Remember those days, fellow Baby Boomers, when you were newly married or had moved into your first apartment and you owned absolutely nothing? Perhaps Mom and Dad gave you some of their old pots and pans or shared a few cracked dishes with you to get you started. Maybe you went to the hardware store and purchased some flimsy flatware and plastic glasses. Your bookshelf consisted of (and I KNOW you all remember this) concrete blocks holding up pieces of wood. They went well with the macramé plant holders hanging from your ceiling that you made with your own hands.
Well, when Jen and Bill and I first bought our Arizona house, that’s sort of the way we initially set up housekeeping. Only this time instead of getting our hand-me-downs from Mom and Dad, we got them from Jen’s daughter Maggie. She got married a few years ago and still had a lot of duplicate items, which she gladly shared with us. Enough to get us by for a bit anyway.
Now, as time goes by, and especially since Bill and I spend most of the winter here, I’m trying to get our house into tip top shape with all of the necessities. It has required that I really think about what exactly we need, especially given the fact that storage is at a premium in our lovely little home. Like most homes in the desert, we have no basement. It makes a huge difference in our ability to store our things.
So what, exactly, are necessities? Well, I, for example, have concluded that a Kitchen Aid stand mixer is a necessity. I use mine almost daily back in Denver because I bake a lot. I also love to use my Kitchen Aid to knead bread. But given its footprint, a Kitchen Aid would be considered a luxury instead of a necessity by most. However, it is a luxury I am going to allow myself. While my Kitchen Aid in Denver has a proud spot in the corner of my fairly large kitchen, here in AZ, it will live in the garage. Bill is extraordinarily happy about this, as you can imagine, especially since he dreams of the garage being a so-called “Man Cave.” Nothing says Man Cave like a large kitchen appliance resting comfortably under your Jeff Gordon banner.
I have been giving this some thought the past few days because we will be entertaining my family with a large and wonderful meal on New Year’s Day. I’m talking a honking prime rib – 7 bones and 15 pounds, to be exact. I am expecting as many as 14 adults and all of those wonderful children running around. It appears, by the way, that Mother Nature is going to give us one of those rare chilly and rainy days. Wouldn’t you know?
So I have been going over the meal preparation in my head so that I can figure out what we need. For example, because of its sheer size, we may need to divide the rib roast and do half in the oven and half on the grill. In this case, we would need a second meat thermometer.
The au jus will require a gravy boat, which we currently don’t own. Steak knives will be necessary for the meat, and we only own a few. What about a platter large enough to hold half a cow?
I think several trips to Bed Bath and Beyond armed with coupons (I probably have 200 in my drawer) are in order. Will they notice when I take one package to the car and return again to buy one more thing at 20 percent off? And then again? And again?
What housekeeping items could you not live without?