Sunday, December 21, 2008


You know, my parents preached "quality" to me my entire life, and sometimes it just didn't sink in.

My Dad always believes in buying top quality, even if you have to pay more, even if you have to wait to save enough or you have to buy used to get better quality.

He's always used Craftsman tools, for example. While Snap-on might be better, they don't sell Snap-on at retail stores. Craftsman power tools may have been eclipsed these days, but their hand tools remain the same. (They may be eclipsed, but I have a garage full: lawn mower, blower, edger, trimmer, weed eater, all Craftsman, all excellent).

For years and years, I wore Hathaway shirts. I just loved them; they were beautifully made, by hand, from fine materials. When they got up to $100, I started wearing Turnbull and Asser (shirtmakers to HRH Charles, Prince of Wales). Hathaway went out of business; couldn't compete with cheap chinese labour (Hathaway proudly made in Maine, USA).

These days, I like Rountree and York (Dillards' house brand); the closest thing to the old Hathaways I've found. They just look and feel nice.

I bought a Countess Mara tie the other day, and it felt the same as they always have: thick, expensive, luxurious.

Johnston and Murphy and Cole Haan shoes: you get what you pay for. Eccos, too. You buy cheap shoes and that's what you've got. You buy quality, and not only does it hold up better and look better, it's more comfortable. Quality shows.

Which brings me to Calphalon cookware. I used Mother's hand-me-downs, then bought myself a set of Farberware which I used for years---right up until I discovered Calphalon.

There may be better cookware, but I'm not aware of it. It distributes heat properly; things do not stick; neither have I burnt anything yet. Cleanup's a breeze. My first few pieces were "Simply Calphalon", the cheapest they make; I now have a pretty extensive set of Calphalon Contemporary.

I've succeed in getting Nathan hooked on the above brands just like me.

There's a Calphalon outlet store here. I drove over there today to buy Nathan's Christmas present (Contemporary 8, 10, and 12 inch omelette pans). So he gets home from a date and promptly says, "Hey, let's go to the Calphalon store!" Yikes. So I went and got the shopping bag out of the trunk of the convertible, handed it to him and said, 'Merry Christmas". We then went out there and promptly exchanged for the ones he really wanted (fine with me, I want him to have what he wants). It was worth it, he was so proud of them.

I love buying quality goods.

(After I posted this, one more thing: I inherited my grandmother's cast iron skillets. I inherited them through Mother and Dad, who themselves inherited them. I now have ALL the cast-iron skillets, plus my aunt's cast iron Dutch Oven. I use the Calphalon for practically everything, but NOTHING tops a cast iron skillet for certain tasks, period. Bacon, sausage just tastes better from them. It is not possible to make cornbread without one (you are making corn cake if you make it in a cake pan, not cornbread). Speaking of quality--no idea how old Granny and Gramp's skillets were. Older than me. Possibly older than Dad. Many a delicious meal has come out of them. 85-100 years old and still work great? THAT's quality!).

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