Kitchen Confidential

I have certain expectations for a kitchen item that costs more than $300. I expect it to have a motor and a plug and a lengthy instruction booklet that I will fail to read, causing an incident wherein an improperly secured part dislodges itself, allowing food matter to be sprayed evenly and efficiently across vertical kitchen surfaces including the cook and a guest and the guest’s cashmere sweater set.

So when my husband, Ed, announced he wanted to buy a pot — a pot — that costs $345, he encountered some resistance. Perhaps he had been anticipating this, for he did not refer to the pot as a “pot,” but rather as a “seven-quart pasta pentola.” He may also have pronounced “quart” as “carat,” hoping to appeal to some perceived female gem lust.

High-end cookware

A pentola, apparently, is a pot with a matching colander that fits inside it. It is the cashmere sweater set of cookery. I pointed out that we already have a very nice colander.

“But this way, you just lift out the colander,” said Ed. “You don’t have to pour the pasta water into the sink.” Ed drew out the word pour, so it sounded like an elaborate or somehow heroic undertaking.

But at some point, I said gently, you will need to pour the pasta water into the sink, correct? Unless you plan to throw the pot away after using it once. If you’re the kind of person who spends $345 on a pot for boiling water, I suppose it’s a short trip to being the sort of person who throws a pot away after each use.

Ed hesitated. I could tell he was cooking up a story, and no doubt there is a special $350 pot for this too. He tried to convince me that pouring boiling water down the drain could “melt the caulk.” I knew this to be a bluff. Otherwise, the drain cleaner people would not instruct you to pour boiling water down the sink before you pour in the drain cleaner. And if you can’t trust the drain cleaner people, whom in this world can you trust?