When you’re a high schooler, wearing the mandatory khakis and navy polo and enduring an endless calculus class, you think about how glamorous life will be when you are in that magical decade: your twenties. Your evenings will be full of cocktails with old-fashioned names served in heavy-bottomed glasses. Your weekends will begin with visits to the farmer’s market for organic asparagus and end with dinner parties attended by sharp-tongued colleagues. You will be independent and oh so adult.
Like many of my associates, I am at the tail-end of my twenties. While I enjoy the occasional happy hour at Benjy’s,* and while many of my friends are indeed witty, adult life is not quite the magazine spread I once imagined it would be. On the rare occasion that I host a dinner party, I certainly don’t float among my guests, aproned and wasp-waisted in designer heels. I don’t monkey around with a pressed linen tablecloth or coordinated placesettings. Instead, I order Thai takeout and take a few minutes as my guests arrive to clear from the table the more mundane trappings of adulthood: the power bill, a reminder to renew our lease, and the smoke alarm torn off the wall to stop its ceaseless beeping when I scorched the frozen pizza the previous evening.
In fact, as I discussed with my friend Bee just yesterday, I feel that I am not alone in being somewhat surprised by thirty — baffled by the fact that I just don’t have my shit together, to put it bluntly. Of course, I’m together in some ways. I am employed, although not yet in the position I hope for. I manage to clean the lint trap, negotiate health insurance, and get my car’s oil changed in a timely manner. But I certainly don’t feel an accomplished almost-thirty. Perhaps this is a consequence of the extended adolescence that is graduate school. It’s more likely I was never that magazine spread person.
Of course, this is fine. I’m not sure anyone is the magazine person. If she exists, I suspect she’s a snot. A snot wearing expensive shoes, but still a snot.
I started thinking about that romanticized decade of “your twenties” this Sunday, when Danny and I spent at least half the day thinking about roasting pans. We’ve been watching Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and were inspired by an episode that guides viewers through what the spindly, cigarette-stained Anthony considers the basic skills every home cook should know: simmering up beef bourguignon, cooking tomato sauce from scratch, salting some homemade french fries, roasting a chicken.
The last seemed the most doable — and delicious. Hence the search for a roasting pan.
As a former employee of Crate and Barrel, I know the basics of roasting pans. The Cadillacs of cookware were certainly out of our price range, although the stainless steel AllClad roasting set glinted at me with a polished wink and it’s $200 price tag as we browsed Williams Sonoma and Macy’s. We needed something serviceable and sturdy that could accommodate future Thanksgiving turkeys while fitting somewhere in our shoebox of an apartment kitchen. A few hours (yikes!) later, we had purchased a pan and were manhandling the goosepimply chickens at the grocery store, debating the merits of bird-alone and bird-with-veggies.
“We just spent almost an entire day purchasing a roasting pan,” I observed. “We are uncool.”
But while an afternoon of weighing nonstick against stainless, considering the rust potential of hinged handles or the likelihood that a one-ply pan might warp at 500 degrees, does not match my romanticized projections of twentysomethingness, it was nice. And the chicken. It was delicious.
I trussed it myself!
* Mmmmmm. Beef arepas.