Dude, I totally scored at Christmas.

I received a beautiful and lovely French oven from Le Creuset, which means that I don’t have to use the pot that is probably giving me cancer anymore. (I have a very old, original Teflon-coated pot from the 70s.) (Also, thank you to the guy at the Le Creuset outlet who gave us a great deal on the pot even thought I was being completely obtuse and didn’t understand what he was getting at.)

I also got a Thermapen! These things are incredible. I mean, I have a digital themometer from Polder, but it takes like thirty seconds to read a temperature. This thing takes less than five seconds. It’s SO COOL.

When Barbara May was visiting Barbara Jo over Thanksgiving, they stopped at Penzey’s and got a load of spices. I got REAL cinnamon, plus some very high-quality cassia, Mexican vanilla (the best!), and white pepper. Now I can avoid the ghost of Julia Child yelling at me when I get dark specks in my eggs or light-colored soups or white sauces. J got cinnamon and a bunch of exciting chile powders. I am very much looking forward to the next time he makes chili.

Let’s see… I also got some fun kitchen utensils (silicon basting brush, mini whisk [excellent for making hot chocolate and vinegrettes], and one of those shot glasses with tablespoon measurements on it so I can measure vanilla properly), an extra bowl for my stand mixer (no more stopping the flow of cooking to wash and dry the bowl so I can beat egg whites in it, huzzah!), and a BAGUETTE PAN. I am so damn excited about this. Sometime this week (since I’m not working), I need to try this thing out.

From John and Rose I got some lovely anise pizzelle cookies (so good!) and a tub of the world’s best dried cherries. I think it might be time to make scones again!

Cookbooks all around! Dad got the Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook. J got Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. Barbara May got Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time. Mom got Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking, The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Vegetables, and Molto Italiano by Mario Batali (the clue for this had something to do with the fact that he has orange hair and he wears those bright orange clogs all the time). I got Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking and The Cook’s Encylopedia of Soup (I love that series).

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