It is becoming increasingly self-evident that the entire Agrarian line from Williams-Sonoma is an elaborate trans-media prank foisted on our inboxes by Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen in their capacity as the stars of Portlandia. It is the most logical explanation for this:
The folks at Williams-Sonoma have really stepped up their game for the holidays.
The home cook wants to be able to see the receipt (more on this later) that is being cooked, and maybe to jam out some tunes. (The Cod suggests early 90s bounce music for your more challenging meal preps.) You could, you know, look in a cook book, or, perhaps, print out a receipt from the news paper. (A recent innovation chez Cod was taping these to cabinet doors w/ blue painter's tape.)
Or! You can bring your cherished personal electronic device into the hottest, wettest, and stickiest part of the house. But how will you maintain your iPad at its proper angle? Our friends at Williams-Sonoma come to the rescue with a $50 iPad tee!
But! you say to yourself - "That looks like a grille on the bottom - for $50, the iPad tee has an integrated speaker? Sos's I can listen to Sporty T while I peel chestnuts?" Wrong! The speaker is sold separately! For $149!
So you say to yourself: "Well - for $200 I can not only prop up my iPad, but also listen to music in the kitchen, an hitherto technologically impossible feat? OK. But won't my iPad become all engravied and stuff, which is kind of an insult to those hard-working eleven year-olds who built it?" No sooner do you i
dentify a problem than W-S has a solution! They also sell an iPad merkin, for only $15! Is said shield, given that it "resists water and grease" thin and sensitive enough to permit the operation of said several-hundred dollar boombox/cookbook? I did not have the heart to ask. Play us off, Sporty T!
Sarah Sprague, who writes the only football and food stuff on the internet you should be reading, mentioned that she was looking forward to The Cod's annual spate of Grinchy posts about shit you don't need, variously bundled as The Twelve or So Days of Crassmas, or, more generally as Williams-Sonomadness. But like Target or my nieces, it's hard to wait for it to be Christmastime, especially when FOC Ms. Skeen drops some knowledge something like the Pancake Plate.
It's not just a solution to a problem that does not exist; it's a solution to a problem that's almost impossible to understand. They are pancake plates. You may have been bumping along eating pancakes off of regular plates, but, you see, these have a little reservoir for excess syrup.
But! our keeneyed Addison has twigged that the inspiration for this new direction for Williams-Sonoma came from none other than Kate Moss & Terry Richardson. Kate is either raising her own eggs, or determined to be the most winsome cockfighting enthusiast EVER.
So, via Gastropoda, news of a new line from our friends at Williams-Sonoma -- Agrarian. Basically, they've pulled together the resources so that you can roll like a physiocrat, or at least like your typical Brooklyn food hobbiyist circa 2010. That they went w/ Kilner, rather than Ball, as the canning jars they sell, gives you a good sense of the prevailing ethos. (That said, you will want one of these.) A grumblepuss might suggest that an eight hundred and seventy-nine dollar chicken coop sort of takes the Y out of DIY, but a glass half full guy like the Cod will opine that if this is what it takes to get folks outside the 718 and the 919 and places like that involved in their food, then, well, good, I guess. The 'Fesser in me wonders if "Agrarian" is the best name for this line, particularly in light of ol TJ's thoughts on the subject of manufactures. The best part: "generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any State to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption."
However, the one big problem with the Agrarian line is the absence of milkmaid costumes, as seen at above. Play us off, Bow Wow Wow:
I don't know why they call it Mac & Cheese Starter -- it does just fine by isself. Seriously, it's got a fancyass cheeseeatingsurrendermonkey name, but you could be done making your first batch of bechamel twenty minutes from now. Melt a stick of butter in a pan add 8 tb of flour, stir until light brown, add 3 cups or so of milk, and stir to combine. It will look all weird for a minute, when you add milk, but it will smooth out. add a bunch of grated cheese, combine w/ cooked pasta, and you have got badass mac & cheese. Not. Complicated.
We've been on the Williams-Somadness tip for a while here. (Making fun of kitchen shit you don't need at prices you can't afford is what we do best here.) The aforementioned crock-pot, has been marked down an additional $30, and can be yours now for only $199! If you were looking for a reason to go on living, there you go.
On the other hand, look at the picture:
Bok choi AND square plates. Is the reason this crock pot is so expensive because it also allows you to travel back in time to the 1980s? If I could return to a world where Bob Stinson was still alive, and John & Exene were still married, THAT would be worth $199
Or does "cook for the cure" mean that there is an attachment you can order that will, itself and actually, cure breast cancer when applied to an afflicted breast? Because that would be great.
U mad? Go read a book before you light into me in the comments. Hell, read two. And yes, I've paid my dues being personally touched this diesease, etc.
Moving along, for one thing, it's interesting that it is the appliance previously christened the Stanley Cup of heterosexual monogamy that is being overdetermined with the burden of curing breast cancer. I'd love to hear from folks with crisper anarcho-Marxist-feminist chops than I got on this angle. And! Who gives this to whom? It would make a shitty wedding present -- "wishing you many years of happiness, hopefully cancer free"? Or for someone who has been diagnosed? "Sorry about your cancer, here's an expensive kitchen appliance." Or are there Kitchen-Aid stand mixer sneaker freakers, who buy new stand mixer colorways when they come out?
On a cheerier note, it is kind of cool that you can buy a mixer that looks kind of like Shirley Muldowney's dragster.
...when he would drive down the street in his Le Creuset Round Spinach 7.25-Quart French Oven. in an exclusive-to-Crate-and-Barrel color. They call it "spinach," but don't call it a comeback -- it's avocado for reals. Avocado, some readers will recall, was the bombdiggety color for kitchen decor circa the original lineup of the Velvet Underground.* Are there really people who go out and buy new colors of Le Creuset when they drop? In other words are Le Creuset people as big suckers as Beanie Baby people or sneaker freakers? Is there some intersection of person who would pay for, like, the exclusive Le Creuset-Bathing ape colllab?
This is as good a place as any to make a somewhat heretical suggestion: Le Creuset is not all that for cooking. It is pretty, and statusy, but if you could take one 7.25 quart pot with you into the jungle to feed your insurgents, it would not be Le Creuset -- it is a little bit fussy and a little bit fragile.
*Not mad at this. Not at all. In other news, the Cod just got these shoes, and together w/ the avocado Le Creuset, they would strike the perfect vibe for an early 1970s key party in Taos. Think Rick Moody cut with Sunset Magazine. Anyway, play us off, Modern Lovers: