TND – Mental Dyspepsia

November 9, 2011

I’m suffering from an attack of mental dyspepsia brought on by the stream of holiday baking catalogs arriving on my doorstep, the fact that Macys has already put up their Christmas tree, and that stores segued directly from Halloween to Christmas candy without even a pause for post-Halloween candy sales.

You would think that the fact that it’s currently so warm that I had to take off my sweater when I was out for lunch today – particularly in the wake of the snowstorm we had before the end of October – and the fact that I have the new Florence & the Machine album queued up on my ipod would alleviate some of this mental dyspepsia. You’d be right so long as I could confine myself to the sunny pathways of Boston Common and turn my gaze solely upon the brilliant reds and golds of a New England Fall. However, in order to get to and from the Common I have to pass the Macy’s Christmas tree, deal with people out Christmas shopping on Washington Street, and pass by a host of stores advertising pre-Christmas sales. Then I get home and am greeted with yet another mail order catalog filled with single-season, single-use items like a Gingerbread Kids Cakelet Pan, and all my Scrooge like sentiments come rushing back to me.

What I really want to know is who, other than Ina Garten who’s way too classy to ever use a holiday shaped piece of bakeware anyway, has the space to store all of the holiday themed pieces of kitchen equipment that exist for each and every conceivable holiday? There are turkey shaped mini cake molds for Thanksgiving, and snowflake and snowman shaped molds for Christmas, and heart shaped molds for Valentine’s Day, and bunny and egg shaped molds for Easter . . . . and, you get the picture. Plus there are all the thematically decorated mugs and trivets and spoons and spatulas and serving bowls for each holiday.

I don’t know about other people, but I barely have room in my kitchen for the actual bakeware that I use on a regular basis. Is the space to store tacky holiday themed kitchen items something to which I am meant to aspire? Along with, I suppose, the disposable income to buy them? Frankly, I can think of other things to do with $150 than buy a mini-pie maker, or even $13 for a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Pan.

I’m not exactly sure what mental Pepto-Bismol looks like, although I’m fairly certain that Florence & the Machine is providing this season’s soundtrack. However, in the event you find yourself with some extra disposable income around the holidays here are some suggestions for things you might spend it on instead of seasonally themed bakeware that you’ll only use for three weeks out of the year and will spend the other 49 occupying valuable kitchen real estate.

For less than you’d spend on a Pumpkin Patch Loaf Pan you can donate to Heifer International and give a family an entire flock of chicks which are both cute and useful.

Or, for what you’d spend on a set of Snowman Measuring Cups, you might use or a few weeks every year you can fill an entire shelf with library books that will get read every day by donating to Room to Read – you can read more about how they’re giving Carnegie a run for his money in a recent NYT Op Ed.

Or, if like most of us you don’t have extra disposable income around the holidays, you can give blood to the Red Cross. You can donate those books you’ve read and are now gathering dust in piles on your floor to your local library, or to a homeless shelter, or a prison, or send them overseas to serving soldiers at booksforsoldiers.com You can weed through the clothes that no longer fit you, or that you didn’t wear all last winter and donate them to the Vietnam Veterans of America – as a bonus, they’ll even come pick it up from your doorstep.

I don’t know if any of this is the cure for mental dyspepsia, but at the very least it can’t hurt and it might make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Pork Stew with Hard Cider, Pearl Onions & Potatoes

Pork Stew with Hard Cider, Pearl Onions & Potatoes

Recipe previously given: Day Late & a Dollar Short


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