Tuesday, August 28, 2018


In the late Seventies, I kept track of what I spent on thrift shop clothing over the course a year. Once the total was in, I realized I could buy a good ready-to-wear suit for the same money and be better dressed (in terms of weather and social applications). The suit paid for itself in two months' worth of increased business. Times have changed, and style has surely changed, but it remains true that getting the most value out of the cost of acquisition -time, travel, and price-is still a smart way to use resources. In my world, paying full retail for a mid-range garment gives the lowest cost per use.

What holds true for clothing is also true for housewares. It's worth sinking some bucks into any well-designed traditional low-tech amenity, like a cooking pot, if only because a good pot gets the most out of basic ingredients like beans and cheap cuts of meat. My modest domestic operation now needs little more than one killer shallow enameled cast iron saute' pan with a lid that weighs more than the pan itself plus a very sharp knife.

Not every item need be top of the line. Bottom of the line can be excellent value. A tinny enameled steel coffee pot and kettle with a granite finish serve a stovetop well, if seldom. Buy from a familiar label. I use the stuff in the field because I don't have to worry about theft. Watch out for flecks of glassy enamel in cooked food-that's why this is a low-end product -30-

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