Women are by nature gatherers. For centuries we have searched for things with which to fill our cooking pots and to feather our nests. This fundamental need to collect and adorn the hearth and hall is not to be taken lightly. For many of us cooking is a means of therapy. We can create and nurture at the same time. Our kitchens provide an outlet for rejuvenating ourselves while sharing with others. The recent demands of the economy have reduced the rate at which we indulge ourselves, but we all need a little TLC now and then. Women can’t exist on Wonder Bread alone and if we are going to splurge a bit, it may as well be in the kitchen.
A funny thing about the fifty something era of life, is that I get excited about things like this. I can spend an hour in a spice store perusing the selections from basic to exotic. The smell of coffee beans is at times, as pleasing as that of perfume. Triumphs of shopping trips past may have revolved around the clothing boutique, but more recently an excursion to the cooking store is now equally, if not more fun.
A recent visit to The Peppercorn in Boulder, Colorado, the western queen of kitchen stores, further stoked this passion and my head was spinning after just a few minutes of being inside. “We may as well just let her go,” my husband remarked to the rest of our shopping party. “This could take awhile.”
They wandered off and left me alone for an hour or so. I formulated my game plan and walked the aisles in an attempt to scout the floor to ceiling treasures for items of special interest. My eyes glazed over as I eyed the gadgets, the cookware, the delicacies and the cookbooks. My heart went pitter pat, as I ogled the vast array of dishware, flatware and linens. So many napkin rings and so little time!
As I descended the staircase after a quick view of the items on the top tier, I was greeted by the voice of a strange woman looking up at me.
“Oh my god, you mean there is more up there?” she asked.
I saw the look in her eyes and I recognized it as a combination of excitement and exhilaration, bordering on hysteria, that look we women sometimes get when we find ourselves in the midst of the mother load with limited time.
“Yes, there is lots more up there,” I answered, “It’s almost overwhelming isn’t it, but in oh so such a good way?”
I stepped aside as she lunged for the stairway and quick climbed the stairs with the wild eyed look of a woman on the hunt.
“Deep breath, focus,” I told myself and I continued my quest.
I ran my fingers over the pottery, picked up the plates, and stroked the tablecloths. I sipped the coffee samples while reading labels and handling jar after jar before finally settling on a few saucy additions to our culinary routine. I selected linen napkins with delicate imprints of herbs and olives and some simple but elegant napkin rings. Frivolous, maybe, but fun, you bet!
Too soon, my patient shopping companions returned and feigned interest in my treasures and nodded politely as I rambled on about the platters and possibilities that remained there.
I glided out of the store onto Pearl Street, to be greeted by the street performers and the swell of shoppers and lookers on, all on some mission of their own that day. For me the mission had been fulfilled and I picked up my stride with a look of a fifty something female who was packing pure pleasure in a paper bag.
I came! I shopped! I conquered!