I'm starting to feel like the person who wears all black--including a veil and gloves--to a wedding. The old lady who ruins the game of Capture the Flag by screaming at the kids to get the heck off of her lawn. The downer at the party, spouting nothing but gloom and woe over the music. The Eeyore of the Hundred Hinternet Wood. And what has brought on this feeling of doom and gloom and woe and crankiness? Thank you for asking. I wasn't sure if you would. Sigh................. Oh, right. It's The Baker's Catalog from King Arthur Flour. The early spring 2009 edition, to be exact. It showed up in our mailbox on Saturday, and I really was excited. "Oh, good!" I said to The Beloved. "Something to look at before we go to bed!" Are we party people, or what?
Anyway, he's a good sport, and I was under the weather anyway, so we opened up our little catalog on Saturday night, all pleased with ourselves and looking forward to seeing some Cool Stuff. About 20 minutes later, after many "Oh, please"s and "Seriously? Are they kidding me?"s, I threw the catalog across the room (well, just down on the floor, really) and stated in my Huffy Voice, "Oh, I am going to write about this in my blog!" I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I feel a little bit silly saying things like that. Kind of like the guy who brings out the squirt gun to fight off a grizzly bear. Or the herald who has nothing but one of those green and orange plastic birthday horns to blow. But, still, the pixel is mightier than the sword, and as I don't want to turn Excalibur onto its very owner, I guess I must be satisfied with wielding my keyboard with Outrage and Defiance.
But not yet. Seriously, friends, I used to look forward to catalogs like this one to arrive. The Beloved and I would pour over them, and even sometimes we'd turn down a page corner on the off chance that we might actually purchase something. And the cover of this particular catalog is so cute and springy and colorful--I mean, there's a little pink bunny sugar cookie on the front, for goodness sake! How bad could it be between the pages? Brace yourselves; I'm here to tell you.
But not yet. First, let me make it clear that I use some King Arthur products religiously. I use their whole wheat flour, their white whole wheat flour and their bread flour. I am, as it were, a fan of King Arthur and most of his Bread Baking Knights. But, they've recently added a couple of new knights to their Round Table of whom I am not a fan: Sir Expensive Trinket and Sir Peculiar Ingredient. I am not sure what is up with them, but I don't trust them. They have shifty eyes and greasy hair (although it is tightly pulled back, but I can tell anyway). They have fakey smiles and dollar signs in their beady eyes. They make me sad. They make me nervous. They make me clutch my wee thin purse to my breast and breathe shallowly through nostrils flared with outrage.
And now, I will air my List of Grievances with these two K-niggits (scoundrels). First, there is Sir Expensive Trinket. This is what he wants us to purchase--to spend our hard-earned pennies on: A ruffled apron for $40. A stoneware oval baker for $100. I don't care if it's from Poland! A cookie shovel for $20. A double boiler for $50. An herb keeper for $30. Gee, how about putting them in a small vase? How about a set of square biscuit cutters for$11? Oh, what--that last doesn't sound like much to you? How about using your bench knife to cut whatever sized square biscuits that you want. Take that, Sir Expensive Trinket! I bite my thumb at you, sir! Here's one of the worst of your offenses, sir: a mini scone pan that makes sixteen wee triangular scones for $39. All you have to do is portion the dough into each individual triangle shape in the pan. Did I already ask you if you own a bench knife? But wait. There's more: For a mere $14 apiece, how about individual pie slice pans. Hey, it'll only cost you $84 to bake a whole pie! Arthur, give me that blasted sword. Take that, Sir ET! And that! And this! Now, go forth from here in shame. Consider yourself banished. Go, and never darken my mailbox again.
As Sir Expensive Trinket slinks off with his shield slashed with the Mark of Shame (you didn't really think I would kill him, did you?!), let us turn our attention to Sir Peculiar Ingredient, who suddenly thinks he hears his mother calling. Front and center, Sir PI. I submit unto you the following: Mixes of All Types--scone mix, bread mix, cake mix, pizza crust mix, sticky bun sticky mix, mix, mix, Mix! It's not that any of them cost very much, necessarily, it's just that I expect more of you and your knights, Arthur. Sorry, King Arthur. I mean, seriously! Don't you want people to know how to mix some flour, sugar, salt, and leavening together along with some spices? Don't you want to teach them how to add some wet ingredients? Oh, wait, don't answer that. I am ashamed. Moving on, Exclusive King Arthur Fruit Curd for $9.00. 90 cents and ounce?! And you all know what I think about jarred curd. (And no, I haven't tried yours. That's not the point.) Instant cream puff and filling mix. I don't even know what to say to that. Pate a choux and pastry cream are two such basic building blocks that I cannot believe you don't want people to know how easy they are to make! A pox upon you, Sir PI. And the k.a.f. kids (TM) line? You say that you believe that you're "never too young to start baking." Well, I say, "you're never too young to start learning all about ingredients and mixing methods." That's it! Take that, Sir Peculiar Ingredient! Now go! Slink off into the night after your scurvy friend.
Now, King Arthur, I still believe in you and the rest of your Knights. Over there, the steadfast and true Sir Milled Grain. Thank you for your organic 12-grain flour. Thank you, too, for your rice and spelt flours, for your cake flour and milled flax. And there stands Sir Measuresalot (cousin, I believe, to Sir Lancelot). Thank you for your wonderful half gallon, quart and pint size liquid measures. Thank you for your dough bins. Thank you for being humble and dependable. And to you, Sir Special Flavorings, thank you for your rose water, thank you for powdered espresso, for your wide array of Nielsen-Massey extracts, for your peppermint oil and your lime oil. Thank you, King Arthur, and to all of your knights upon whom we've depended for our baking needs, under one name or another, since 1790. But, shame on you for trying to divest us of our hard-earned money by parading those Charlatan K-niggits with their shiny, sparkly products in front of us.
Leave me now, good sirs, that my breathing and coloring should return to normal. After all, I have recently been ill. And no, none of those are affiliate links. The very idea!