A Gift That’ll Keep on Giving

[Dinner the other night, December 2007.]

This year I tried very hard not to subscribe to the “one for you, two for me” philosophy that has sometimes plagued my holiday shopping. Three seasons ago in particular there was some retail therapy which resulted in lots of beautiful presents for my loved ones, but also a pair of black knee-high boots with little heels (still have ’em, though they’re only worn on extremely special occasions, because while très stylish, the pointy toes are not what one would call confortable) for me, as well as some nice sweaters and skirts.

But seriously, this year I was better. I made a lot of gifts, and I really didn’t go overboard (in my mind, at least). Didn’t I tell you about all that applesauce? Many jars found their way to good homes for only the price of the glass (and the shipping). Then, too, I recycled a chocolates tin for cookies, made all my own cards — and goodness, here I am on December 30 with the whole thing nearly done for another year.

Except, not quite. I must confess: I succumbed.

Yesterday afternoon the enduring allure of Le Creuset caused me to fall so hard and fast there was no way I was leaving the store without a new, tourquoise, 8-quart stockpot (pardonnez, pot au feu), vow to not selfishly self-gift or no. (Plus, it was on sale.) While I watched “Sweeney Todd” — shuddering a bit at some of the very gory parts, even if they were mostly funny; though, mmm, Johnny Depp, brilliant as always — my new beauty waited patiently for me in my friend’s car, a consolation prize for watching roaches scuttle out of questionable meat pies (yet another reason to be glad I’m a vegetarian; couldn’t she have, please, just once cleaned off her damned rolling pin?).

Ah well.

When I got home, I unwrapped my new treasure to fawn over a little bit

My “Caribbean blue” and I will be so very happy, don’t you think? He’s almost my precious, and certainly is my pretty. The soups and stews we’ll simmer together will taste better than any I’ve ever made before, I’m quite sure. My kitchen is tiny, and I try not to fill it up with unnecessary things (which is why I have one beloved copper soup pot — but only one — and a couple of other smaller pots, and then one rather large pot sans a lid that someone picked up at a yard sale but which really is not that useful), but a good home cook needs a few good pots, so — darling — welcome to the family, I’m so glad you’re here.

Confirmation was given the other night over leftover chard-and-pesto lasagna and a Whole Foods salad: The best meal is one you don’t have to cook yourself. Well, almost. I’ll amend that to: The best meal is one you’ve either made in advance so when you don’t feel like cooking it’s already set to go, or one someone else makes for you. Like I said, when the new year kicks in, there will be much more culinary activity, but until then I’m coasting.

[An easy-dinner night, December 2007.]

Big Bleu will get a lot of use soon enough, I’m sure. My gift to you, then, in this more-for-you (but-still-one-for-me!) mentality of 2008, will be lots of season-appropriate recipes to ease the winter chill.

Giving never felt so good …

nicole spiridakis © copyright 2023