Tax Free Shopping?

What is Free?

Webster defines it as:

a : relieved from or lacking something and especially something unpleasant or burdensome <free from pain>

In this fine state of Massachusetts, the powers that be reward us with a weekend celebration that is today’s version of throwing tea into the harbor, ridding us of that loathsome 6.25% tax (on purchases under $2500).

These wonderful representatives of our political system wave a magic wand to the burden of the added tax.

Oh how we celebrate. Lines form outside of stores and people fill their shopping carts with items that just can’t pass up, do to the tax they wont have to pay.

Do you really need it?

Have you really worked out the math?

So if you go to a store we will call, The Easter Tree Shop, (not that there is anything wrong with this store, I am just using them as an example 😉 and you buy let’s say $200 worth of  easter lights, paper, candles, etc you have saved $12.50

WOW!

That is definitely worth getting in your car, driving miles, waiting in line to Save $12.50. 🙂

I think we need to evaluate what our time is worth.

Figuring what you currently make at your job per hour, whether you are salaried or hourly. Are you at least saving the same amount based on the time you spent to buy the item?

Choose what we need to have as opposed to want to have. I.E. Furnace, refrigerator, hot water heater, home improvement items vs big screen tv, massage chair, back yard batting cage, new rims for the ride, etc.

Many of the items that you are shopping for might already have discounts and rebates. If some of these purchases require a service technician to install don’t forget to add that cost back into the mix.

The street definition of Free:

“you don’t get something for nothing”

What does this blog post have to do with food you may ask?

The best cook top maybe Two sticks, Kindling and a Pan

     +  = DINNER

There are hundreds of options out in the market place for your kitchen appliance choice.

There are all sorts of burner caps that distribute heat in a way that the description can tempt you into believing that you MUST HAVE THIS IN YOUR HOME.

Here is my observation.

Through the years that I have been testing home cooking appliances, many brands have offered, in their opinion, the Best in some sort of category. Best is something that is personally preferred. What is Best for one person maybe a Worst for the next.

It is hard to provide the high output burner for the home chef with all the bells and whistles.

Many times I have heard “Why don’t they make one that has an…” – excellent high heat, a low simmer, easy to clean, light weight grates, heavy steady grates, sealed only, open burner, semi sealed, small burner for the smaller pan, a top that doesn’t scratch, a top that is easy to clean, a top that you don’t have to clean, a star burner, a dual flame burner, a multi flame burner, a single burner that sends the flame in various directions, even heat distribution from the burner, a burner that easily comes apart to clean, a burner that doesn’t come apart so no pieces are lost, color top, black top only, stainless steel top, glass top, etc. I believe you get the point.

For anyone who has worked in a food service kitchen, you know that you get a high heat and you don’t necessarily care about the rest.

When high heat requests translate to the Home Appliance Marketplace, it stumbles upon a few more road blocks such as the requirements that allow it to be installed in the home. Someone cannot just go to a restaurant supply store or an auction and get a true professional piece of equipment and install it in the home.

Don’t get me wrong, I know people who have done this. What they don’t understand or believe would happen is they could have a fire in the home. The radiant heat coming from the cook surface may heat a wall and create a fire within the wall in homes with old wood frames. Not to mention the fact that many true pro range tops have a lit pilot that can go out and fill the kitchen with gas. Most restaurants have ventilation that allows this gas to escape. This is a safe provision but not necessarily the most cost effective. Professional kitchens also have a fire protection system that can kick on in the event of an open fire. This is generally cost prohibitive for the home.

Bottom line is that understand the industry is smart and has been at this for a while. They have great people working on the latest and greatest to get you what you need. Just try to select the best for your kitchen and understand that you can’t always have everything. If you are overwhelmed, you can always go into your yard, rub two sticks together and create a fire. Add a skillet and your in business.

Dream Kitchen turns to Nightmare

When you look through magazines or walk into a kitchen designer’s showroom you may get inspired by wonderful displays and amazing appliances.

So the seed gets planted and you begin to imagine your kitchen transformed from ‘Drab to Fab’ (to borrow an overused phrase).

But here are a few things to consider regarding a new kitchen:

Utilities– do you have enough power for what you want?

Cabinets– millions of designs, colors, quality, are you going to have enough storage space?

Kitchen Demolition– this can lead to more expenses and delays than you realize

Lighting – choose style or function?

Ventilation– Do you still smell the fish you cooked 3 days ago lingering in your house?

Flooring– Hopefully it is strong enough to hold the weight of that new Refrigerator

Sinks and faucets– This should be an easy choice (but it isn’t)

Appliances– if you haven’t been to a retail store or gone online to look at these, it is like choosing what to wear to a party that you don’t know is casual or formal

That only touches on a few considerations. What about selecting a contractor?

Confusion

 

Yes, it’s a nightmare.

Keep in mind those wonderful showrooms and magazine photos have been put together with a lot of talent, time and money.

If you have it or can hire it – fantastic. If not follow the KISS rule.

Remembering to keep it simple stupid to avoid the anxiety attack.

This is achievable

In the future I will add some client experiences and ask a few experts to share their advice.

If you have some please share.

Oven Self Cleaning

Self Cleaning does involve – yourself.

Most people never use the clean cycle in their oven. A few bad apples back in the day caused a fire in their kitchen, rumors spread and since then everyone is petrified that they need to update the Home Insurance rider.

Look at it this way, if you cooked on your outside grill and a few days later fired up the grill again, there appears to be some residual smell from the previous culinary excursion, is there not?

The same holds true when you have several spills in the oven that you leave unattended. Eventually this primordial ooze begins to smolder, emitting a fine fragrance of burnt grease that flavors your pies like apple wood in a smoker.

I suggest that every year on the morning of your birthday, after you get out of bed, set the self-cleaning cycle on your oven. Simple enough!

In every oven you have to remove the racks. I can hear your scream :                                                 “NO WAY, THE SELF CLEANING CYCLING DOESN’T CLEAN THOSE?”

No the Robotic-oven-rack-cleaning-cycle has not been invented yet. If you leave those bad boys in your oven they will warp from the extremely high heat and never slide easily again.

Treat your oven with a little water on some heavy spills or use a cleaner such as Bon Ami or Barkeeper’s Friend.

In this series of photos of my Gaggenau, I have the side Convection Fan Cover removed so I could clean some seriously burnt on residue on the sides of the oven. Once I put the cleaned cover and fan screen back on, I replaced the side rack guides and TA-DA!

Ok it wasn’t my birthday cleaning celebration, it was my post Thanksgiving cleaning requirement so that I don’t have a smoked turkey grease flavor in my chocolate souffle.

Fire the dishwasher!

Has this ever happened to You?

Sometimes things get out of hand. Perhaps your dishwasher doesn’t like you, refuses to work and is on strike.

What else can you do but rip it out of your kitchen, load it into the Civic and drop it off at the retail store where you bought it? ( I vaguely remember a situation with a Gateway computer that ended like this)

Perhaps you should check into what you are buying before you have it delivered and installed.

Look up the installation requirements first. Check out everything in the install area before purchase, such as the cut out and the hook ups. If the proper requirements are not in place it can lead to problems.

If the floor isn’t level (which is the case in many older homes) or the unit isn’t installed properly, efficient water flow and mechanics of a machine may not live up to their potential.

Another problem could be that your purchase did not match your expectations. If you see nice features on a piece at your friend’s house or at the local showroom kitchen, make certain that you compare apples to apples when you decide what it best for you.

Your time spent dealing with the aftermath is time & money wasted. Plan ahead or reach out to me.

This way you don’t end up with dish pan hands and an unexplained hole in the kitchen.