It's the most wonderful time of the year
December 9, 2014 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Drew Magary brings us this year's edition of The Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog.

Previously on MetaFilter: 2012, 2013.
posted by sparklemotion (89 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
A Lapkin!? Have I been embarrassing myself in fancy social situations for years by misplacing my napkin on my lap? I should have let my mother send me to cotillion club to get my couth sorted.
posted by ghharr at 1:31 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, a hot chocolate pot. Because a fondue pot wasn't quite useless enough. Hey, you know what other kind of pot is good for making hot chocolate? A POT. Like, any regular pot that you already have.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:32 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]



A Lapkin!? Have I been embarrassing myself in fancy social situations for years by misplacing my napkin on my lap?


A Serviette is a table napkin no?
posted by The Whelk at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thank you so much for starting this thread. But, they have great table cloths! Freedom country styling. Daddy Daddy I want a sweet potato fry chopper! I want the million dollar, make your own soda water thingy, but wait I don't drink that!
posted by Oyéah at 1:38 PM on December 9, 2014


I love the first comment at the bottom....

Six years ago my then 3 year old son saw the Santa version of the snowman pan in the catalog and asked me to get it. I did because I was 7 months pregnant and felt guilty about this being his last Christmas without a sibling. WORST DECISION. First, the fancy ass decorations in the catalog were done with fruit leather and fondant. Yeah, that wasn't happening. Second, you have to glue the sides together and let them "set" before frosting your monstrosity so the cake dries out beautifully. And, finally, I ended up full on pregnancy fueled crying at 2 AM because Santa looks like a lawn jockey in white face after a bender. It scared the crap out of the kid (here have a slice of face and arm!) and tasted like sand. I tried it again a few years later with one of their expensive mixes and less frosting - still nasty and creepy.
posted by slogger at 1:38 PM on December 9, 2014 [21 favorites]


So this is what the snowman cake is supposed to come out like. I wonder what they did with what must have hundreds of imperfect snowmen, the ones that list like a sinking ship or left their faces stuck to the pan. I hope they were delicious
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:43 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Seriously if I saw one of those on a table I would immediately bite the head off like the ears on a chocolate rabbit.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:44 PM on December 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


That snowman?

Simply bake and then massacre as you try to separate it from the pan without any success whatsoever.

You'd have to grease the pan with 10W-30 to make the damn snowman cake come out in one piece.
posted by GuyZero at 1:48 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


everybody had matching towels: "So this is what the snowman cake is supposed to come out like"

You know how they say don't eat the yellow snow? Double for the brown snow.
posted by Runes at 1:49 PM on December 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


I will admit to enjoying the WS and Sur La catalogs when they come in the mail (although I've never bought anything from them) and I will page through the Martha Stewart magazine in the check out lane. What can I say - holidays of the traditional sort were really big in my family when I was growing up and I'm as nostalgic as the next person. Now I enjoy imagining having all the time and money to actually make all the dishes and entertain all the people one could with the items they sell (no, I don't actually have the time and money). But honestly, I don't feel particularly diminished because I can't. It's just an idle pleasure for me, like looking at cars I can't buy or dresses I can't fit into.

I do agree with this sentiment though:

But this is ALWAYS the dream they sell at W-S and Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart and any other doily mill: the idea of EFFORTLESSNESS.

But again, I think most people (women at least), know it's not effortless. That is sort of why it's fun to page through these catalogs and magazines - there's no clean up involved.

Eh, it's hard for me to grinch about the holidays, even though they're so commercial. I'm never going to buy anything from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog (or even the J. Peterman catalog), but it's fun to flip through, if only to see how some folks are spending their money.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:50 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lest you think he's only a WS hating holiday grinch, he did say this last night on Twitter:

I say this will all sincerity: This Kelly Clarkson Christmas song ["Underneath my Tree"] belongs in the canon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFBtmS4hTeA …

What I'm saying is that under that grinchiness is the soul of a righteous man.

You know how they say don't eat the yellow snow? Double for the brown snow.

Not that it's a something you can calculate exactly, but I feel comfortable going with more than double on a warning for brown snow.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:54 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


Dig fluffy dishes
And turn my sandwiches
And ham with the back of my
Spoonula!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:55 PM on December 9, 2014 [15 favorites]


I'm never going to buy anything from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog (or even the J. Peterman catalog), but it's fun to flip through, if only to see how some folks are spending their money.

I've actually had more fun glancing through the catalog for the Vermont Country Store for much the same reason - except I'm more likely to afford and/or enjoy the Vermont Country Store's offerings.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:56 PM on December 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


I was immediately intensely disturbed by those mushroom logs. THANKS HANNIBAL. I ONLY WATCHED YOU FOR FOUR EPISODES BUT I GUESS YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE ME.
posted by yasaman at 1:57 PM on December 9, 2014 [24 favorites]


How do you slice the idiotic snowman cake? You don't.

Or you do, and then your children have nightmares for a week about Mommy cutting into Frosty with the butcher knife.

This is the unexpected consequence of cakes made to look like cute adorable characters: seeing Mommy suddenly confronted with cutting into them. I've been really enjoying finding out which of my friends and family will take Doc McStuffins to the other room for disassembly, and which of them will just give Elmo a frontal lobotomy in front of the children.
posted by pie ninja at 1:57 PM on December 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


> Ina Garten Hanging Out With A Damn Turkey

"Do youuu come with the turkey?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:58 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


How do you slice the idiotic snowman cake? You don't.

Or you do, and then your children have nightmares for a week about Mommy cutting into Frosty with the butcher knife.


Just tell them it's a cellular peptide cake.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:05 PM on December 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


You know how they say don't eat the yellow snow?

I used to tell my younger brother that Yellow Snow was banana flavored.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:08 PM on December 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


Someone in the comments linked to this amazing knife, which looks like the kind of thing you would get for a friend who still has eight fingers left after their mandoline experiments. Humans developed handle technology hundreds of thousands of years ago, but no, let's definitely ignore the sacrifices of all those fingers that came before us. The only way it could be better would be if it were an actual hunk of obsidian and a knapper for $250, so that you can truly DIY the most paleo of organic tools.

if this is actually the best knife I'm sorry but come on
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:09 PM on December 9, 2014 [31 favorites]


Re the Croissonuts: Hey, you know what? I'm selling my own cronut knockoff, too. Pay me $80, and I'll come to your house with a bag of flour, and then I'll kick you in the shins. The kick is gluten-free.

Someone has a case of the Grinchydays....
posted by Lynsey at 2:11 PM on December 9, 2014


actually who am I kidding, I would totally buy a Clovis Point kit, knapping is super fun and who doesn't like to bash rocks together, please make a beautiful kit out of this, Williams Sonoma
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:11 PM on December 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


Not that it's a something you can calculate exactly, but I feel comfortable going with more than double on a warning for brown snow.

Yeah, y'know how people are supposed to clean up after their dogs on the sidewalks? Somehow people in Chicago think snow exempts them from that. Like somehow the snow is gonna make the dog poo magically disappear. (Then March or April comes around, the snow melts, and the sidewalks become a different kind of un-walkable.)
posted by dnash at 2:12 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I know sometimes it dribbles down the side when you pour the chocolate out, making you want to kill God. But if you use a ladle, you'll be fine. The Williams-Sonoma catalog will not rest until you need a separate pot for every single goddamn thing you make. QUICK! SOMEONE FETCH ME THE GOAT CHEESE FRITATTA SKILLET! No, not the Western Frittata skillet, you MORON!

Pay me $80, and I'll come to your house with a bag of flour, and then I'll kick you in the shins. The kick is gluten-free.

If someone built me a fallout shelter and told me there was three months' worth of steaks inside, and I went in to find only 12 steaks, I would push that person out of my shelter and let them be exposed to the incoming hydrogen flame blast


Between these and the description of Ann Coulter in the Amazon reviews a few threads below my face is melting off in delicious schadenfreude. I am so comforted to know that someone else out there is as filled with hate and misanthropy as I am right now.
posted by sunset in snow country at 2:12 PM on December 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


A colleague pointed out that since it's stainless steel you can't even use rocks to start a fire with that fancy handle-less knife.

Sheesh.
posted by GuyZero at 2:18 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Because a fondue pot wasn't quite useless enough.

Wut?
posted by effbot at 2:19 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


With him regarding the outrageous price of the lobster mac & cheese, but not on this point:

Why does mac and cheese get a pass from the "don't put cheese on seafood" rule?

Not sure how much of a rule that really is, anyway. Oh, I know it gets cited a lot, but there's lots of exceptions, and not just new-fangled avant-garde rule-breaking dishes, but long-standing traditional ones too. First of all, let's throw out all shellfish from the rule, which get pretty regularly paired with cheese. "Don't put cheese on fish" might be slightly closer, but even then there's many exceptions. Lox and cream cheese, just for starters. Then there's... Wait, what was I saying? Why yes, I would like lox and cream cheese as a starter; thanks for asking!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:21 PM on December 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


So I like to imagine that he created this catalog just to fuck with rich trust-fund babies. "Tell them it's made in Portugal. They'll shit their dicks for Portuguese cotton."

Love Drew Magary.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:26 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I posit that every demonstration/exhibition video posted on metafilter today would be better with Derude - Sandstorm as the soundtrack.

Case in point: The Del Ben Primitive Knife (mute left vid)
posted by sparklemotion at 2:28 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Somebody tell Drew Magary that Jacquard is a style of weaving, not some fancy French guy (well, not since he died in 1834). It's just a woven pattern.

I mean, mock the fanciness all you like, that apron is over priced, but it's not that ridiculous. Weaksauce, that one.
posted by maryr at 2:28 PM on December 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


The Vermont Country Store is the best place to buy pajamas for your grandmother (or other unsightly female relatives).
posted by maryr at 2:33 PM on December 9, 2014


I've actually had my eye on some of the Vermont Country Store's candy selection for reals.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:40 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Their cotton turkey stuffing bags make excellent hop socks for homebrewing, especially at the outlet mall where they were two for 90c.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2014


"They'll shit their dicks for Portugese cotton."


it's funny cause it's truuuuuuuuue.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have the W&S Easter Bunny version of that snowman cake pan. Getting the two halves of the bunny out of the pan and putting them together with frosting is a bit touch and go, but it usually works out. Frosting the bunny is the real problem. Also, the actual cake ends up tasting kind of disgusting. I think the recipe was formulated primarily for its structural properties. I'll usually put a picture of the bunny cake on Facebook, and people there seem real impressed, but the bunny doesn't get as many in-person likes and compliments from those who attend Easter dinner and eat a slice of lousy-tasting cake.
posted by Area Man at 2:51 PM on December 9, 2014


You can't just leave your shiitake log exposed to the elements like that. Your mushroom risotto will end up being 50 percent cat dander that way.

I eagerly await an AskMe about such a dilemma.
posted by TwoStride at 2:52 PM on December 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


I was enjoying the mockery until he made fun of the spoonula. Granted: it's a really stupid name. But that aside, it's one of my most used baking tools and you can have my spoonula when you pry it from.. well, you know the rest. I've actually bought several extra and give them as gifts and they are generally well-received.

But as for most of the rest..
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:06 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


The hot chocolate pot seems like an awesome passive-aggressive holiday gift for someone you don't like. Talk about a unitasker.

Cracking up over the extra-slow juicer. Efficiency's for poors. We are rich with time.
posted by trunk muffins at 3:09 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


The thing that enrages me about Williams Sonoma type catalogs is that I don't want to be the sort of person who loves the tightly-curated consumer "lifestyle" that you can buy from these catalogs ... but then the catalog arrives at my house and I LOVE ALL THE THINGS. I am worst with this about Pottery Barn. I mock people who love Pottery Barn and buy themselves a "lifestyle" at Pottery Barn and yet I KEEP BUYING THEIR STURDY, WELL-MADE, REASONABLY-PRICED FURNITURE. When Target launched its Pottery Barn knock-off line they sent me the launch circular and I was like "Oh, sure, Target, stereotype me as your target demographic for knock-off Pottery Barn" and then I flipped through the circular and I was like GODDAMMIT TARGET NOW I HAVE TO VISIT YOU AND BUY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR STUPID POTTERY BARN KNOCK OFFS.

I manage to mostly refrain from my impulses to buy 500 coordinating kitchen towels to rotate with the seasonal ambiance and rubbed brass gas-light style lamps for every room. But it constantly makes me crazy that my unique and (ideally) non-commercialized taste is TOTALLY CAPTURED AND COMMERCIALIZED AND MARKETED TO ME so successfully by not just one but multiple stupid catalogs.

In fact this was pretty much the plot of an entire episode of Friends. "Because this stuff is everything that is wrong with the world! And it’s all sitting up in my living room and all I can think about is how I don’t have that lamp!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:11 PM on December 9, 2014 [34 favorites]


I do have a hot chocolate pot (not sure if it's the Williams Sonoma one or not) that I got as a gift and I love hot chocolate but I've carried that thing through five or six moves and I haven't opened it once. I don't think it was given to me with passive-aggressive intent, but I have to wonder...
posted by Jeanne at 3:18 PM on December 9, 2014


I once had to buy something from Williams-Sonoma for Xmas. It was horrible. I went on a trip to a salt glacier and promised an engineer friend's wife that I'd bring a salt block back for him for Xmas. He'd always wanted a really nice one and in those days I had rigged up a table saw as a rock saw, so I said, "No problem." (It was cute - all through my trip he kept sending these forlorn e-mails asking if it was possible for me to bring him back some salt, to which I kept replying, sorry, no can do this trip.)

I got him a beautiful chunk of salt that I planned on shaping up really nice, and then I dropped the goddamn thing going through customs. It shattered into a hundred pieces.

When I called to tell her, it sent her into a panic. She had gotten him a nice display case for it, and also a brochure for a trip to go see the salt caves in Austria - the salt block was supposed to be the centerpiece of her Xmas present.

I felt terrible, but I was in Houston at the time, so I spent the next few days calling every geologist, salt tectonics specialist, mud logger, and driller I knew: did anybody have a decent sized chunk of salt they'd picked up in the Gulf area they'd be willing to part with? Nope, no, no. Until someone's wife mentioned that they sold these big pink salt blocks at Williams Sonoma, would that work?

I had to drive all the way into Houston, but there it was. Apparently they sell them for grilling. Had to pay 40 bucks for the fucker, and it was pink, but Xmas was saved.

. . . . until a few months later when he was at Cabela's (a hunting and fishing store), and noticed they sold what looked exactly like his salt block. . .for 20 bucks.
posted by barchan at 3:24 PM on December 9, 2014 [12 favorites]


Hot chocolate pot? Psssh. It needs to come with a worthless electronic gadget to be really awful. Like the one with a frother my wife and I received as a well-intentioned gift.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:25 PM on December 9, 2014


Oh my god. The mushroom log is the perfect thing. It is the absolute pinnacle of all Williams-Sonoma ever - they are literally selling yuppies a goddamn rotten stick with a little $189 glass hat for it.

Bwa ha ha ha ha. No one on reddit or the SA forums ever trolled anyone this hard. Hats off, Williams-Sonoma. I would say "you win the internet," but this is much broader than all that.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:31 PM on December 9, 2014 [21 favorites]


There are many signposts of adulthood. One is when you stop caring about presents and start wishing everyone could just enjoy Christmas without all of the horseshit surrounding it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:31 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is the unexpected consequence of cakes made to look like cute adorable characters: seeing Mommy suddenly confronted with cutting into them.

It's a great life lesson: no matter how cute you are, someone wants to cut you up and eat you.
posted by Renoroc at 3:39 PM on December 9, 2014


Hah, look at all this overpriced bullshit for assholes.

sees mushroom log

OK you know what if somebody got me this for Christmas I would pretty much love them forever.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:43 PM on December 9, 2014 [15 favorites]


From that Primitive knife's page:

"Italian designer Michele Daneluzzo took inspiration from Stone Age flint tools to create this eye-catching minimalist knife. Formed from one petal-shaped piece of steel, it serves as a versatile utility knife for chopping and slicing vegetables, herbs, fish and meats and can be sharpened like a common kitchen knife."

Fuck you too, knife.
posted by angerbot at 3:53 PM on December 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


I was disappointed to find that Spoonula did not come with fangs and a black cape. Maybe they're extra.
posted by briank at 4:11 PM on December 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


sees mushroom log

call your doctor about that
posted by jonmc at 4:11 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Williams Sonoma near my place is closing (moving to a new "Lifestyle Center") so everything in the store is 20% off. I swung in to pick up some "I see you once every two years and only know you like wine and penguins" type gifts for extended family members. While I was there, I found a set of skull ice cube makers. I figured it'd be fun to make them with my four year old and when I brought them home, he was suitably interested in filling up the ice cube molds and putting them in the fridge while I explained how freezing works. Parent of the year, right here.

The next morning, he woke me up at 5am to open the freezer and get out the skulls. Blurry eyed and slightly confused as to what was happening, I did so and put the skull ice cubes in a glass with water. He then drank the water, yelled "Now I Have Skull Power!", flexed, and rammed his head into my nuts.

Luckily, I had something on hand to help reduce the swelling.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:31 PM on December 9, 2014 [186 favorites]


metafilter: frosting the bunny is the real problem
posted by hearthpig at 4:36 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


The hot chocolate pot seems like an awesome passive-aggressive holiday gift for someone you don't like. Talk about a unitasker.

Unitasker? Nonsense. I have three of them myself, only one of which is used for hot chocolate. One is full of mercury (for dipping, obviously) and the other I use for carefully pouring forth the lightly-chilled blood of my enemies.
posted by The World Famous at 5:09 PM on December 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


Dammit, robocop is bleeding, now I'm sitting here in the airport laughing like a madman!
posted by wintermind at 5:27 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sharp like a common kitchen wench.
posted by Oyéah at 5:54 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Barchan, I really hate to tell you that you could have gone to the farm supply store, or ordered online, and got a salt lick for $9.00

One year a couple of friends and I got twelve dollar store tchotchkes for a party as gift-aways, and that Christmas the catalog came out with the exact same dust-catcher priced at fifty bucks! Which just goes to show that tacky knows no social barriers.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:10 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't tell whether I'm relieved to be a Jewish non-xmas partaker or embarrassed that I have so many fancy-cooking chotchkes. Many from when I dumpster-dived while living in a loft over Sur La Table's warehouse, but I grew up near Lehman's (PA Dutch country store) and went to school near the Vermont Country Store.
The current weirdest? Silicone-rubber/plastic, milk/meat/pareve color-coordinated gallon-can paint stirrers. Not primarily for kitchen use. Ahem. Why don't they come in a 5-gallon pail size?
For sheer one-purpose-ness: Spatzle press.
All-around useful: Stainless-steel ball bearings. Pie weights and to scour the insides of bottles where the brush won't fit.
What-were-they-thinking? category: Solid copper spring clothespins. Can't use on anything that gets wet - they leave verdigris marks on fabric.
posted by Dreidl at 7:40 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don't fall for BIG SPOONULA's sales pitch.

I have invented a new way of eating, and I love it. A Spoonula, a pair of scissors, and kitchen tongs. Anything can be prepared, served, and eaten with just these.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:11 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


The current weirdest? Silicone-rubber/plastic, milk/meat/pareve color-coordinated gallon-can paint stirrers. Not primarily for kitchen use. Ahem. Why don't they come in a 5-gallon pail size?

Wait, what's the "Ahem"? What are you doing with these paint stirrers? Where are you putting these paint stirrers that you need to keep track of kosher uses?! WHAT COMES IN 5 GALLON PAILS?!?
posted by maryr at 8:22 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Now I Have Skull Power!
posted by sparklemotion at 8:51 PM on December 9, 2014


Spoonulas are actually incredibly useful tools if you do much baking or general kitchen stuff involving bowls of goop.

That primitive knife thing would probably be useful for chopping herbs, like a mezzaluna.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:41 PM on December 9, 2014


The difference between the 'primitive knife' and a mezzaluna appears to be an order of magnitude in price and, thanks to that, I'm now browsing the Joseph Joseph catalogue, which seems to set off all my "hey, that would be useful and fit in a small kitchen" tics.
posted by frimble at 11:04 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Another possibility concerning the knife is that it looks reminiscent of certain uluit.

Perhaps your average MeFite just doesn't spend as much time scraping the hides of marine mammals as the gourmands at Williams Sonoma do.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:09 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


Don't uluit generally have handles, though, giving them better leverage and less chance of slicing a finger than the Williams-Sonoma knife?
posted by frimble at 11:23 PM on December 9, 2014


Yes, though the distance that the handle gives from the cutting surface is pretty widely variable and it looks like the Williams Sonoma knife is reasonably wide and grippable on the side you are expected to hold. Of course I'm not really serious in suggesting that Williams Sonoma intends it to be used to scrape blubber from walrus skins but it isn't automatically inherently bad design to have a rounded-blade knife that is gripped from the edge opposite the cutting surface.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:12 AM on December 10, 2014


That knife reminds me of the stylings of semi-abstract vibrators designed not to look like cocks
posted by NoraReed at 1:34 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have the spoon-spatula thing, bought from Target or Bed Bath and Beyond without realizing it was any different than my other spatulas - I think it came in a set. It is seriously The Best for getting gloopy cake batter out of the bowl without letting any of the precious, precious drops of future cake go to waste. But you can't make me say that 'spoo****a' word, nope.
posted by Mchelly at 6:20 AM on December 10, 2014


I just sent a link to this entire thread to someone on my Facebook feed who used to do package picking for Williams-Sonoma. She already loved the Gothamist thread and was posting about that; I thought the enhanced snark would also amuse her.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:00 AM on December 10, 2014


Hee - just shared the MeFi link with a second person on my Facebook feed for the same reason, and then it struck me that the way I was talking about how finely-tuned our snark is was the same tone that Wililams-Sonoma uses in its catalog.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:07 AM on December 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


The thing that enrages me about Williams Sonoma type catalogs is that I don't want to be the sort of person who loves the tightly-curated consumer "lifestyle" that you can buy from these catalogs ... but then

Count me among the "but then" crowd as well. I probably make a comment like this every year but will do it again anyway: my biggest problem with the imaginary world in which someone gifts me something expensive that I would find ridiculous from the William-Sonoma catalog is that there is plenty of expensive stuff in there that I don't find ridiculous that I would totally love to receive.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:14 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


See, though, the beauty is that the stuff that is expensive-but-ridiculous is SO ridiculous that it's an easy target.

(I note with some glee that they are still selling gift sets of multicolored artisinal jute twine for about $15 a pop. Congratulations, you just paid fifteen bucks for STRING.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:20 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


That mushroom log is like a chia pet.

And it does seem kinda cool.
posted by sio42 at 7:21 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


my biggest problem with the imaginary world in which someone gifts me something expensive that I would find ridiculous from the William-Sonoma catalog is that there is plenty of expensive stuff in there that I don't find ridiculous that I would totally love to receive.

I hear you, MCM. I got a little defensive when he started making fun of the cakelet pans because, ok, the word cakelet is stupid, but Nordic Ware is The Shit.
posted by maryr at 8:00 AM on December 10, 2014


Williams-Sonoma seems like low-hanging fruit for a full-on crockpot of haterade that isn't even that well-heated. It's like, "Here, try this bowl of tepid beef stew."

Also, note to writer, way too many exclamation points and italics. Holy Christ. I know you're trying to be all Thug Kitchen, but you'll notice that Thug Kitchen doesn't use italics or exclamation points. At all.
posted by blucevalo at 8:07 AM on December 10, 2014


You can get the mushroom logs cheaper from sellers on Amazon. There's also all kinds of DIY info to google.

That's the thing with places like Williams Sonoma. Hardly anything they sell is exclusive to the chain, and it's pretty much always cheaper elsewhere. Heck, that Breville Oracle espresso machine, which WS has generously marked down from $2500.00 to the low low price of $1999.95, only shaves four cents off the price listed on the Breville website.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:09 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


At least my home town of New Canaan got a shout out.
posted by Horselover Fat at 12:55 PM on December 10, 2014


Lobster mac and cheese, hmmm, not one I would have singled out. It tends to be expensive no matter who you buy it from. Here's a 2 1/2 pound casserole of it for $62.95 for example from Hancock Lobster.

(But then, my secret addiction is the over priced but oh so tasty WS Sloppy Joe starter. )
posted by gudrun at 1:09 PM on December 10, 2014


I'm pretty sure I've bought frozen lobster mac & cheese for two from Safeway for about $10.

I think it was lobster. It might have been crab. And if it was lobster I couldn't swear it wasn't langostino.

Does it really matter what crustacean it is if you're drowning it in gooey cheese sauce?
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:31 PM on December 10, 2014


Or, indeed, cooking it from frozen?

Lobster is expensive (in places where lobsters aren't easily found) because they're shipped live, in a heavy shell. Chopped up, thrown into a prepackaged casserole, and frozen, there's no reason it should be any more expensive than anything else in the freezer section, assuming this processing is all done in Maine or Nova Scotia or whatever and not, like, Colorado.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:37 PM on December 10, 2014


Does it really matter what crustacean it is if you're drowning it in gooey cheese sauce?

I thought that was considered inhumane.
posted by maryr at 3:37 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


help you assholes sent me to the vermont country store and now I am about to spend $100 on Olde Fashioned Christmas Candy

"There was a time when lollipops where anything but boring and kids (as well as adults) were excited to find them stuffed in their stockings. These original barley pops rekindle that excitement by treating you to a subtle sweetness that won't send your taste buds into shock. The secret? Barley is part of the recipe, creating an even and enjoyable flavor."

doesn't that sound delightful
posted by KathrynT at 4:03 PM on December 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


oh my goodness licorice caramels

this is gonna be a great christmas
posted by KathrynT at 4:08 PM on December 10, 2014


I don't mind unabashedly paying top dollar for the best of the best, like Le Creuset cookware. What bothers me are people on TV pulling their "Gee, aren't I homespun and folksy?" act while they're making mashed potatoes in the $500 big Le Creuset pot.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:09 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh my goodness licorice caramels
From the link: "Licorice Caramels from Holland—Soft, Chewy, and Loaded with Flavor"

Just be aware that the Dutch can really hardcore when it comes to licorice. If they are indeed "loaded with flavor" they may be somewhat bolder than what you would expect from an American confection. Possibly by several orders of magnitude.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:24 PM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


help you assholes sent me to the vermont country store and now I am about to spend $100 on Olde Fashioned Christmas Candy

Do yourself a favor and get their pastel mints. They are exactly like these mints that my aunt used to have every year at Christmas and I would have to police myself so as not to down the whole box because I knew I would get into SO much trouble if I did (she always only got one box and there were TWENTY OF US IN THE HOUSE COME ON)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:31 PM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


.....welp looks like I'mma order a box myself now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:32 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's all ridiculous but the steaks are seriously insane. It comes out to around $38/lb. I can get local grass fed for half that.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:07 AM on December 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


For now, enjoy battling the mutant zombies on your own. Jerk.
posted by spinturtle at 9:53 AM on December 11, 2014


The hot chocolate pot is very pretty, and as I looked at the picture I was thinking, "This guy is dumb, doesn't he realize you can call it a hot chocolate pot and then use it to warm up basically any liquid?" And as someone who boils water for tea in a saucepan, you know, I wouldn't mind having a pretty wee little pot with a spout and everything. Takes up less room than an electric kettle, at least.

Then I looked at the price. Nope.
posted by Sara C. at 6:23 PM on December 13, 2014


That "hot chocolate pot" is really just a Dansk Kobenstyle "butter warmer." They claim it's "exclusive" to Williams-Sonoma, but, um, nope. (It's hard to see the spout in those pictures, but it's there in the front.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


...er, or not? The butter warmer is supposedly 3½ inches in diameter (which I would estimate to hold about a cup), while the hot chocolate pot supposedly holds a quart. Yet they look the same size, with the knobby teak handle about half the diameter. Hm.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:22 AM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


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