Larry: When Debra asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told her I wanted an induction cooker. I saw my father cooking with one. It’s like a hotplate, but heats food with magnetic induction that directly heats the cooking vessel, so the pot can heat food rapidly. You can also set it to exact temperatures and cooking times, so it will turn off automatically, even if you forget to come and turn it off.
Debra and I have been eating a lot of organic brown rice recently (our favorite is Super Lucky Elephant jasmine brown rice) and even though we set the timer, we’ve both been burning it about half the time. So I thought this would a good Christmas present for us and Debra agreed. We weren’t burning it horribly, but we were missing that exact moment when it was perfectly done.
The problem was that using an induction cooker requires using a cooking vessel made of a ferromagnetic metal, such as cast iron, or some stainless steels. And all of Debra’s cookware was ceramic.
We needed to buy the cooker and buy a pot. So Debra said she would buy the cooker for me for Christmas, and I offered to buy the pot as Debra’s Christmas gift.
We did some research and found that the best cooking vessel for us to buy to use with the induction cooker was a cast iron pot with a porcelain enamel finish on the inside. But this was easier said than done.
We went shopping one day and went to about six stores, but none of them had the pot we wanted in the right size and color. They were either the wrong size or the wrong color. But we did narrow our search down to wanting a 3.5 quart white cast iron porcelain enamel Dutch oven.
I asked Debra what the perfect pot would be. She said, “Well if we were in India cooking rice, the perfect pot would be metal and encrusted with jewels.” [And as we were writing this, Debra searched for “Indian Rice Pot” online and found one made from stainless steel decorated with stones! She had just made up that description and had not actually seen one in this lifetime.] Because we were making rice almost every day and it is a beneficial staple of our diet, Debra wanted a special, beautiful pot would exhalt and honor the rice.
Debra: A few days later I had the idea that I needed to go to Babies R Us to do some research for a client.
Babies R Us is in a shopping center with other stores. I drove my car over toward Babies R Us and turned down an aisle and parked.
I walked up the aisle and into the store and as I looked around I realized I was in the wrong store! “This isn’t Babies R Us!” I said to myself. It was Marshall’s, a store with discount clothing and housewares, including cookware.
“Ah!” I thought, “Maybe the pot is here!”
But I had research to do, so I went to Babies R Us. And the product I needed to look at wasn’t there.
So I went back to Marshall’s. And, of course, there was a the perfect pot: a Le Creuset pot, cast iron with purple porcelain finish! My favorite color! Just now I found it online. The color is called “cassis”—named after a sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants. It’s a 3 1/4 quart “Soup Pot.” $360.
But there at Marchall’s, the purple Le Creuset pot with lid was $150.
Now we had been looking for pots in the $50 range, but this was THE POT!
I came home and told Larry I had found the pot, but it was $150 dollars. He said that was more than he was planning to spend. (But I knew it was THE POT).
The next morning, I got up and searched on my computer for 3.5 quart white cast iron Dutch oven. And I found one. It was only available in stores, I couldn’t order it online. But fortunately, the page indicated that they were in stock at one of my local Target stores, about an hour’s drive away.
Larry: When Debra showed me the exact 3.5 quart white cast iron Dutch oven we had decided would be adequate, and it was only $23.99, I said, “Let’s go get it!”
Debra said, “Well, it’s not the perfect pot but it’s adequate.”
And we agreed we should buy this adequate pot instead of the perfect one, just because it cost less.
Later that morning Debra and I drove for an hour to Target, through Christmas traffic.
We got to the store and they didn’t have it. We went to customer service and two Target employees worked with us for an hour trying to find this pot in a shelf or in the back or in another store. They didn’t give up until all possibilities were exhausted. This pot just did not exist at any Target.
In an attempt to save money, we had just spent an hour driving to Target, an hour at Target, and it would be another hour driving home from Target. So between us we had lost six work hours we could have been paid for.
This sort of thing had happened to us so many times in the past that I finally had said to Debra years ago, “Are you sure this is the one you really want, and not just the adequate one?” I would not let her settle for something that was not the one she loved the most because we would always have to take it back when we found the one she really wanted. And here I had done it again!
I had to laugh. There was no way we could get that 3.5 quart white cast iron Dutch oven, because it wasn’t the right one for us.
Debra: By this time we were starving. We wanted to have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants and the Christmas traffic was just standing still. Finally we got to the restaurant and had lunch.
With energy restored, I said, “Let’s go to Marshall’s. I want to show you the purple pot.”
Larry: When I saw the purple pot, I thought, “It’s gorgeous.” And it was the right size. Everything was right about it. It was even purple. It couldn’t get more perfect than this. But I didn’t have $150.
Debra and I talked about it and we ended up both contributing to the cost. We bought the pot as a gift to each other. Debra was very happy and so was I.
Let this be a lesson for those who go searching for the adequate. Don’t bother. Better to aim for perfection.