that fabulous "personalized gingerbread manor" for $249.95. (If you're a cheap-skate, or worried about the recession, you can downsize and get a plain old gingerbread house for $56.)
A farmstead Thanksgiving! A farmstead Christmas!
I wonder if those farm folks in Wisconsin would remember me - the skinny little blond with the funny accent, turning up her nose at the rancid lemonade. I'd be happy to accept an invitation to a farmstead Thanksgiving.
Invite me, please.
I'll even bring my own bottled water, plus I'll throw in a kids' table tablecloth.