A customer called Zoe wrote to me at the start of this week asking for some advice on cooking and also said how sorry she was to hear about Babette. She added that from the tone of my emails I appeared to be ok....? And I replied that that was the impression I generally mean to leave people with. Then I thought about it a bit more, which is what has provoked my thoughts this morning.
Because in fact I'm anything but alright.
Am I OK?
Things seemed to be pretty bearable up to the point of funeral. Then gradually my world seemed to implode rather. The finality of death is what is striking me most at the moment as I go through the various stages of grief which, when I Googled them just now are "Denial", "Anger", "Bargaining", "Depression" and then "Acceptance"! Well I'm a long way from acceptance and feel like I'm going through all the others, sometimes all at the same time, or at least within the same day. And it's exhausting, quite apart from having to face the fact that she's no longer around to talk to, to ring, to be rung by, to have long uninterrupted conversations in the car, to sleep with and to hug or be hugged, I can see that it is going to take quite a long time to get used to life without Babette. So why did I think it worth mentioning this....not really great sales patter is it?
No, but it's something that we will all go through at some stage in our lives and I'm of the opinion that, typically, we don't talk about death nearly enough (especially in western societies) and that often, when we do, it's too late, or after the event. One of the strengths of mine and Babette's relationship was the ability to be honest with each other. And this ability served us well over the years, I believe. So whilst there are things coming up, since she died, that I wish I'd said to her more often (simple one's like "I love you " for instance) for the most part we managed to be honest and congruent with each other throughout our time together. And that, I believe, paid dividends when she was alive, because we managed to say to each other (usually kindly) most of the unsayable things that we feared the other's reaction to. And this took courage, patience and love* to do, and could be very challenging. And it also means that since she died, I'm not left with too many "if only" thoughts, and this has to be a blessing.
Looking further, in a positive vein, are there up sides to Babette not being here anymore? Yes, there are several and they're all around people. Friendships have come into existence, or been remarkably strengthened or rekindled as a result of her dying. Shirley and Andrew, Kate and Tom, Francis, Michelle, Jim and Babs, Simon, James and Julia, Vanessa, Chantal, Peter and Judy, Jeanne C, (this list is not exhaustive or in any particular order) have all played a significant part in supporting me, dare I say loving me and my children in ways that I didn't expect. This is in addition to the love I've had from my three children, from my people at work and Babette's brothers and sisters.
As Babette would say, "everything that happens to us in life, is good" and even in death she has showered me with gifts.
So, if there's a message here, it's don't leave it until it's too late to tell someone dear to you that you love them (that's easy) or that they are doing something that you really dislike (that's hard, but still an act of love). Maybe you could do both! Or just ignore me and read on...
Saucepans and a kettle on offer
Now, I'd no idea what I'd be trying to flog you today when I came in (it's Wednesday morning), but fortunately for me, and maybe you as well, Paul T came to my rescue when I asked him, and he came up with two suggestions.
We've just taken delivery of a couple of Kuhn Rikon 3 piece saucepan sets. One is an all Stainless Steel, pretty bullet proof set of three uncoated pans (16cm, 18cm & 20cm) with quite a decent thickness bottom disc of aluminium alloy, to spread the heat well. They come with glass lids, that won't allow you to see what's going on in the pan because, of course, it condenses over (it's a fallacy that glass allow a better view). Never mind, you've got all this quality for a mere £80, good value and affordable for your departing child off to Uni perhaps, if not for you?
Then there's the same set (size wise) made in aluminium with a non-stick coating. Only send son or daughter to Uni with this set at your peril or after exhaustive training on not overheating them. But anyway, this is not to say these sets are only good for beginners, because that would be to drastically undersell them. Both sets are, what I would term, good quality that will work well even if you're doing say a white sauce, and that's because the base on both types are thick enough the spread the heat evenly, so avoiding hot spots (which means burnt areas and undercooked areas) and thus lumpy sauces!
So yes very good value for saucepans that you can really go to town on!
The other thing Paul suggested was the Multi Temp Kettle from Cuisinart.
This is the kettle we use in the kitchen in the Reigate shop and there are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, as a jug kettle it's much better looking than most of the competition, as it's a clean uncluttered design executed in stainless steel.
Secondly I prefer my tea made from water a little below boiling and this kettle happily does 85°C, 90°C and 95°C as well of course as 100°C.
It's also pretty fast and quiet, I just boiled enough for a mug in about a minute.
So, for me, this is a good all-round kettle at £85. At present it's on an offer and is down to £65.
And, in fact, I've just remembered we put one in the kitchen in Banstead when we first opened and so far as I know, it's still going strong 9 years later!
That's it for this week, I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend, and I shall try to do the same!
* Babette said this about the phrase "I love you". She said that often when someone says "I love you", in fact what they mean is "I feel very loved by you". And that therefore the appropriate response is just that..."I feel very loved by you".... I thought that quite often she was right, and when she had done something particularly loving towards me, I would adjust my phraseology appropriately!