Plenary indulgence

Still camera-free here; please make do with a month-old photo of some lacinato kale

Labels. We all have them, most of us ‘fess up to them, and sometimes we go beyond them. So I was thinking today about what *we* (Tom and I) are now. I know that personally I am, well, at least post-Catholic; my college certainly cured me of that, and any, religion (to my mom’s horror). And now we are no longer yuppies, as we’re neither young, nor urban, and only I, on a good day, can be considered “professional.” I will say that on some things those old labels have some residual pull. So I lean some ways thanks to the Church’s teaching, er, indoctrination of my wee brain over the 16 years in its schools. And I also have some yuppie buying habits. But now those buying habits have a twist.

I am compiling items for our new kitchen. Now that my eyes have been opened to global warming/peak oil issues, I have looked into other ways to cook my food. So I am considering an induction cooktop. Our electricity here is NooKeeLar as our esteemed president calls it; it’s a zero or near-nuff for carbon emissions, and is certainly cheap, despite its other faults. And induction is a lot more efficient than either electric or gas for stovetop use. I would have to sacrifice my ancient aluminum pancake griddle, as it literally isn’t conducive, but so it goes. And then there’s the oven. How about this one? It’s a woodburner AND it’s a bread oven. And it’s cute.

Yes, I can hear all of you sigh now. There is something rather stupid about having to buy my way into a lifestyle, albeit a slow one, especially by consuming NEW products like these when, in reality, the dumb electric stove/range I already possess works well and IS efficient in its own (dumb) way. And it is self-delusional to think that I am going to fire up a woodstove in the warm months if I want a loaf of bread. But I am a post-Yuppie, and these things die slowly, if at all. I somehow WANT. And (thankfully) it’s not from an ad on tv, or from something my neighbor has: I just think it’s cooool, that hot stove, that induction cooktop.

It’s all something to consider. Being post-Catholic, I still think about some kind of balance sheet of the have-dones versus the haven’t-dones: I am hoping it all evens out. My profession (construction) means I stand atop a massive pile of landfill waste, and I won’t even go into the amount of carbon burned up to make any of my buildings, green or no. So I think. A lot. And I still hate my kitchen, especially considering how much time I spend in it, so something needs to change.

I’m just wondering who I need to pay off, you know?

9 responses to “Plenary indulgence

  1. Post- catholic – I like that better than lapsed catholic. Somehow post signifies past, therefore no potential of a re-lapse to former ways.

    Oh and the woodburner/bread baker – I so wanted one of those for a long time. They are great and work well. Our kitchen can’t accommodate two cookers, so I settled for a stainless steel quasi -industrial gas number. Not especially carbon aware – vestige of the yuppie that I am working to being ‘post’.

  2. I’m not even religious and didn’t have too much of a religious influence growing up but I still have that balance-sheet mentality and guilt.. my husband says I should be either catholic or jewish, judging by how much guilt I carry around…

    The only solution I can see to getting a new kitchen is to freecycle or craig’s list as much of the old one as you can.

    Oh, and I’d buy an Aga in a heartbeat if I could afford it!

  3. Neither Catholic nor Jewish, I also carry enough guilt around for a small town. I am always amazed by people, especially women, that honest to God think that they deserve everything under the sun right now. Where did their guilt go? Anyway, cute bread oven. I agree, Freecycle the oven if you absolutely must replace it now. Or sit it at the end of the driveway with a “Free Stove. Works.” sign on it. That seems to be the method around here. I’ll have to look into this induction stuff. Interesting.

  4. Yeah, I hear you on the Freecycle thing. My old kitchen: I donated both the appliances and the cabinets, etc. to a reuse-it store and took a tax write-off. This one? Nothing salvageable (and I am really being kind by saying that nobody would want these things). The kitchen redo is a definite quality-of-life thingy for me. The problem with the kitchen is it needs an expansion to even be workable. Big bucks in other words. But the nice thing is I have been salvaging old wood for the cabinetry that it’ll need. (I’d never do that for the structural issues, nor would I ever reuse windows; there’s been enough of that already in this house, for one, and secondly I want everything as thermally tight as possible.) Ah. It’s a bit of a kit of parts, frankly, but it’s also the last thing, of many, many things, that this farmhouse needed to be even within spitting distance of a habitable, “newer” home.

    In Minneapolis, there was a Truth In Housing form that every property transaction required. My 100-year-old house there had a category, therefore, of “actual” versus “real” age: the “actual” age for its structure, finishes, appliances, etc. was considered to be 10 years, though the “real” was 102. (That’s an indication of how much I fixed up the old place.) Here, in Michigan? No such thing. I would like personally to aim to fix up my 90-year-old house to seem like it’s only 15 years. It’s maintenance, finishes, thermal/HVAC, and structural stuff that HASN’T BEEN TOUCHED for 60+ years. So the kitchen, even though it qualifies as a post-Yuppie showpiece, really also just simply needs to be functional, and updated, and not 60 years old.

    At least that’s my rationalization (i.e. plenary indulgence) du jour.

  5. Interesting, and I loved the stove link. I have a list of things I’ll be having to purchase (or obtain any other legal way) to embrace my evolving-consciousness lifestyle. What seems so strange to me is that while acquiring, I’m also having to give so much of the overflow of what I already have away.

    Chuckling at the post-catholic…

    Guilt or no, it’s nice to have a conscience. I’m post-church of christ (and they have their own chapter in the Book of Guilt), having chosen Judaism. Does that make me the only Jew not wracked with constant angst? lol (I do the mental balance sheet sometimes, though…)

  6. Interesting word construction there: post-Catholic. I suppose I would fall into that category myself. However, there are some things that I have carried over with me that have served me well. The idea that we all have a responsibility in this world to make it a better place & to help others is a tenet that I absolutely subscribe to. In terms of our environmental crisis, I have attempted to live in a manner that makes my “carbon footprint” on the earth as light as possible, but most of those lessons I learned from my mother & grandmother who were frugal before being frugal was a political statement.

    Today, I like to think of God as basically telling us all to “play nice together”, like some big playground supervisor. Oh, yeah — and not to poop in our sand box!

  7. That Baker’s Oven is adorable, although I’m mighty fond of the Esse (

    If I were building a new house, I’d put in an Aga-type woodstove and plumb it into the hot water supply like friends of mine just did. mmmm…. radiant floor heat.

    Too many ideas, too little time. 😉

  8. Crunchy Chicken

    I love my induction cooktop. I didn’t think I’d like it better than gas, but I do. Couple that with a convection oven and you are set.

    “post-catholic”? Is that the PC version of agnostic?

  9. Induction Cooktop

    Zealux 23" four burners induction cooktop might be a better choice to replace your gas ranges or electric stoves. Induction cooking cut your electricity bills, and easy to clean. An induction cooktop is a must-have appliance for modern kitchens.

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