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Home and Garden => Shopping => Topic started by: Admin on November 18, 2007, 09:43:16 AM

Title: Shopping
Post by: Admin on November 18, 2007, 09:43:16 AM
What's the must-buy item this season? Are you going to be camping out this Black Friday. Or just vent about your frustrations fighting with the mall traffic

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on November 18, 2007, 10:56:51 AM
Oh, man, they are letting me know by e-mail.Big time, overtime. Sometimes one per day from the same establishment. This keeps me busy eradicating e-mail.

I never have fought mall traffic, I just don't go there.  Some of the regional locals are hopping a bus to Manhattan for the usual spree; but, one of the better experiences that I ever had was walking down 5th.Avenue with a friend enjoying the window-displays of the well-known emporiums of the day (before franchise became extravagantly American even there) and well after sensible shoppers and working stiffs had come home from parties and gone to bed.  Not an extraneous soul was in sight. Just a winter night with appropriate amount of snow and gorgeous window decoration, all the way south to Greenwich Village.

I gradually learned over the last seventeen years that you can window-shop, doing your browsing for Christmas gifts (and necessities of the Season),right on the internet, check the details by phone, order, have them deliver where ever you ask . I have on occasion bought what might be termed "folk art"  in my region just short of ten years of my residence; and then I have to wrap it myself, about which I am all thumbs, and post,UPS or FedX to relatives -- which is a real thrill right there to test your patience and endurance. 

I've made it a habit,meanwhile, to start the season with visiting all the Holiday bazaar/fairs of the local churches of all denominations for things that are often home-made but sometimes raffle-prizes like American Dutch antiques formerly available in Blauenburg,New Jersey, home of early Dutch settlers; and nowadays Moravians and Austrians. But, that reminds me, I have to phone some Amana community people to order from them, although they are probably  not answering the phone on Sunday. The New calendar has to be ordered from my friendly acquaintance of many years who always returns to her home in southwest France (where the walnuts grow) to case out what's new over there that will sell over here. 

Then it is time to address the greeting cards, do the Christmas letters, decide the menu, and whether or not the most fragrant greens are likely to be available locally or need to be ordered from a bit further north. It's very simple really but leaves you over-rushed and exhausted no matter how simple you imagine it to be.  The worst of course is forgetting what it is like in the line at the Liquor store, if you didn't collect all the odds and ends you plan to use in your baking, then cooking, and eventually drinking. One must also plan on taking the storm door apart so you can reach a shovel out of the opening to remove the snow that is blocking the door from being opened to go anywhere anyway.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on January 05, 2008, 01:28:30 PM
Boy, was I wrong about the expectation of snow!

However, perhaps, Shopping would be an interesting topic if we changed the emphasis from what we were doing to get ready for the holidays and drag ourselves into that area which is noticeably the Changing Economy these days deepening a Depression although it seems more a tendency toward annoyance with everything.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Donotremove on January 05, 2008, 02:15:19 PM
After reading an article in the NYT (The Invisible Ingredient in Every Kitchen, 2 Jan 2008 by Harold McGee) about the heat efficiency of various cooking stoves, I am thinking of retiring my 1938 Chalmers gas range and buying one of those glass top electric things.  The article says the induction cooktops are 90% efficient, compared to 70% for electric coil and 35-40% for gas burners.  Those numbers sure got my attention.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Lhoffman on January 05, 2008, 03:25:15 PM
They look easy to clean, too....a real plus in my book.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Donotremove on January 05, 2008, 04:40:42 PM
Since the surface scratches, they say you have to give up your iron skillets.  Oh me.  You could still use them to bake with in the oven, though.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Lhoffman on January 05, 2008, 04:45:44 PM
I didn't realize that iron skillets would damage them, it makes sense though.  Hmmmm....easy clean-up or fried potatoes, fried onions, bacon, eggs, fried bread dough....

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on January 05, 2008, 04:58:34 PM
My sister Laura put one of those in to the house that she designed above lake Michigan before the end of the 1970s, when our father had  helped by assisting on the roofing to finish the house.  Then came the divorce
which is just too sordid a story as she had her own decorating business in partnership  and I guess that you can guess for yourself. Bottom line, when you live in a state with equal division of marital property, the house for which she had arranged the curved brick walkway, and the shells collected on the beach were placed into the designed pattern for the fireplace front in the master bedroom, and the skylight in the pantry saved electricity by day, and the twin mirrors were installed over the side by side sinks in the long bathroom, and the etched glass installed in the doors (the fashion of the times),the house has to be sold at the end of the marriage.

Other than that, saving energy is a very good idea.

I hate to tell you, but before the Holiday excessive catalog prompt to buy,buy,buy flooded into my apartment, there was a kitchen gear catalog which advised me of the current price of the humoungous French stove that I would have bought for myself had I anywhere to put it. This was when my sister and I were comparing what, on second-thought, and too late now, we could have done with some part of our legacy from Mom. But we didn't.

Yet who had an inkling of what George Bush,sr. was up to at that time, some people had just recently voted for Clinton, who would have imagined the present situation would arise? Well, our brother did for many many decades. He is no longer around to tell us," I told you so". No doubt that was why he was so prescient. Someone has to be because the majority are not.

But as I learned several winters ago when we actually had plentiful snow, the English model of enameled stove that I discovered when looking at the actual samples of Sturbridge Yankee chairs in a shop not unlike my sister's ideal workplace yet quite different in style for the rural regions where electricity and therefore often your heat goes out too, well that English stove is your fall back item where you can not trust the utilities to come through for you.  It is not the optimum convenience for our later years in life, however.

The French stove had its own drawbacks in that it is a better plan  to have it brought in as you are building a house or adding a kitchen to a wing of a house as the colonial Quakers did when they still cooked on the hearth. It weighs the proverbial ton. I don't recall the actual poundage but it is a hassle.  The price rise, was easily something I could comprehend, since gradually over the last five years where can you buy real underwear of the kind that Germans find practical. The French shirts become luxuries in a Republican run economy. (Have you ever noticed  how Nicholas Sarkozy dresses?)  And then suddenly when I had time to think about it,the price of a well made French brassiere jumped into another price-bracket entirely so I'm not going to tell my sisters what our mother would have had to say about that.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on January 05, 2008, 05:00:22 PM
What do they recommend, teflon? I always knew they were not well thought out but who listens?

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: harrie on January 05, 2008, 05:25:40 PM
We have a glass (radiant element, not induction) cooktop and it has its pluses -- the heat is more even; it holds heat for a long time; it's easier to clean; and it's flat so you can (gently) set stuff on it without worrying about the unevenness you'd get with a raised burner (sort of extending your counter space if that's something you need).  One drawback of which I'm keenly aware -- I'm always afraid I'm going to drop/slam something down and crack it. 

According to our paperwork, cast iron is okay as long as you don't go slamming stuff around, and I think we've used our cast iron dutch oven on it (carefully) a couple of times.  Our literature says as long as the pan is flat-bottomed, you're okay. But a pan with a ridged bottom -- like some grill pans and a big canning pot I was once considering buying -- can cause uneven heating of the burner area and possibly crack the cooktop. Which is bad.

Those induction cooktop efficiency numbers look huge to me.  If we had our druthers, we'd have a gas range, but right now our setup is electric; hence the choice of glass

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Donotremove on January 06, 2008, 12:19:03 PM
Harrie, " . . . holds heat for a long time."  I thought the heat stopped when you removed the pot.  I have always been shy of these kinds of electric ranges because of that.  I mean, who knows when someone might put a pot on the stove "pre' some other cooking decision?  Tell me, then.  When does the heat come on?  When does it go off?  What about this "look no heat" that TV salesmen tout by putting their hand on a "burner?"

The Mfg suggested cooking vessels were aluminum or steel.  No copper clad or clay and some other thing I can't remember.  And, of course, I prefer steel and have lots of steel pots of various sizes (no skillets.)  I do not use aluminum at all.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: harrie on January 06, 2008, 06:14:59 PM
Maybe that's the induction cooktops where the heat cuts right off; ours is a radiant element, and there's no way I'd put my hand on a just-used burner.  When I say it holds heat well, I mean for example when cooking rice, you can turn the burner off after 12-15 minutes and let it coast to doneness.  I guess you can also do this with an electric coil element, but it doesn't always work out like you wanted it to.  Or at least, that's been my experience.

We turn the burners on and off manually, which I see as a plus for the reason you cited.  The burners do heat up quickly and we're told they heat the pan more evenly, which I believe but cannot prove.  Still, it's electric; and even though you get a little better finesse temperature selection-wise than a coil stove, it's just not the same as gas where you can fine tune exactly what you want.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on January 07, 2008, 12:23:50 AM
Harrie,   I've had that 'gas prejudice' for years. It's that fine tuning that you mentioned. Out in the rural areas, you risk running into locales where gas happens to be propane and I'm not happy about that at all. Too risky.  The Amish of course use it for refrigeration as well as cooking.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: harrie on January 07, 2008, 10:25:48 AM
At some point after writing that, I realized that "fine tuning" may be on its way to becoming archaic, what with cable removing the need to fiddle with the TV to get a station in.  So thanks for also using the term, madupont -- makes me feel better.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Donotremove on January 07, 2008, 10:36:21 AM
Harrie, you still have to "fine tune" short wave radio.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: harrie on January 07, 2008, 10:52:46 AM
Whew! You learn something every day.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on January 30, 2008, 01:41:28 AM
Lhoffman, about that Iron "Dutch oven" from China. Lined or unlined?

Many years ago, as the thing is unlikely to ever wear out, I bought a Dansk Iron Pot which might fit that description to some extent, it has a very heavy lid that nearly makes a tight seal but not quite. I use it for potatoes in their jackets because it cooks them very rapidly. In fact sometimes I have to be  little more careful particularly if I'm planning on making potato salad or, heavens, removing the jackets and doing the German style of parsley boiled potatoes, sometimes sauteed whole in fact.

This is a long way of getting to the point, but not so long ago, just a few years, I took a pig in a poke on sale in the mid-winter of some floral-border bedding-fencing, that low-to-the-ground that you don't want to trip over and I had a heck of a time getting them into the ground when I eventually did -- for they were made in China, much to my dismay, exceedingly heavy iron and when I opened the box in which they arrived, I could see that they were rusted.  I immediately complained to the company from which I'd bought these( do not recall if they were just a gardening supply or a somewhat bigger outfit that includes garden articles as well as other household maintenance and furnishing outfitting) but this is when I learned something very interesting about the politics of merchanising.  The company said that rather than sending it back to them, since they were not willing to pay the shipping, I should just keep it and they would not bill me. That was the "China" deal.

Likewise, I washed according to instruction a large thick towel from Turkey that is actually a bath-mat and it immediately unraveled the edging. A warning to me, no, I do not need to buy more of this cute pattern in a full set or several.  In other words, what I'm saying is that "Turkish towels", which were the best quality when I was a child,are today just a deal made by a government to further good relations with another country so that they will not fall into the temptation  of joining the enemy when it would be nicer if we could get that "another country" to allow us room for military bases.

In the interim, Chinese towels had become noticeably better quality than anything we were making in the US, and friends brought home this discovery from the first delegated trips abroad in the 1970s, after that the markup from the American vendor went into the 50%. Americans wanted to travel there for the luxury goods, believing that meant "silk"; the Chinese have of course been wise to this for about 700 years. We got stuck in a big discussion of this in American History forum by accident about when this all started by shipping; ask weezo. In 1970s or for at least five or six years of it, it happened to be the towels that were precious; not the silk.  Of course, Americans in search of luxury goods kept on gravitating to what they wanted, dreams of Hong Kong and the British empire life-style, so they went in search of porcelains and cloisonne, etc. -- or, even the old tattered leather chairs that Churchill probably sat in when he went "to the Club" for a drink.  What people in the West were not yet fully aware of was that the Chinese are artists; artists who have made an art for thousands of years at creating "knock offs", they can make imitation anything you desire. They in fact refurbished any number of things that they destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, when they realized that Westerners were looking for those "Olds" which the Chinese had campaigned against as symptomatic of decadent parasitic living. 

I, myself, had a desire for a cast iron wok for emergencies such as we are coming into now. The Chinese cook over mud stoves, similar to the Russian or Korean styles that warm the house, that you can sit around on  in the flat versions or actually sleep on, just as the Europeans of the Continent used to make upright tiled stoves for heating in winter. The cook stove is basically like our cast-iron stoves of the past, but in China they are not iron. They have the right size holes in which the pots fit on top of the stove. So, it seemed to me if you had to have a cooking vessel in case of gas or electric failure in time of war, the thing to own would be that iron wok.

Since then, of course, we have in about a year or two learned to our horror that not everything that comes from China is good for us or anybody. But how can we tell or not which is fine to use and what is not? We seem to have deregulated those agencies that regularly looked out for us, since of course they are government agencies and we have now had a government that believes in cutting out excess agency.  Where it will end, I don't intend to imagine. But for the interim, I'm not going to any local Chinese restaurants as part of a class field-trip when I start brushing up what I left behind when this style of down-sized government took over in the US.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Lhoffman on January 30, 2008, 01:03:09 PM
Madupont....lined or you know, I didn't notice because I wasn't buying.  Do you mean "enameled?"  These were the traditional black cast irons, and there were two there, one for $49 and the other for $29.  They were pre-seasoned, something I had not seen before.  When I bought my cast iron skilled, I had to season it in the standard way...oil the thing and stick it in a very hot oven until the smoke alarm went off   :). 

But, lately my house has been rather cold all the time, and I have been looking at cast iron Dutch ovens.  I thought it might be nice to use it for stew....saute the root vegetables and aromatics in some oil, sear the beef, toss it all together and put it in the oven on a low heat for a few hours, or maybe make a nice roast pork with prunes and apricots....cozy up the house a bit.  My kitchen is centrally located and using the oven tends to boost the furnace.  I have an old Dutch oven that I bought on the cheap when I got married.  These days, the lid isn't fitting as snugly as I would wish...can't complain, the thing has lasted 30 years, but a cast iron pan with a heavy lid would be just the thing.  Of course, on the other hand, there is La Cruset enameled cast iron, the advantage being that one can use this to make roasts and stews, but also for baking yeast breads.  (And these come in the most beautiful colors.)  I do use my cast iron skillet to make corn bread, but I suspect that if I tried to cook yeast bread in cast iron that the bottom would get a littler browner than I prefer.

Chinese, Turkish, American....I don't mind buying internationally.  The world gets smaller every day and Americans don't have the market on the right to live the "good" life.  Perhaps as time goes by, goods will be regulated on an international level. 

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Donotremove on January 30, 2008, 05:11:35 PM
Hoffman, pre seasoned doesn't mean the iron stays that way.  Eventually, you will cook enough stuff with liquids that the seasoning will "wear" and you have to re season.  I usually just coat with olive oil and put in a 250° oven for several hours, preferably when I'm also slow cooking a brisket at that temperature.  Blasting hot ovens (or stove tops) will warp your iron vessels. You can use a solid paving brick, broken in half, on either side of the lid handle (the one in the middle of the lid) to keep the lid snug to the dutch oven bottom.  Shop thrift stores for pots and pans.  You find a real gem once in a while.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: Lhoffman on January 30, 2008, 06:34:34 PM old Dutch oven was a cheap one when I bought it....not cast iron, some kind of non-stick.  The lid is loose, but what is more dangerous, the handles have to be tightened every time I use it.  I will be quite glad to replace it.

I think my cast iron skillet recommended 450 degrees for seasoning, and the fat I used got quite smokey.  On the good side, the thing stays seasoned for years.  No rust, no stick.  Usually, after I use it, I wash it in dishsoap, wipe it with a paper towel, rub a little oil into it with another paper towel, and set it on a warm burner until it's completely dry.

Thrift shops are a great idea.  Over the last couple of years, I have been buying pots and pans for my kids...since both are setting up their own households.  We've found a lot of good things in Big Lots and TJ Maxx.  Bought the daughter one of those Le Crusett smaller Dutch ovens for less than ten bucks, and a small cast iron skillet for around five.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: weezo on February 08, 2008, 06:21:47 PM

Thanks for mentioning this forum. I didn't know it was here!

I remembering buying things imported from China and the far east years ago, and they always smelled strongly of fish until the first washing. Was never sure if it was due to the dye use or the shipping.

We have a cast iron skillet with cast iron lid to make it a dutch oven, that had been Steve's grandmother's and was well seasoned. I've never successfully seasoned a cast iron skillet - they always rust in a short time, since I always put everything in the dishwasher. I've had to reseason the skillet twice in the 25 years we've had it.

Once a friend from NYC was down to visit at my school, and we made steaks in the cast iron skillet. Before I had time to load the dishwasher, he took that skillet, which he had admired when he saw it, and wiped it out with a paper towel, some oil and salt. It didn't need to go in the dishwasher! Hubby is a stickler for cleanliness, and insists that everything through the dishwasher to "kill germs", so I still put the iron skillet and lid in the dishwasher, and when they begin to show a touch of rust, it's time to put some crisco or oil in them in a slow oven for a few hours. Then they go again in the dishwasher for years.

Wonder if Obertray and Utley will follow us over here. My mom had a rather strick rule about washing everything new before it was used. That would have done the woman who got the flip-flops that had acid on them rather well. I'm sure that all stores, from time to time, have a product that gets them in touble with the naysayers. Smart shopping, keeping your mind activie instead of grabbing without thinking, goes a long way to avoiding much of the problems with shopping at store that import goods.

Maddie, I remember when Turkish Towels, were the big, thirsty, luxury towels that you really wanted!

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on February 20, 2008, 03:09:59 PM
I think that just filtered into our subliminal consciousness before we were adults, we were growing up  with traditions learned by "grups" who learned about Turkish towels from old ladies back in the 1920s.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: madupont on February 20, 2008, 03:15:17 PM
I grabbed this from a forum conversation on the net servers today when they decided to discuss whether Mia Farrow should have not pressured Steven Spielberg into relinquishing his Olympic commitment to design an opening program or what? if he figured he wasn't obligated by contract because of their laissez faire about such things as copyrights anyway, what the hell. But there is a lot more to it than that.

Using the Olympics to put pressure on China  (from the British point of view)

It is hypocritical to call for pressure to be put on China when our stores are full of Chinese goods, and it is imports from China which have kept inflation at a low level in Britain.

China is an integral and increasingly important player in the global economy. We can't afford to apply the sort of sanctions and economic boycott that helped to bring down the apartheid regime in South Africa. But we can, and should, apply moral pressure.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: weezo on February 20, 2008, 03:27:26 PM

Considering the actions of our "leaders" in the past decade, we have no moral ground to stand on. If anything, other countries should be lecturing us about out lack of morals!

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: NoneoftheAbove on March 05, 2008, 11:54:55 AM
Sheesh - why does "shopping" automatically translate to "China"?

FWIW there are some US - based businesses that offer exceptional value on good stuff that isn't made in slave labor camps and might even not contain lead paint!

I'm a refugee from NYT, mostly interested in the Science and the Science/Religion topic, but also am part of an e-store that I want to invite you to visit, especially if you have an interest in Emergency, Tactical or Wilderness Medicine.

Rescue Essentials ( was originally designed as SAM Medical's online direct distributorship, mainly for the SAM Splint ( line to address the outdoor industry's needs, but it has morphed into more of a combat and tac-med supply company (I can't help it if the Bush administration has impoverished those into recreation while fattening the wallets of security companies and military contractors!).

Not here to solicit orders so much as to get your impressions of the site and suggestions about how to improve it.

Hope this sort of "site pimping" isn't too heavily frowned upon by the local administrators - thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: FlyingVProd on November 18, 2017, 10:45:08 PM
My Mother gave me a gift card for my Birthday, which was on the 9th, and I used the card at ROSS to buy two new pairs of jeans, and a new belt, and a new wallet, they have great prices on designer items.

Here is a link for their website...

So, now I have new jeans to wear to Church tomorrow. The Church that I am going to is a very casual Church, so new jeans would be fine to wear. At another Church that I go to you have to wear a suit and tie, but for this one jeans are okay.


Tony V.

Title: Re: Shopping
Post by: FlyingVProd on November 18, 2017, 10:46:21 PM
How to Know Whether or Not to Tuck in Your Shirt


For Church, and for upscale restaurants, I think it is customary to tuck in your shirt. In the South of France, people get cleaned up, and dress well, and they tuck in their shirts, for dinner.


Tony V.

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