Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Williams-Sonoma Catalog: The Best Things in Life Really are Free!

I am a magazine junkie. I just love the glossies. In my teens and in my twenties my table tops, desk tops and counter tops were piled high with fashion glossies. Lately I have traded haute couture for haute cuisine (or perhaps more like hot cuisine). I can not bear to simply tear out recipes as I know that each magazine is, in itself, a work of art and the result of a lot of talent, effort and hard work. I, for one, appreciate the end result immensely. I have never stopped to figure out how much I spend a year on all my magazine purchases. In this case, like a really decadent treat where you just do not want to know the calorie count, I prefer to remain oblivious.

So, when I get my Williams-Sonoma catalog in the mail I am truly over the moon. I savor my W-S catalog like a child savoring her favorite part of a meal, saving it for last. I toss aside the junk mail and the bills, quickly flip through the others then make sure that I have time to sit and savor my W-S catalog. Sometimes I enjoy it with a nice glass of wine, sometimes with a nice cup of coffee. As though I am about to embark on a great read by a Pulitzer Prize winning author, I immerse myself in the world of W-S! It's a cookbook, home decorating book, catalog and history book all in one.

Open to page 03 in the February 2008 copy. I can practically taste that gumbo with enormous pieces of sausage and shrimp. I can smell the spices. I want to warm my hands and place them around that bowl filled to the brim right now, never mind that it is just 9:48 in the morning! Directly under the photograph is "the story of gumbo" and to the left of that a bit on the "White boot brigade." This magazine is brilliant. Every issue I have ever read has been! On page 11 is a recipe for red beans and rice. I want some of this too! And I know Don would die over the Mufuletta recipe on page 15. I place a star next to that recipe.

I flag almost all the recipes and ogle and drool over the latest and greatest kitchen appliances. I want to touch, smell and taste everything I see on the pages. I would love a grown up Scratch'n'Sniff version of this.

My kids have been known to steal my W-S catalog from me. One night, around Christmastime I went up to tuck the kids into bed. There was my almost-seven year old with my Thanksgiving 2007 catalog. He was reading through every thing very carefully, pen in hand circling the things he wanted, the martini olive puffs (!), the spanikopita triangles, the old world salami, and the crab cakes. He also marked up recipes such as easy spaghetti bolognese. "Can we make this one tomorrow, Mama?" He asked? "Sure," I replied.

I have never in my life made a frittata but I know I just have to have the Calphalon One nonstick frittata pan, and the Calphalon egg poacher, Oh and the Bialetti Mukka Express electric cappuccino maker! My almost seven year old wants the filled pancake pan pictured on page 23. He's getting one for his birthday! Toward the back of the catalog is pictured the kitchen torch and just above it a recipe for tomato salsa that looks absolutely to die for! The pretty pastel cupcakes with flowers a top are beautiful and look easy enough to make... I make a mental note for future Birthday parties down the road. I love their dish and hand soaps... I make a mental note of all these wonderful things. Until we move from our Crazy Crowded House I have no room for all these wondrous appliances in my kitchen, but with my gift certificates that I have been collecting for a while now, I will be sure to pick up a few of these items when and if we do ever move. Meantime, I have a few new recipes to try in My Crazy Crowded Kitchen.

To get a free catalog of your own, or to peruse their wonderful website go to http://www.williamssonoma.com/

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