Pans and Prejudice and Opening Times

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My preamble on Prejudice

My brother was down with us a couple of weekends ago and one evening he suggested that we watch a film called "Green Book". It is the true story of an African American pianist, Don Shirley, who hired an Italian-American bodyguard / driver, Frank Vallelonga to take him on an eight-week concert tour of the Mid-West and Deep South. This was back in 1962. The racial prejudice that Shirley experiences, when not performing on stage, is, as you might expect of 60 years ago, considerable, jaw dropping in fact. The ease with which I was tempted to judge these "narrow minded people" was, arguably, also jaw dropping (so easy to make judgements when you are not there and yet, "know" you know better) and this brought me up short and made me think.

The film was very well acted, and it portrayed so well the absolute puzzlement and incomprehension that some of the, otherwise perfectly reasonable, white people showed when, for instance, asked to allow Shirley to eat, in a white only restaurant. They could no more comprehend this request, than fly to the moon. What I realised, as I watched and as I thought about it afterwards, is that this is what they had grown up with and lived with all their lives. For them it wasn’t prejudice, it was just normal life. Black people and white people just didn’t mix. It was inconceivable that there was any other way!

And as I wrote this, I felt a certain satisfaction. Satisfaction that I hadn’t just judged them harshly, but tried to understand where they were coming from. And that was because whilst prejudice is an awful side of human behaviour, it won’t be reduced or eradicated by "telling someone to stop it" or that they’re ignorant so and so’s. So much of the time we are not even aware when we are being prejudiced. So it takes first listening , then understanding, and then putting a different point of view to begin to change an attitude. And that is the way towards understanding and peace. Or at the very least, agreeing to disagree. Condemning someone out of hand, and ramming this down their throat,  leads to a breakdown in communication and to war. The American author and think tank leader Arthur Brooks* puts it well when he says “Almost no one is ever insulted into agreement.” I just loved that when I read it. “Almost no one is ever insulted into agreement.

 

*Arthur Brooks wrote "Love your enemies" 3 or 4years ago. It makes an interesting and thought provoking read.

 

Opening Hours This weekend and Monday, the day of the Queens funeral.

I was very pleased when Em came to me a few days ago and said she’d been talking with a one or two people in the company and that they felt it was right to open this Sunday, so that our customers would be able to shop with us the day before the Queens funeral on Monday, if they wanted to. I thought that this was a very nice offer and so we will be open this Sunday (10.00am till 4.00pm.) and closed all day Monday 19th September.

New Lines from Le Creuset

I went to staff training in Reigate on Tuesday morning this week (Reigate shop closes until 10.00am for training, Cobham closes Friday until 10.00am) in which we discussed yet more new products and new offers coming from Le Creuset! What follows is a list, with my thoughts on how these fit in with our current offering, where appropriate.

 

1.      Firstly, a new TNS 24cm Chef’s Pan (2.8L) in rounded conical shape with a stainless steel lid. The first thing one notices are the largish pouring lips, that the lid design manages to cover if you so wish, but that equally, you can expose them, to aid draining of the pan. It’s non-stick coated inside and out like the rest of the TNS range. It’s RRP is £149, we currently have it at £119.30

2.      Next up was a Special Purchase. It’s a TNS 26cm shallow frying pan (by shallow I mean it’s normal depth, as opposed to their deep frying pans which are almost Sauté pan depth). Not really a lot to say about this other than that they don’t usually do a 26cm shallow and this one at £99, down to £85.90 is good value for money, compared to say a smaller 24cm with an RRP of £110.

3.      Then there’s a 3Ply Shallow Casserole (5.3L) 24cm which I like because I like food served up in wide shallow casseroles, and this sells for £108.40 (down from £125.00). Pricewise this initially appears great value compared to the 24cm Casserole (6.1L) at £189. However, if you’re prepared to give up the attraction of the shallow body, then we are breaking sets that contain the 24cm casserole £189 down to £93.50 (No properLe Creuset box though*), which of course is just incredible value.
* if buying online it will be safely boxed up for you, so have no fear on that score.

4.      Penultimately, there’s a new 3 Ply Pasta Pot 20cm. Basically it’s a 20cm Stockpot plus a Pasta Draining insert. So this can also be used as a stockpot as well, a job that it will do well, due to its 3 Ply construction. RRP is £175, currently at £150.70. Sounds expensive? Yes it is, until you realise that the slightly smaller 20cm round casserole has an RRP of £165 and the Pasta Pot  is larger and comes with the insert, all for an extra £10 and that’s before any discounts!

5.      Lastly and arguably one of the sexiest of the new products is The Stoneware Covered Rectangular Dish 33cm. It’s big and gorgeous with large domed lid, and the light shining off the deep Cerise glaze just mesmerised me. Ok, I might be getting a bit carried away here, being mesmerised, and referring to it as sexy. And as it’s available in 5 colours, obviously the light coming of it isn’t going to be cerise if you’ve bought a Meringue, Deep Teal, Bamboo or Volcanic one….but it’ll still be dead sexy.
Downside. The lid isn’t a perfect fit and wobbles a little. Is it enough to worry about? For me I’d say no, it’s probably no more than 1mm to maybe 2 mm, but you may feel differently?

6.      And actually there are another small group of items that I’m mentioning just in passing. “In passing” because my enthusiasm for them is minimal. In fact they come into the category of “ghastly, tasteless, terrible products” that Le Creuset bring out from time to time, like their water bottles with the silver stripes on them. Yuk.

Against my better judgement, therefore, we ordered some of their Halloween lines. I’m not predisposed to like anything Halloweenish, so you may choose to take what I say with a pinch of salt.

They comprise a cast iron casserole made to look like a pumpkin, of sorts. Being Le Creuset, it is actually beautifully executed, from its unlikely silver coloured stemmed lid “knob”, all the way to its bottom, but I find myself otherwise failing to find anything else nice to say, it’s £269 down to £216.80.

There are then little Pumkin Lidded Casseroles in Stoneware with slightly wobbly lids (that match the rectangular dishes…the wobble I mean) these are £27. And lastly Pumpkin Small Dish (no lid to wobble) at £12.

That’s it for this week. Sorry about the slightly lack lustre finish. I shall endeavour to do better next time!

I’ll leave the last thought with Simon Sinek “You can easily judge the character of a man, by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend and can “enjoy” the Queens funeral, if that’s your thing. Personally, I rather like funerals. People manage to be so much more ‘real’ at funerals than say weddings.

Kind regards, 

Andrew 

Andrew Bluett-Duncan 

Director


2 comments


  • Andrew Bluett-Duncan

    Hello Sarah
    Thank you for your kind comments on my emails, much appreciated!
    Having just checked with Em, the biggest one we do is the oval Le Creuset one. You can find it here, https://aolcookshop.co.uk/products/le-creuset-oval-spoon-rest?pos=1&_sid=88a515bc8&ss=r
    In a wide range of colours.

    Hope it fits the bill
    Kind regards
    Andrew


  • Sarah Strijdom

    I do love your emails – always so thought provoking.
    I wonder if I could ask for some advice please? I’m looking for a spoon rest, but a lot of them I’ve seen are quite small. Do have any particular make that produce a decent size one that you could recommend please? Thank you.


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