Decisions, decisions.

Yesterday being “big trash” day, when one can dispose of the unnecessities that clutter life, liberty, and the, um, American way with impunity – you know, old furniture, broken appliances, the big stack of bathroom reading material that’s been piling up for eighteen months – I made a major life decision and threw away all of my frying pans. Five, to be exact. They were all used extensively over the years and starting to sport bald spots in the Teflon coating or rust spots at the handle joint, so I threw them out. People who know my packrat ways will not be surprised to hear that I found it extremely difficult. It was like parting with old friends, or shooting Old Yeller at the end of the book. Tragic, unforseen, yet in retrospect, inevitable. For that is the sad-but-true way of the world – all good dogs die too soon.
These were, after all, the tools that enabled me to provide fine fare for myself and those I care about for several years. Some of these pans had followed me around since college, you see. One funny thing is that more than anything I couldn’t bear to stand the thought of someone else finding them in the trash and for some digusting reason deciding to take them home and use them. I guess I’m just extremely possessive in that sense – I would have melted them down into stainless steel ingots if I’d had the equipment. As it was, I did the next best thing by cooking garlic-heavy dishes in each one, methodically creating smelly carbon buildup on the frying surfaces, and then throwing them out without washing. Jesus, tossing that shopping bag full of frying pans on the garbage pile felt like drowning a sackful of kittens in the river.
Now that I have used both cat and dog analogies, perhaps we can move on.
My house hasn’t been panless for many a year and as the designated Fryer of Meats, today I could think of nothing except what kind of pans I would buy after work finished. I mean, I know I can be a weird, lonely introvert at times, but I’m pretty sure this was a new low. But hey, I figure that life is short and if getting older entails being excited over the choice of new cookingware, then true feelings I must express. I was really happy to go shopping for new pans.
For the past hour I was browsing the kitchen section of Jusco, feeling the heft of each and every frying pan they had for sale. I compared stainless steel to cast iron to titanium, and coated to non-coated to dimpled, ridged, and scalloped. I evaluated the top contenders mentally on a point scale, and almost ended up with a mixed set of the winners. Then, craving unification, I almost broke down and shelled out 150 bones for a set of T-Fal pans because they have some nice shapes in the right sizes. In the end, I bought a cheapie pan and am doing the nerdiest thing imaginable. I’m doing research on the net before investing in a matching set. And yet, it makes me immensely happy. It somehow provides me with purpose in life.
I am turning 30 this year. This whole aging thing is getting pretty scary. By the time I’m forty I’ll probably be collecting spoons and driving a white Toyota. So if you love me like I love you, you will shoot me sometime before then.

8 thoughts on “Decisions, decisions.

  1. Hey J,
    You know there is one best selling pan, that I saw on TV the other day, that’s been so famouse among house wives and house husbands in Tokyo area. This pan costs 9800 yen. They said that it’s better than any others. This pan has a glass lid with a hole, which can be used as a pressure coocker as well.I’ll tell you later. cu

  2. Cooking equipment is one area where I think it’s OK to pay a high price because you will be using it every day for a long, long time. If you buy an expensive pan, knife, or whatever, and you enjoy using it, it will make the cooking experience that much more enjoyable. If you like to cook, then you will treat your equipment with respect and care, and it will reciprocate through dutiful service.
    Right now, I have not spent any major money on culinary equipment (I’m not gonna buy what I really want until I get settled), except for my ceramic kitchen knife. I know that I will probably have to toss it when the edge wears off (its still sharp after a year and a half of constant use). I still enjoy using it every time, and I think my cooking benefits from this.
    I would recommend getting an iron pan for heavy duty searing or cooking when you want more heat, and a lighter steel teflon coated pan for the other stuff (I prefer the dimpled type. they’re a bigger pain in the ass to get squeaky clean, but I figure the residual carbonation imparts essence like a well flavored wok).
    I have always preferred pans with metal handles instead of plastic. They tend to be of better quality, and the metal handle won’t melt or start to smell if the pan is kept at a high heat. The best designs use either a thin rolled sheet as a handle, or two or more thin, U-shaped bars to disperse the heat.
    One thing I have learned: Do not let your friends cook with your beloved equipment unless they too have an understanding of how to use it, or unless they are under direct supervision. I let my friend Kaori cook for me, and she used a metal spatula with my teflon pan. Luckily it was a cheap pan, but I was still horrified when I saw the damage. Luckily Teflon is inert and non-toxic because she must have scraped off 1/3 of the pan’s surface area.

  3. T, thanks for the info on the DoReMi thing, I might just try it out. I am interested in how you came about this information. Are you pursuing lonely housewives again? Hey, I thought you “have a wife and have a life!” Bioooootch.
    But thanks for the info.
    DoReMi reminds me of RaRiRuReRo Burger in Saga-ken.
    Adam wants to make a jump picture page, do you still have the jump pics?

  4. Hey, I’ll be teaching a workshop on the Big Island in Hawaii in August. Wanna come and have some locomoco, spam musubi and show Nam where to get the best waffle hotdog and plate lunch? Great place to have your 30th, my son!

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