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December 7, 2016 1:00 PM   Subscribe

it's time for this year's edition of everyone's favorite holiday tradition: The 2016 Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog!

Previously on Metafilter:

2014
2013
2012
posted by Old Kentucky Shark (125 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Eh, I get my vengeance just like my mom does, Call them William & Sonoma to watch their eyes twitch.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:04 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


There’s a reason no fondue pot on Earth has been used since 1988. Fondue is a complete pain in the ass.

LIES. We use our fondue pot constantly because cheese & bread for dinner is AWESOME.

I have three small children. You really think it’s a good idea for me to hand them very sharp forks and then put a fucking CAULDRON of boiling hot cheese on the table, within their reach? Are you fucking insane?

Absolutely not! I wouldn't dare share my delicious fondue with my small children, like pearls before swine.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2016 [45 favorites]


I notice Drew didn't go for the obvious joke on the Nordic Ware Star of David Bundt Pan.

I mean, Nordic Ware Hammer of Thor Pan I'd understand...
posted by leotrotsky at 1:07 PM on December 7, 2016


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:11 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Actually, we have fondue with the small child a couple times a month. Usually the only disaster is if he dunks the sausage in the cheese in the pot, instead of asking for some spooned onto his plate, cause then Uncle Vegetarian can't eat any more delicious cheese. But then we move on to chocolate, so WIN WIN!
posted by crush-onastick at 1:11 PM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?

One of many things really.
posted by GuyZero at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sundays in Paris with Jeffrey. We go to the Sunday market, make a nice lunch, drink a big bottle of Burgundy, and then take a long delicious nap. Heaven.

That’s great, Ina. I’m very happy for you. No really, I am. I think it’s great that your life is completely fucking unblemished.


Ina Garten appears to live the life of Siddhartha prior to his enlightenment. Which may explain why she avoids children with cancer.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:13 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I notice Drew didn't go for the obvious joke on the Nordic Ware Star of David Bundt Pan. . .

Instead it was some weird, vaguely anti-semitic joke about a price-setting cabal.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:14 PM on December 7, 2016


I feel like this kind of humor was funny maybe like ten or twelve years ago . .
posted by jfwlucy at 1:14 PM on December 7, 2016 [15 favorites]


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?

I'd thank you not to refer to the oeuvre of Jeff Koons that way.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:15 PM on December 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?

I'd guess the market is more like aspirational upper-middle class. Like they would do well to buy lists of Himalayan Pink Salt purchasers.
posted by thelonius at 1:15 PM on December 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?

Let me introduce you to the Robb Report.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:18 PM on December 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


I've never heard of 'Williams-Sonoma' before, but I'm now convinced it is a slice of heaven on Earth. Where I can pretend nothing matters and life a fantasy life with cute baked goods and fondue.
posted by Braeburn at 1:19 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?

Lobbyists might object to that characterization, but yes.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:21 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I own some stupidly expensive Le Creuset (gifts) that I love with the appropriate upper middle class zeal, but that tartan stuff is ugly and really only usable for the month of December. You're not going to throw that in the oven in July without feeling silly.

Fondue is delicious, though.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:23 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I own some stupidly expensive Le Creuset (gifts) that I love with the appropriate upper middle class zeal, but that tartan stuff is ugly and really only usable for the month of December. You're not going to throw that in the oven in July without feeling silly.

I don't think I understand the concept of seasonal cookware.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:25 PM on December 7, 2016 [25 favorites]


I wonder if Sandra Lee ordered the Star of David pan for the governor's mansion or if she's sticking to her traditional recipe.
posted by mama casserole at 1:28 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


All this talk of fondue reminds me of something from Brooklyn 9-9 last night. We were gifted a chocolate fountain that we never use. Scully and Hitchcock had one and then another with cheese. Could we put cheese in our fountain? Theoretically.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


They tried to take Nordic Ware down a peg, but Nordic Ware is a National Treasure. Their stuff is awesome and I don't know why it's weird that Bundt is a trademark. I need to head over to the Nordic Ware factory with their smokestack that looks like the place is the Willy Wonka of baking accessories and buy a bunch of $37 pans to avenge this tragic unfunny snark.

But they nailed it with the $40 pigs in a blanket. That's what we ate when we were out of food and money. Class it up all you want, it's still hot dogs in stale bread.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 1:30 PM on December 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


Yes, you must dress the children in tartan frocks.

You know how on TV, and according to real live people I know, sometimes even in actual real life, Christmas morning involves kids flying out of bed to rip open presents?

We never had that.

We weren't allowed to go downstairs (where the magic happens tree and all is) on Christmas morning because it had to be just so.

First, mom had to finish wrapping the presents, which always happened because the Christmas shopping was traditionally not done until they started booting people from the stores late night on Christmas Eve, so of course the only time to wrap them was the middle of night/Christmas morning. OK. So she'd yell at us to go back in our rooms and close the door so we wouldn't see her carrying presents with "from Santa" tags on them down to the tree. Then after that, she'd be downstairs tidying up so that none of our real life crap could be seen on the home videos of Perfect Christmas Morning™ while we waited at the top of the stairs. At some point, she'd yell at us to go put on our Christmas pajamas (tartan, naturally. this is where the tartan pull quote comes in) so we could be wearing the appropriate thing when we opened presents on video. You can't sleep in the things, they're horribly uncomfortable. "And go brush that rat's nest," she'd tell me, "you're going to be on camera." Of course, by this point we'd be getting hungry, and we could hear dad in the kitchen eating cereal and reading the paper, saying "at least let them come eat something!" while mom would yell back "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW SPECIAL CHRISTMAS IS, AND YOU DON'T LIFT A DAMN FINGER TO HELP EITHER I MIGHT ADD." At this point she'd shout up the stairs asking us whose stocking was whose, because she never remembered which was mine and which was my brother's. But then, finally, she'd poise herself at the bottom of the stairs with the camcorder and tell us to act surprised and happy, turn the thing on, and Christmas was allowed to start. As long as you came down the stairs right, because if you didn't she'd stop the tape and yell and rewind and we'd have to do it over again.

Anyway, if you ever get ahold of any of our family home videos, if you see smiling children in tartan, know it's all an elaborate lie.
posted by phunniemee at 1:30 PM on December 7, 2016 [94 favorites]


Sometimes people put the runner OVER the tablecloth, which increases the chances of your kid attempting a magic trick by 75%.

OK, now this was funny.
posted by oflinkey at 1:40 PM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I’m taking down Bambi’s mom and then making her head the centerpiece of my turkey dinner.

Shouldn't that be a nice venison roast for dinner?
posted by TedW at 1:41 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


phunniemee - that is almost exactly what still happens at my in-laws house on Christmas to this day. Her youngest kid is in his 30s. Except now none of the kids live there so we have to hide our eyes and all march up the stairs and then wait for everybody to arrive. Then the 'all clear' is called when everything is just exactly right. Finally we can come down and go to the stockings. There's a whole scripted program that goes along with it too. My house was a get up and go nuts house. The contrast is remarkable.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 1:42 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


“Inspired by the friendship of legendary French chef Eric Ripert and culinary rebel Anthony Bourdain, this premium 72% dark chocolate combines the pleasures of fair-trade organic cocoa with pure indulgence.”

Not entirely sure why, but this is the most appalling item in this year's guide, and it inspired a very pure if baffling in its intensity fury in me.
posted by yasaman at 1:43 PM on December 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


We, uh, had a family tradition of laying a belt across the top of the stairs. If you crossed the belt you'd be whipped with it. Saying it out loud now as an adult makes it sound kind of sinister. Anybody else have this tradition?
posted by poe at 1:44 PM on December 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


Anybody else have this tradition?

I think I'd remember that, so probably not
posted by aubilenon at 1:47 PM on December 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


“Special value… Tartan pattern appliquéd by hand and then refired to create a durable texture finish.”

Appliqué is a sewing technique and isn't the correct term for whatever process is used to apply a tartan pattern to a cooking pot, but I suppose "applied" didn't sound precious and artisanal enough to meet Williams-Sonoma standards.
posted by orange swan at 1:49 PM on December 7, 2016 [35 favorites]


I own some stupidly expensive Le Creuset (gifts) that I love with the appropriate upper middle class zeal, but that tartan stuff is ugly and really only usable for the month of December. You're not going to throw that in the oven in July without feeling silly.

Christmas in July! Plus all the jerks who start Christmas on All Saint's day, so really you get three months. Totally reasonable.

I occasionally experience a twinge of regret that we eloped since missed out on getting overpriced kitchenware that I covet but is not in the budget. I'm hoping everyone shares your opinion and they are ridiculously overstocked so there is a fire sale on them in January. I will have no shame using it year round. None!
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:52 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Anybody else have this tradition?

The tradition* in our home was to tie** the kids' door shut from the outside.

----------------
*This happened the one Christmas we spent at Dad's instead of at Mom's. Not sure what happened that year because the rule was Mom got us at Christmas, Easter, and over the summer. Maybe she couldn't afford airfare from North Fernbranch that year.

**Yes, with rope (rather than a belt). It was hard to tell from the inside of the room, but my guess is Dad used abut 500 yards of it, looping from door handle to door handle, criss-crossing the hallway, sheepshanks and half-hitches multiplying like rabbits.
posted by notyou at 1:52 PM on December 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?

I'd guess the market is more like aspirational upper-middle class. Like they would do well to buy lists of Himalayan Pink Salt purchasers.


Yes!

This has been an ongoing debate between my wife and I. If you're a tenth-of-a-percenter you've left this tier of aspirational status consumption way, way behind. WTF do you care what the staff uses to cook your food? You have set your sights on far more expensive status markers to consume.
posted by notyou at 1:56 PM on December 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


As someone who can cook, the copy that goes with the porchetta roast annoys the hell out of me: “Pork is rubbed with aromatics, then roasted using artisanal techniques.”

WTF is an "artisinal roasting technique"? Turn on oven, put pork in oven, leave it there a while. This completely screams "we can think of nothing special to say about this pork roast, so we're just going to throw the word 'artisinal' around so you can pretend to feel better about being too lazy to cook your own damn pork roast, which would have cost you a fraction of the $99.95 you paid for this."
posted by dnash at 1:56 PM on December 7, 2016 [21 favorites]


Is this what the rich do when they want to burn money on tasteless junk?

>I'd guess the market is more like aspirational upper-middle class.


For reference, my Christmas-ruining mom has one of those $80 wine bottle openers and she doesn't even drink.
posted by phunniemee at 2:06 PM on December 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


If you're a tenth-of-a-percenter you've left this tier of aspirational status consumption way, way behind. WTF do you care what the staff uses to cook your food? You have set your sights on far more expensive status markers to consume.

I've read that Gwyneth Paltrow has said on her website GOOP that she finds "off the beaten path" kitchen accessories at Williams-Sonoma, and she's certainly in the top one percent. There must be some very wealthy people who do at least some of their own cooking and/or want every single item in the house to meet some pretentious aspirational standard.
posted by orange swan at 2:07 PM on December 7, 2016


“Inspired by the friendship of legendary French chef Eric Ripert and culinary rebel Anthony Bourdain, this premium 72% dark chocolate combines the pleasures of fair-trade organic cocoa with pure indulgence.”

Not entirely sure why, but this is the most appalling item in this year's guide, and it inspired a very pure if baffling in its intensity fury in me.
posted by yasaman


It's worse than you think:
Good and Evil

The bar behind the most viral discussion of chocolate in history

Éclat Master Chocolatier Christopher Curtin teamed with Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin and culinary maverick Anthony Bourdain to create the Good & Evil Chocolate Bar. Fashioned from personally-selected, hand-picked pods of Peruvian Pure Nacional, a prized strain of cocoa thought to have been wiped out nearly 100 years ago, the Good & Evil Bar set off a conversation about chocolate that quickly went viral.
It wasn't "inspired" by them, it was partially created by them, and there's a weird element of self-congratulation about the whole thing, them single-handedly bringing back chocolate once thought to be extinct.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


I wonder if Sandra Lee ordered the Star of David pan for the governor's mansion or if she's sticking to her traditional recipe .


You leave Aunt Sandy alone, she has home problems.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm slightly horrified to have had this thought, but - reading this makes me realize why some people voted for Trump.

--

As for Christmas morning wake-up calls - no "everything has to be just so" kinds of things, fortunately; my parents were sane. But when my brother and I were in our teens and didn't wake up quite as quick as we used to, my father would wake us up on Christmas mornings by carrying the family dog into each of our rooms and dropping him into bed with us. Which on the one hand was cute, but on the other - waking to dog breath isn't always pleasant.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:11 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I remain skeptical of the Moscow mule mixers. I prefer sinus clearing ginger beer in my mules, and it seems weird to use a mixer that costs as much (or more) than the liquor. I'm sure it tastes good, but does it taste that good?
posted by ghost phoneme at 2:15 PM on December 7, 2016


You leave Aunt Sandy alone, she has home problems.

(second link NSFW, at least audibly.)
posted by dnash at 2:21 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd just like to say that WS has been on of the best performing stocks in my portfolio. It pays a nice dividend (almost aristocrat levels, which have risen every year since 2006), it treats employees and vendor chains well, they provide a solid retail experience to their target demographic, all in all, I'm a pretty big fan of WS.

That said, I love the hate-reviews of their catalogs. I laughed out loud reading this one. But...if I don't get that Dr. Jekyll wine decanter of doom, I could die. Right now. Dead.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:24 PM on December 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


A lot of the ranting was just plain wrong, so I thought I'd post the ultimate pointless gift, the leather-wrapped artisanal stone, but 1) someone in the comments over there beat me to it, and 2) they're sold out.
posted by effbot at 2:27 PM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Is there some kind of dark history associated with the Nordic Ware company that I don't know about? They make awesome pans. Sure, $36.95 might seem steep for a cake pan, but it'll last the rest of your life. Plus, the factory is in St. Louis Park, which has a large Jewish population (compared to the rest of the Twin Cities), so to me, it seems perfectly logical that they would make a Star of David pan. What am I missing? Is this like the cake pan equivalent of a meat raffle, where a local thing that everyone takes for granted looks bizarre to the outside world?

The time to go in for Nordic Ware is right after Christmas, when they have their clearance sale in the factory store. I picked up about $180 worth of pans for under $30. My only caveat is to never, EVER try to make an angel food cake in their Yule log pan. It won't rise, and then you'll spend two hours scrubbing carmelized sugar and egg yolk out of every tiny little crevice, of which there are hundreds.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:27 PM on December 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


I notice Drew didn't go for the obvious joke on the Nordic Ware Star of David Bundt Pan. . .

I mean, if the joke is that the bundt cake was invented by Jewish women in Minneapolis who then went to Nordic Ware and asked them to make a pan for the cake, which all took place about five blocks from where I'm sitting ...

Actually, I don't know what the obvious joke is. A star of David bundt pan makes total sense to me, and now I want one for Chanukkah.
posted by maxsparber at 2:27 PM on December 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


It wasn't "inspired" by them, it was partially created by them, and there's a weird element of self-congratulation about the whole thing

More like self-flagellation? "Combining the pleasures of 'good' food with the heavenly 'evil' of pure indulgence." So the "good" in the name refers to the fact that chocolate is delicious, and the "evil" refers to the fact that... uh... chocolate is delicious?
posted by mama casserole at 2:30 PM on December 7, 2016


Reading this thread made me realize how lucky I was to be the only child of lackadaisical tipplers. We'd get home from the annual Christmas Eve bash around midnight, Dad would pour himself a bourbon and my mom a Scotch, then declare "Its Christmas. Go." And I'd open all my presents and spend the whole night and well into Christmas Day assembling a slot-car track all over the living room while my folks slept off their hangovers. Then that afternoon Dad would strip all the crap off the tree and we'd put it in the burn barrel out back and roast marshmallows that smelled of pine and kerosene. Good times.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:31 PM on December 7, 2016 [38 favorites]


I sort of get it with the wine opener, but I also want to point out that handy-dandy openers and specialized slicers and dicers and things like that are a godsend for people who have trouble doing stuff with their hands, like if you have bad arthritis or hand tremors or something.

The goofy aerator though, that's just silly.
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:33 PM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Someone please remind the author that Bambi's mom would be a doe, and doe deer don't grow antlers.

(While you're at it, tell those clowns at Rankin-Bass that Rudolph's mom SHOULD have antlers. Jeez, hire a biologist or somethin')
posted by caution live frogs at 2:34 PM on December 7, 2016 [16 favorites]


I don't get the criticism of the Bundt pan either except that people love to make fun of hyper specific single-purpose kitchen items maybe? Those things are bulky and they don't nest for storage so if you buy a specifically themed Bundt pan for every occasion you're going to need to dedicate an entire corner of your kitchen to storing them. Like, I poked fun at Sandra Lee upthread but there is a certain elegance (of idea, not execution) in how she bought multiples of a plain angel food cake and used different food coloring and decorations to turn one of them into a Hannukah cake and another into Kwanzaa cake and a third into a Christmas cake.
posted by mama casserole at 2:37 PM on December 7, 2016


Well, I guess it's nice to see that at the end of an exhaustingly, relentlessly negative 2016, someone still has the wherewithal to get worked up and write a takedown of a retail housewares catalog. Does anyone really care at this point?
posted by gyusan at 2:37 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Per the comments in the original, *some* does do grow antlers due to hormone imbalance. Still, Bambi's mom is a specific (fictional, animated) individual animal, for whom we know this doesn't apply.
posted by Four Ds at 2:38 PM on December 7, 2016


Metafilter: So take your rabbit and suck your butt with it.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:38 PM on December 7, 2016


BitterOldPunk: As I read that, I'm hearing the mellifluous voice of Jean Shepherd in my head, so thank you for that!
(For a perfect facsimile, you would just need to change every utterance of "Dad" to "The Old Man".)
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:39 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mainly this is pissing me off because Porchetta on E 7th just closed for good.
posted by whuppy at 2:41 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Right, Sandra Lee has a good central message (it's the thought that counts, use what you have access to, be creative and think outside the box) but then she made..that.
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:44 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay, for all you Nordic Ware fans, can you please tell me what the secret is to getting the pans to release their cakes? I have this one--it wasn't my ideal purchase, as I'd preferred a smooth one without the basketweave pattern, but the rest of the form factor was exactly what I wanted. The cake ends up getting stuck in the pan, and cleaning the pan is an absolute nightmare. I can be digging at the grooves and divots for ages with everything from toothpicks to soft brushes. I was even a good little baker and followed the instructions that came with the pan with regards to prepping it, and it was still a repeated disaster.
posted by sardonyx at 2:46 PM on December 7, 2016


Is there some kind of dark history associated with the Nordic Ware company that I don't know about? ... Plus, the factory is in St. Louis Park, which has a large Jewish population (compared to the rest of the Twin Cities), so to me, it seems perfectly logical that they would make a Star of David pan. What am I missing?

The Star of David joke was a reference to some of this summer's social media postings by the president-elect of the United States of America that fell victim to Poe's Law.
Thirty-seven bucks? What kind of SHADY GLOBALIST CABAL set that price? Also, that cake pan is clearly in the shape of a sheriff’s badge. Clear as day, folks.
In Drew's shoes, I would have just gone with the sheriff's badge -- 2016 isn't a year where you can assume that jokes involving over the top anti-semetic conspiracy theories will be understood in that light.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:53 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had similar feelings recently reading the Bed Bath and Beyond flyer that showed up in my mailbox. It really opened a door to another world - a world where people have seasonal shower curtains, for example. This item was in there in a "festively wrapped" two-pack as "the perfect gift". Anyone who gets me that as a gift is fired from being my friend.
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:55 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who used to work as a buyer for Pottery Barn and she dreaded holiday season because it was like this annual knife fight between different factions in the company between kitsch and taste. Once, when walking around a Williams-Sonoma, she grabbed a turkey shaped gravy bowl where the neck and head came off but the tail and rest of the body formed the bowl. She took the lid off and said, "doesn't this look like a toilet? A toilet full of diarrhea? One of my coworkers THOUGHT THIS LOOKED CUTE"

and now I swear, I cannot walk past a turkey gravy bowl in any kitchen store on the holiday season and NOT think of a toilet full of diarrhea.

I also look at the annual Williams-Sonoma catalog and try to imagine the battle lines drawn in this new phase of The Eternal War.
posted by bl1nk at 2:56 PM on December 7, 2016 [18 favorites]


Okay, for all you Nordic Ware fans, can you please tell me what the secret is to getting the pans to release their cakes?

Butter heavily, then spray liberally Baker's Joy (or other probably mesothelioma inducing aersolized flour product). That pan you have there looks particularly challenging -- did you use an official "bundt" recipe, I have this book for some reason and it implies that there are recipe dependent parameters for bundtcess.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:58 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


So can anyone explain the Bundt cake thing to this puzzled Scandinavian? Because Wikipedia seems to say it was invented by the Nordic Ware founder in the fifties, but it looks exactly like what's called "kransform" in Swedish (krans = wreath) and that's way older than that (e.g. this cookbook from 1911 has about a dozen cake recipes that mentions a "kransform").
posted by effbot at 3:00 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a very large contingent of people with Scandinavian heritage in Minnesota, where NordicWare was founded. Like very large.

Bundt pans happened because folks of various european descents (including Scandinavia and German) liked to make fancy cakes in those sorts of styles, but the cast iron pans were (apparently) less ideal than the cast aluminum ones that NordicWare came up with.

Fun fact: Bundt pans weren't as popular as hoped, and almost got pulled off of the market until someone entered a cake called the Tunnel of Fudge, into a baking contest.
posted by sparklemotion at 3:11 PM on December 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


Williams-Sonoma is one of those places that makes me realize I am falling out of the middle class.
posted by srboisvert at 3:15 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Fun fact: Bundt pans weren't as popular as hoped, and almost got pulled off of the market until someone entered a cake called the Tunnel of Fudge, into a baking contest.

This makes me want to finish my recipe for "Worse Than Hitler" cookies, for some reason
posted by thelonius at 3:25 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


If I was speaking to my mother or going home for Hanukkah or gave a shit about anything, I'd get my mother the star of David bundt pan, it is totally up her alley. But she's an awful woman, so, fuck it.
posted by Sophie1 at 3:31 PM on December 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


Williams-Sonoma is one of those places that makes me realize I am falling out of the middle class.

Well, like millions of other middle class folks, not so much falling as being shoved.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:35 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


My only caveat is to never, EVER try to make an angel food cake in their Yule log pan. It won't rise, and then you'll spend two hours scrubbing carmelized sugar and egg yolk out of every tiny little crevice, of which there are hundreds.

Autumnheart: I'm assuming you meant "egg white" because if there are egg yolks in your angel food cake you are doing it wrong.
posted by she's not there at 3:37 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


So everyone's puzzling over / explaining the Star of David bundt pan - and no-one's noticed that the cake that comes out of it looks like it was designed by Albert freakin' Speer?!
posted by Pinback at 3:51 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


jfwlucy: "I feel like this kind of humor was funny maybe like ten or twelve years ago . ."

In general I got more out of this caustic humor ten or twelve years ago (when I was still a teenager -- probably not a coincidence), but I still enjoy good mockery of expensive useless crap.

Honestly reading this just makes me miss Katie Baker's old WEDDED BLITZ columns for Grantland. Similar mockery of upper-middle-class shibboleths, manifested there in NYT wedding announcements. Sigh. Maybe she'll start writing them again for the Ringer someday.
posted by crazy with stars at 4:01 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


effbot, pardon me sparklemotion, you don't need to butter if you use enough Baker's Joy. Like a signifigant portion of a can. That stuff is space-age magic for Bundt Pan release. Even if you have an old aluminum one that is not non-stick. Cake just comes right out.

I never use butter to grease a pan anyway, to melts too fast and I end up sad. Palm oil shortening works better for me.

But Baker's Joy is magic.
posted by monopas at 4:02 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


no

no no no

how can one motherfucking apple serve 16 people hoW FUCKING TELL ME
posted by poffin boffin at 4:09 PM on December 7, 2016 [15 favorites]


Butter heavily, then spray liberally Baker's Joy (or other probably mesothelioma inducing aersolized flour product). That pan you have there looks particularly challenging -- did you use an official "bundt" recipe, I have this book for some reason and it implies that there are recipe dependent parameters for bundtcess.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:58 PM on December 7


Okay I guess I'm to blame then. No, I'm not using a bundt recipe. I got the pan so that instead of making one large German-style sponge flan I could make individual ones, which would be better for serving with fresh fruit. And I've never had anything remotely resembling Baker's Joy (or spray-on no-stick coating) in my kitchen.

I guess that means my search for a usable pan continues. If anybody knows of any pan that is available for sale in Canada and would work (i.e. it has the divots where you can pile fruit), I'd be thankful if you'd let me know. I've been on the hunt forever. Also if anybody has a really great recipe for German style fruit flan and you're willing to share, I'd be eternally in your debt. All of the ones I have aren't quite right and my attempts to refine them haven't been fully successful.
posted by sardonyx at 4:11 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Poffin Boffin, that apple serving 16 people thing made me think of the Rick and Morty gag about Lil Bits. That's the only way it works - everyone gets the tiiiiiiniest bite haha.
posted by FireFountain at 4:14 PM on December 7, 2016


No, I'm not using a bundt recipe.

Yeah, bundt cakes are pretty specific - they're really solid and can have those really crisp edges and contain a ton of butter so naturally de-pan better than a normal sponge cake. If you're using a bundt pan you gotta make bundt cake otherwise it's a mess.
posted by GuyZero at 4:16 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


how can one motherfucking apple serve 16 people hoW FUCKING TELL ME

As always, the answer to your question can be found within the pages of the Good Book.
Specifically, in a passage from the New Testament commonly known as "The Parable of the Peckish Nay-sayers and the Monstrously Mutated Apple".
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


sing, o muse, of Applor the Satiator, the mutant apple from space that could feed 16
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:28 PM on December 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


I did indeed mean "egg white", not "yolk". Turns out angel food cakes need a smooth pan anyway, but I'll have to give this Baker's Joy stuff a shot.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:46 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a fiddly bundt-ish pan (shaped like an octopus! with suckers on the tentacles!) and cook for people allergic to, among them, everything. Brushing melted fat all over it with a silicone basting brush and then flouring it and then tapping the flour out and also using a reasonably fatty cake recipe and being resigned to some mostly-flour bits in the small details works.

That sounds worse than it is. Caaaaaaaake. Shaped like an octopus.
posted by clew at 4:53 PM on December 7, 2016 [20 favorites]


caketopus
posted by poffin boffin at 5:07 PM on December 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


i mean obvsly
posted by poffin boffin at 5:08 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I HAVE THE SAME PAN! It was a gift, not something I would get for myself. All the little tentacle divots make it impossible for Jell-O, but if you use a well-lubricated cake, it turns out great. I don't have the patience for frosting it and keeping the details, but just plain, it turns out fine.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:15 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


WTF is an "artisinal roasting technique"?

Oh I've seen that short film: a winter's morning in the deep woods, the crunch of old- timey leather boots on frozen snow. A shed, with a cold iron stove and a pile of aged hardwood, but wait, one last log has to be split before the kindlin' is lit with a wooden match. Frosted breath. The fire comes to life an lo' the stove is an oven, stoked by bellows. A flannel beclad man in raw denim overalls opens the oven's door and then grasps the roast in long iron tongs, placing it gently into its smokey depths.
He knows that the time it takes the roast to cook is the exact time it takes to sharpen his hand forged shears on his whet stone and then trim his long scraggly beard.
Snip of the shears, sizzle of the roast, snip of the shears, a pensive face.
Tongs again reach into the oven and bring forth the roast, which is laid to rest on a rough hewn board, ready, finally, for the fulfillment center.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:41 PM on December 7, 2016 [40 favorites]


The goofy aerator though, that's just silly.

I have a friend who works for Modernist Cuisine.
Their modern space-age technique is called "hyper-decanting". It involves running a bottle of wine through a blender for 30 seconds. Its far quicker and more effective than using a decanter.
posted by lkc at 5:54 PM on December 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


@autumnisjoy Funnily enough you'll want an ungreased straight sided tube pan for that angel food cake. If you grease the pan your cake won't rise and climb the sides as it should. Angel food cake pans are a dime a dozen in my area's thrift stores btw.
posted by Lisitasan at 6:02 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


It involves running a bottle of wine through a blender for 30 seconds.

Doesn't it end up with lots of shards of glass and stuff in it that way? Or is that part of the "Modernist" thing?
posted by The otter lady at 6:12 PM on December 7, 2016 [33 favorites]


From the comments: Nordstrom - Medium Leather Wrapped Stone $85 - product now not available. Maybe because they're sold out at Make Solid.
posted by unliteral at 6:20 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


(I don't like frosting anyway, so I like cake that's decorative without it. When I get fancy I shake glitter sugar on the octopus -- it catches in the suckers etc -- and strew coconut about it. I usually make coconut-lime cake because it's a strong enough flavor to handle whatever fat is acceptable (see: allergies) and also people will sing "Put the lime in the coconut!!")
posted by clew at 6:25 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Okay, I just looked at the leather-wrapped rocks, and wtf?
posted by clew at 6:26 PM on December 7, 2016


Okay, I just looked at the leather-wrapped rocks, and wtf?

This year. This fucking year.
posted by bibliowench at 6:32 PM on December 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


leotrotsky: "I don't think I understand the concept of seasonal cookware."

For a while there someone was making Xmas themed pancake pans. For three years running I got one for my wife (a snowflake (similar to this Nordicware), reindeer and angel). They are a huge hit with kids. And being flat they don't take much space to store.

sardonyx: " If anybody knows of any pan that is available for sale in Canada and would work (i.e. it has the divots where you can pile fruit)"

If you can't find one a body shop (or anyone half way talented with a form/dolly and hammer) would be able to take an uncoated muffin pan and form divots. An aluminum pan will be easier to form than steel. And a dome will be easier than square sides.
posted by Mitheral at 6:45 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've got a couple leather wrapped stones but they aren't all nicely rounded like the Nordstrom version. Glad I didn't pay nearly as much. Must be because they are redneck and lumberjack instead of Hollywood.
posted by Mitheral at 7:02 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed this a lot. I just started a new job and I am emotionally drained (job is good but it's just been a lot all at once). I laughed. I especially liked this:

"By the way, if you just want the crushed candy cane topping, you can buy a container of “peppermint snow” from Williams-Sonoma for $18.95. You can hand-appliqué your cookies with it! Or you can take a twenty-dollar bill and burn it in front of a homeless person. There’s really no difference."

Because if you can't crush a $2 box of candy canes yourself, I really wonder why you're able to get out of bed in the morning.

(I have a theory that Ina Garten and Jeffrey are actually former spies, and their official government jobs were just a cover. And their current lives are now a cover. I'm not saying their relationship is fake -- I genuinely do believe they are a couple. I just think the government set them up with their perfect post-spy lives. I may have too much time to think about stuff, though.)
posted by darksong at 7:03 PM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


If you can't find one a body shop (or anyone half way talented with a form/dolly and hammer) would be able to take an uncoated muffin pan and form divots. An aluminum pan will be easier to form than steel. And a dome will be easier than square sides.
posted by Mitheral at 9:45 PM on December 7 [+] [!]


I'd trust this advice, the poster has clearly worked with much tougher metals.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 7:16 PM on December 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


Sure, $36.95 might seem steep for a cake pan, but it'll last the rest of your life.

Sheeet, I got a bundt pan with green stamps some 45 odd years ago, and I'm sure it was probably worth about $3 bucks at the local Woolworth's. I'm sure it will out last me, but I gave it to my daughter because she wanted to do bundt cakes. She'll probably pass it on to her daughter. Or not. I see plenty of them in the thrift shops.

My angel food cake pan came from my mom, and it makes fine cakes. Some kitchen items--knives, maybe your favorite pot or pan--are worth the price. Cake pans? Meh.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:37 PM on December 7, 2016


If you can't find one a body shop (or anyone half way talented with a form/dolly and hammer) would be able to take an uncoated muffin pan and form divots. An aluminum pan will be easier to form than steel. And a dome will be easier than square sides.
posted by Mitheral at 9:45 PM on December 7


I'll keep it in mind, however I do have experience with bakeware and cookware repairs and alterations and customizations done by very skilled bodyshop and metalworking guys and despite their expertise and experience the results have never been exactly what I've hoped they would be. With a project like this I'd be concerned about the evenness of the forms and how any unevenness would affect baking times.
posted by sardonyx at 7:53 PM on December 7, 2016


CHOCOLATE MICE

Are they crunchy, though?
posted by droplet at 8:13 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


BlueHorse: "Sheeet, I got a bundt pan with green stamps some 45 odd years ago, and I'm sure it was probably worth about $3 bucks at the local Woolworth's. "

Well, $3 in 1971 is the equivalent of almost $18 now, so the W-S one doesn't seem so crazy at $37.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:15 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


YES FINALLY!
posted by k8bot at 8:25 PM on December 7, 2016


Appliqué is a sewing technique and isn't the correct term for whatever process is used to apply a tartan pattern to a cooking pot, but I suppose "applied" didn't sound precious and artisanal enough to meet Williams-Sonoma standards.

It's also a ceramics technique, but they're still using the word wrong.
posted by jedicus at 8:25 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Are they crunchy, though?

Crunchy, Raw, Unboned Real Dead Mice
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:25 PM on December 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


Copy: “Sculptural, antler-inspired pieces in polished nickel-finished aluminum and stainless steel.”

*twirls pen in fingers*

Ah.

Copy: Give your uptight relatives that little wink that says "I see that you see what I did there." Chances are, they won't get the goddamn joke, but hey, you see what you did there. Handcrafted from stainless steel, these toys can be used with all types of lubricants. Dishwasher safe.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:41 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Crunchy, Raw, Unboned Real Dead Mice

Metafilter References Explained: Refers to the Monty python sketch, "Trade Description Act."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:52 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Leather Wrapped Stone - Medium
$85.00
Leather stretched, molded and stitched around a stone from the San Bernardino Mtns.. Made to last forever as an art object, paperweight or anything else your need it for.

Size:
5.5 x 3"
(a solid handful)
You can hear the copywriter weeping quietly as they wrote this. ...or anything else you need it for...I didn't go to college to study English for four years for this....
posted by Combat Wombat at 8:58 PM on December 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


I am going to a drainage culvert, getting a bunch of rocks, and opening at Etsy store.

Mine will be wrapped in TWINE and BURLAP.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:17 PM on December 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


I have a fiddly bundt-ish pan (shaped like an octopus! with suckers on the tentacles!)

And now I have something to put on my wish list for Christmas!

I make regular cake mixes in bundt pans pretty regularly. As long as I spray them with lots of non-stick spray, they come out just fine. (Our family birthday tradition is "rainbow cake." You make up a box of white cake mix, divide it into bowls and add gel food coloring until it is eye-searingly bright, then layer it in the bundt pan, starting with red and working your way up to purple.)
posted by belladonna at 9:19 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Don't ... like ... frosting. No, saying it slower doesn't make more sense. It is sugared butter! It is delicious. The whole point of cake is as a frosting delivery system, the way salad was created so you could eat vinegar nearly straight. Very confusing.
posted by dame at 9:26 PM on December 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


octopus cake pan. Made by Nordic Ware, so it presumably has hearty Midwestern quality. But -- I quail to admit -- it was probably designed for Williams-Sonoma when octopi were briefly cool (a flash in the pan).

I like butter and sugar and flour, but you can have the corner piece of the cake with the fancy roses on it, dame.
posted by clew at 9:47 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Only tangentially relevant, but I saw Ask Mefi childcare favourite Janet Lansbury has posted a Holiday Survival Guide for those with small children.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:48 PM on December 7, 2016


I am going to a drainage culvert, getting a bunch of rocks, and opening at Etsy store.

Mine will be wrapped in TWINE and BURLAP.


Eyebrows McGee: market this to vegans and you might have something here.
posted by she's not there at 10:14 PM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Re: Fondue...here in the French Alps we like to go one-up with the child safety hot cheese issue and have Raclette the traditional way, involving a medieval torture device full of live coals in an iron basket on the table. Weirdly I have never yet seen or heard of an accident with these. Could be next year's must-have for WS.
posted by tardigrade at 1:11 AM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Made out of croutons and bacon bits
posted by jenny76 at 4:48 AM on December 8, 2016


I am so happy to see this every year. But, for the record, I have been sent one of those apples and it was motherfucking huge. I sincerely believe it could feed a dozen people.

That said, there is no way to eat that thing neatly, so you cannot possibly serve it at a fancy Williams-Sonoma holiday party with your plaid Le Creuset. You need to get 12 dirtbag friends sitting on the floor around the coffee table and just fucking hack away at the thing with a steak knife until it is in messy, sticky chunks, and then everyone eats it with their hands. It is not a sophisticated party apple. It is a dirtbag apple in the extreme.
posted by Stacey at 5:46 AM on December 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


Needs more manchego obfuscators.
posted by Mayor West at 5:47 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


You can hear the copywriter weeping quietly as they wrote this. ...or anything else you need it for...I didn't go to college to study English for four years for this....

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WENT TO COLLEGE TO STUDY ENGLISH FOR how in the name of caketopus do I get that job.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:02 AM on December 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


Leather stretched, molded and stitched around a stone from the San Bernardino Mtns.. Made to last forever as an art object, paperweight or anything else your need it for.

I can think of a number of people I'd like to throw it at.
posted by h00py at 6:37 AM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


until someone entered a cake called the Tunnel of Fudge

I inherited a heart-shaped bundt pan that was only used for this. My sister was born on Valentines day and once a year mom made a heart-shaped chocolate cake. She's coming down and I'm going to make it.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:59 AM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


i want an entire leg of jamon iberico but the hoof should be wearing a single tartan louboutin
posted by poffin boffin at 8:53 AM on December 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


im kinkshaming myself don't worry
posted by poffin boffin at 8:54 AM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Aaah tardigrade aaah the spikes! And the coals! Excellent. (I grew up with live candles on the Christmas tree, which USians mostly now think is insane.)

In summer, red plaid casserole with, for instance, denim and red bandannas and maybe a little eyelet lace. Depends on what the summer china looks like. Auto-kinkshaming continues.
posted by clew at 12:09 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Re: Fondue...here in the French Alps we like to go one-up with the child safety hot cheese issue and have Raclette the traditional way, involving a medieval torture device full of live coals in an iron basket on the table. Weirdly I have never yet seen or heard of an accident with these. Could be next year's must-have for WS.

This is like when I discovered that the traditional set-up for the Spanish mesa camilla (basically, a space heater underneath your table, over which you put a really long tablecloth so that you can put the cloth on your lap and warm your feet) was . . . coals. Salesmen would walk around villages with stoves full of hot coals on their carts, which they would sell door to door, and people would buy them and add them to their under-table crucibles if it was getting a little low.

This was the original mesa camilla, guys. Why isn't there a generation of Spaniards with burnt-off toe nubs?!?!?!
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:46 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


WTF is an "artisinal roasting technique"?


I think that just means someone put his dick on it before it went into the oven.


He gets a grant from the EU to do that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:12 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


This was the original mesa camilla, guys. Why isn't there a generation of Spaniards with burnt-off toe nubs?!?!?!

Because they all died of carbon monoxide poisoning?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:40 PM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but an apple from Williams-Sonoma.” And he said, “Bring it here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the apple, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and cut the apple, and gave it to the disciples, and the disciples gave it to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the apple, enough to make twelve pies. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:24 AM on December 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Re: Fondue...here in the French Alps we like to go one-up with the child safety hot cheese issue and have Raclette the traditional way, involving a medieval torture device full of live coals in an iron basket on the table.

I keep promising myself that at some point, I'll try Raclette that way. I've been promising myself that for 8 years now, and every time I buy Raclette, I just shove it in my mouth without melting it. Sometimes with bread. Sometimes bothering to use my hands. I'll get around to melting it at some point. Probably.
posted by frimble at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


“with your plaid Le Creuset”

This just fired off a flash bulb of recognition in my brain, and now I understand an Archer line.
posted by traveler_ at 6:48 PM on December 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am going to a drainage culvert, getting a bunch of rocks, and opening at Etsy store.

Fun story. A few years back, in the depths of winter, a colleague and I were trying to simultaneously co-ordinate a bunch of different arts projects without actually having sufficient hours in the day in which to do this. A combination of our schedules and latitude meant that it did not get light until we'd arrived at work and that the sun set before we left. One of the many projects we were juggling was an arts workshop where participants would be painting rocks to create decorative paperweights.

Neither of us was by nature a spendthrift, so we did give genuine consideration to the idea of going out in the dark to dig up rocks, carrying them home to wash and then bringing them into work the next day where our hasty selections would inevitably be denigrated and rejected by the workshop participants as unsuitable for their art on the grounds of their size, shape or texture. (Perhaps understandably, given that we were in an urban environment where the only outdoor water sources did not so much ebb and flow as ooze.)

Then we discovered that there was a woman on ebay selling beach rocks. Every day she would walk her dog along the beach, grab a few pretty or interesting looking rocks and then mail them to whoever wanted them for a small sum. My colleague and I were overwhelmed with admiration for this woman's low-overhead business idea, jealous of her lifestyle (Can you imagine having enough free time to walk a dog on the beach in daylight?) and relief that we would now be able to tell any awkward workshop participants that the rocks in question were hand-picked by an experienced professional and that any problems creating great art with them were on the workshop participants and not on us. Plus we got to enjoy a stress-relieving fit of hysterical laughter, when the guy on reception felt the weight of the package and said "Good grief! What did you order? A box of rocks?"

TL;DR I have actually bought artisinal rocks on the internet before and I'm not sorry and I would totally do it again.
posted by the latin mouse at 10:12 AM on December 11, 2016 [11 favorites]


the latin mouse: "(Can you imagine having enough free time to walk a dog on the beach in daylight?)"

Works grave yard shift.
posted by Mitheral at 1:20 PM on December 11, 2016


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