Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Things: Things That Are New

I wasn’t intending my "new things" for the year to be actual new items that I’ve purchased. That would get boring quickly (1 new box of pampers, 1 pair of holiday themed socks, etc).

But, I’m making an exception today, for silly reasons that amuse me. I have two new "things".

First, I bought a frying pan. Not that I didn't already own one. Let me explain. We got, as a wedding gift (a combination of gift cards, actually) a lovely set of All Clad stainless steel pots and pans. I love love love love them. Heavy duty. Even heating. Oven proof. Dishwasher safe. Lethal force (well, only if you swing them...but when I said "heavy" duty, I meant they give your arms a workout just to cook with them).

Nary a pan in my super-awesome pan set is non-stick. This is not a problem for 99% of all cooking that I do. In fact, I'm a fan of making pan sauces, which require a good fond (the brown bits of meat and veggies that stick to the bottom of the pan while you're cooking), which requires a stick-pan, not a non-stick. And I love that I can scrub my pans with steel wool if something goes horribly awry (and yes, it has!)

Several years ago I decided I wanted to eat an occasional omelet, and I really needed a non-stick pan for one. I found and purchased a little 8" pan that had all my requirements: stainless steel outside (I really don't like aluminum exteriors--too dishwasher unfriendly, and someone always puts them in the dishwasher), oven-safe handle, reasonably priced (this one was about $25). Too bad I didn't bother to pick up the matching 12" one at the time. This was pre-kids.

Recently, I've been making breakfast for 4 instead of just 1. And neither scrambled eggs nor hash browns work for me in a stainless steel pan. My 8" one is just too small (hash browns require at least 2 batches that way). So, I've been on a quest for a new pan. Requirements: 12", non-stick, stainless-steel outside, oven-safe handle, under $50. Why didn't I just buy the matching All-clad pan? Well, at last check, Cooking.com carries exactly what I want...for $159.95. That's just too fancy for scrambled eggs and hash browns for me. Most of the pans I find in the stores are hard-anodized aluminum, or have plastic handles, or cost closer to $100 or more. Apparently, I have expensive taste in cookware.

Last week, I bought a new non-stick frying pan. It was everything I was looking for, and even on clearance for $16! Well, until I got home. I didn't notice till after I tore up the packaging that the handle wasn't quite all stainless, and inside the box, it says "oven-safe to 350" Hmm...not quite what I had in mind. Oh well. I guess I don't plan on doing a lot of stove-to-oven transfers of dishes that require a non-stick interior.

My second "new thing" is even sillier. I bought a Swiffer. That's not to say that we've never swiffered in our house. Sam's club knows just how many mega-refill packs of the cloths we buy in a year. But Sunday, just as my husband was laying some of the last remaining boards in the new laminate floor, our old swiffering-tool broke. The head broke off the handle. It was a generic brand, and the handle was kind of wobbly anyway, which is not helpful when you're attempting to scrub a stubborn spot on the floor.

So, I went to Target and stood gaping at the array of floor-cleaning tools until my kids got too antsy. I decided against the "wet jet" (as we have a FloorMate that can both spray cleaner and suck it back up again), and against the "sweep and vac" as I don't trust that cheap of a vacuum not to break too soon. And then there were the fancy "environmentally friendly" ones with washable mop head (tempting). Nope, plain Swiffer for us. The kids will be disappointed that the handle on this one is much harder to disassemble (our old one had a section removed to make it munchkin-sized). But, it seems a tad sturdier.

Ok, that's it. Unless you want to hear about my new shamrock socks :)

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