J u l y   2 0 0 1

Guest Writer

Now that's civilization ...
Anybody would
by Joan-Carrol Banks

love pots. Big pots, the heavy kind that feel like they're made out of space-age material and cost about a thousand bucks and you can set fire to things in them like they do in restaurants where things spontaneously burst into flame, bubbling in olive oil and brandy.

I love that long handle and the way you can flip things in them. Okay, not pots exactly. Skillets.

That's it -- skillets.

You need skill with a skillet to flip a fillet with dazzlingly deft dexterity. Now that's civilization. I'd feel civilized with a pot -- I mean skillet -- like that in my hand.

Don't get me wrong. I love pots, too.

Scrubbing pots, lifting lids of pots, pots that cost about a million dollars.

You know, the kind you find when you get to use some rich person's beach mansion for the weekend because your husband worked his butt off making his boss richer than ever. So boss, in an uncharacteristic burst of largesse, decides to throw a bone: "Sure, bring the kids, just make sure they don't scratch up the walls or jump on the furniture ..."

Or break the incredibly beautiful and delicate oversize blue-glass floaters artfully arranged in a bowl within grabbing distance of the three-year-old.

Your heart stops as he hurls one to the floor. Miraculously, it does not break. Everyone exhales, unpacks, goes to bed.

Then it's morning. You hear surf and wonder why. You open your eyes.

There are no piles of laundry at the foot of the bed. You're somewhere else. The comforter is goose down, the duvet matches the towels.

You wake up just enough, go to the kitchen to make coffee and for seconds at a time forget where you are because you're so disoriented from all the deep, restful sleep you got. But there are clues. There's no grit sticking to the bottoms of your bare feet, just gleamingly silky hardwood floors.

Slide, slide.

And you fumble around someone else's beautiful beach-mansion kitchen, feeling in vain for coffee, filters, coffee maker. Then you realize: Oh -- it'd be gauche to keep a coffee maker on the incredible pink and gray marble countertop.

Better check underneath.

So you pull on the gorgeous maple cabinetry and this giant drawer just glides out. See? It actually
glides. No 100-year-old paint to make the wood stick so you have to tug and yank and hurt yourself. No, it glides out like a fairy tale. People who have their nails professionally manicured really do need drawers like this, and of course they should have them, because ... well, just because. They go with the pots.

And the drawer is just high enough that you don't have to expend precious energy leaning too far down to retrieve things. Huge and roomy. You could take a nap in it, or hide from invading Vikings. It's full of pots. One for each size meal you could ever possibly make. And they all match.

You can picture the lady of the house strolling through some fancy gourmet cooking catalogue, saying to herself things like, "Carlo at Pazzo says these are his favorite," and, "Pazzo's pots. Ha-ha. How clever."

She talks to herself because her husband practically lives at the office, and since there's so much extra money lying around, she doesn't even need to consult with him on this -- she just taps the
picture with her long, taupe-colored nails as she orders the set on the phone.

On closer inspection, you realize no one really cooks with these pots. They're all new-looking, bought just for the beach mansion.

These are not pots and pans that you bang together to annoy your neighbors on New Year's eve. Huh-uh. These shine like silver bullets.

But I went ahead and banged two together anyway; very, very softly.

I mean you did, that is. Okay, it's a true story. I did. You would too. But I was very careful.

Did the pots have a tinny, Goodwill kind of clang? Certainly not. They made a very sonorous and resonant bong. Like expensive chimes.

"Time for breakfast, everybody."


The kids loved that. Anybody would.

See more from Joan-Carrol in our archives.

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