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10 January 2007

Not Trifling with the Cash

For Christmas, the Consort and I received a gift card to Target (ahem, “Tar-zhay”, as we’d say back in the salad days of graduate student family living). So early in the new year, we went to take a look at what we could spend this plastic cash on.

I go to Target once in a while, usually to get things like packs of cotton socks or underwear for the girls. But the Consort and I aren’t into buying things just because they’re on a shelf and purchase-able (I’ve mentioned this before, I know), so walking the aisles with him just to browse was an unusual experience.

Our original plan was to get one biggish thing with the gift, rather than “waste” it on a bunch of little stuff.

Furniture? They carry all sort of pressboard furniture, but 1) we don’t need furniture and 2) I don’t buy pressboard anymore. (Too heavy, too poorly made.) Appliances? Holy cannoli, folks, I hadn’t realized how many “must-have” appliances there are out there in shopper land. Coffee makers (we already have one, a gift from a one-month subscription to Gevalia coffee; we only take it out when guests are over), espresso makers (no), single cappuccino makers (nope, that’s what coffee shops are for), George Foreman grills (in lightweight, welterweight, and heavyweight sizes) (really more useful for meat eaters; we could use it to grill vegetables, but do we need a solo appliance for that?), slow cookers (again, mostly for meat eaters: the foods we eat don’t need hours of cooking to make them chewable), deep fryers (this elicited yelps of excitement from the girls when they realized this is what is used to make the cheese curds they looooove to eat but are only found at the Minneapolis Renaissance Faire; I admit, for a second, I thougt it would be good to own one, if only because as a Belgian it is my heritage to make damned good french fries, and I have yet to live up to that cultural responsibility: I have never made fries at home [The shock! The shame!]), juicers (including Jack La Lanne’s poewr juicer, of course), shredders, dicers, slicers, plus, don’t forget the chocolate fountain thingies, … it was too much. We were overwhelmed.

Then, I saw a small display of clearance Christmas items. This is not the year to be buying new Christmas stuff, since we want to minimize what we’ll be trekking out East. But! There, nestled between the Christmas dinner plates and the Santa cocoa mugs, was a box with a trifle dish. That was what I wanted! The Consort told me later he thought I was joking, like with all the rest of the things I pointed out to him. But heck, it was on sale for $7.49, and actually, I wasn’t joking.

We bought it, and I knew I’d have to prove its worth in our household soon. Last night we were having guests over for supper, so I knew that’d be my chance. It’s wintertime, so I didn’t want to make a typical trifle with fresh fruit, because there is no such thing as fresh berries in the winter in Iowa (or anywhere else in the Northern hemisphere). Lucky for me, there is the epicurious Web site. There, I found exactly what I was looking for: Autumn Trifle with Roasted Apples, Pears, and Pumpkin-Caramel Sauce.* What a success!

The trifle dish has been made worthy. And the gift card won’t be used for something big after all.

...Now, who needs new underwear?

*Yes, I'll mention it before some smart aleck does: it was full of dairy. But we were entertaining guests. There was no way around it.