Things I would buy this instant
I’m taking a deeeeep breath. Because the feeling rushing over me is very, very familiar. It’s the urge to spend. And it’s almost overwhelming.
I was in York, England for 5 days and just got back last night. Walking along the old town main streets I saw SO many cute shops and boutiques that don’t exist here in Munich. And when I came back and looked in my closet, I felt a little…impoverished. Also, the more cooking I do, the more I realise there are machines that can do bits and pieces far, far more quickly for me. I don’t have to sacrrifice my knuckles to the Grating God – I can shove the whole bag of carrots in a food processor! Or I could if I had one.
I feel like my grandma must have felt when washing machines were invented – the HOURS she would have spent scrubbing and wringing (although my grandfather was apparently famed for the strength of his arms and hence the amount of water he could wring from a wet piece of clothing, so that helped) and hanging. She could have had all those hours back. Same goes with the ironing. And the cooking. And that’s kind of how I am feeling now.
So here are the Top 5 things I would immediately purchase, if my purse wasn’t closed.
1. This jumper:
It’s cute and warm and cosy and it’s on sale for 22euros. TWENTY TWO clams. That’s hardly any clams at all! I couldn’t knit it myself for the same price! Mostly because I can’t knit, but you see what I mean.
2. This meat grinder:
Germans are mad for a pig. Mad for it. The nation was raised on swine. You can get it in just about any form – although they sadly don’t do bacon the way I know it. Instead of the hearty, thick, crispy slices I grew to love, there are wafer-thin, artificially smoke-flavoured “English-style” jobbies. Not the same, Deutschland. Not the same. Anyway, while minced pork is readily available, and minced beef can also be found, the country is curiously absent of minced chicken, turkey, lamb or any other animal you care to name and mince. And a lot of the recipes I am desperate to try call for such ingredients. If I had this chap (and he’s only 30eu!) this would be a problem of the past. Sigh.
3. This pressure cooker:
Has anyone ever tried to soften adzuki beans? Anyone? I soaked the beggars for two solid days, and then boiled them for 90 minutes. At the end of all that, I could still have sold them as bullets. I stood on one and shattered my femur, but the bean was still intact. The key, apparently, is a pressure cooker! I don’t know what kind of wizardry it works, but it gets the job done – pronto. And because they cook faster, they use less energy too…so I would be saving the world at the same time as I saved myself some time. Sorry, that was a confusing sentence. I would not just use it for beans. Loads of nomnompaleo recipes use a pressure cooker, and they are recipes I want in! my! belly! This fellow is only 50eu. Reduced from 89! I’m losing money every minute I sit here writing about it.
4. This book:
Has anyone else grown up with an extremely patriotic parent no longer living in their homeland? Welcome to my life. My father was born in Wales, of Welsh parents and Welsh grandparents. He was schooled in Wales, studied in Wales, got his degree in Wales. He loves Welsh choir music, Welsh rarebit, Welsh weather, Welsh landscapes, Welsh songs, Welsh history, Welsh welshiness. His whole family stayed in the same village and he alone of them – urged along by my poor Spanish mother whose family had emigrated to Wales during her early teens and who hated the bitter weather – left the Welsh stronghold and moved to Australia.
His heart never made the trip.
Our family home had a Welsh “shrine”, filled with flags and lovespoons and framed quotes and stacks of CDs of welsh people singing (Tom Jones, take a bow). He had an artist weld him a Welsh dragon out of iron, which he used as the emblem for his bar. And he pressed upon my sister and I, most earnestly and unrelentingly, for years and years, the idea that we had to read everything Sharon Penman had written about the medieval history of Wales. We resisted, as children and teenagers do, but the day came where I’d finally had enough. I’d read his stupid book just to tell him I hated it – then he’d leave me alone.
Except I loved it. I cannot recommend her books highly enough. We started with Here Be Dragons, then Falls the Shadow, then the Reckoning and since then I have greedily devoured every single thing she ever wrote. As an historian, she writes so accurately that she footnotes any deviations she makes in timing or location for the sake of plot. As a first-class writer, she keeps you on the edge of your seat, even though you know how things turned out most of the time. She gives real, round life to historical characters. She particularly loves writing about Henry II and Elenor of Aquitaine and their “Devil’s Brood” which included Richard Lionheart and Evil King John Lackland. I’ve read them all, except this guy. Also, the rest of his mates – everything she ever wrote – are in Australia, on my ex-boyfriend’s bookshelf. I will rebuild the collection, but in the meantime – I want to read this one!!
5. This air fryer:
I am a complete sucker for anything fried. Fritters, chips, bhajis, pakoras, patties – you name it, I will put it in my mouth and eat the hell out of it. This gentleman costs only 200 (!), and can not only offer me a lifetime of happiness, but can also cook a batch of fries on A TABLESPOON OF OIL. If you need further reasoning, you have no business being here.
Now, had I have purchased everything on this list, I would have spent at least 250eu. And there is no doubt that I would have bought it all before I started this challenge. And next month, there would have been some equally tantaslising products I “needed”. And here you see where my money was going each and every month. And why it’s a damn good thing I am keeping my purse shut.
Speaking of purses, I GOT MY BOND BACK!!!! Finally, I cannot believe it’s over!
BONUS Travel Tip: If you find yourself in York, strolling along “Grape” Lane (which was called Grope Lane until a few hundred years ago, or less. It was thought that the original, bawdier name would deeply offend the visiting Queen Victoria should her royal eyes have fallen upon it. God knows what they did with the prostitutes who gave the street its name) do yourself a favour and go visit this restaurant: El Piano. It’s vegan, ALL gluten free and home to some of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted! This pig smashed her hooves in all sorts of joyful things and wore such a permanently delighted expression that her similarly impressed (gluten-and-meat-eating) boyfriend secretly took pictures of pig in unflattering, cheek-bulging ecstasy. The fritters are to die for, as are the felafel salad, the baby burger, the currant chutney, the mathematical chips, the quinoa-pineapple salad and whatever that purple thing was. I ordered so much food that the chef came out to warn me these were all adult portions. “Bring them to me!” I commanded, before gobbling them all up. Best of all, they sell kits so you can re-create some of the goody goodness at home!