I’d like to tell you the story about My first… OrangePot.
Many moons ago, exactly in September 2005, I made the leap to purchase my first ever Orange Pot. Every time I look at this OrangePot, I am always transported to the memory of my many firsts…
When I just started living in Japan, I used to stay at a shared house with 3 other housemates. Apart from my 10-tatami mat room, everything else in the house was communal, from the kitchen, lounge to the bathrooms. The downside of staying in furnished shared house, you don’t have very much to say in terms of the type of stuff you want to have in the kitchen, and you pretty much had to make do with what was provided by the landlord.
After about a year living there, one Canadian housemate moved out and a new Australian housemate moved in and brought a
n old vintage microwave oven with her. It was chunky, took forever to heat-up, spiked our electricity bill, baked for 1-hour at the most, etc… but the bottom line is, it did its job as an oven.
You see, I’ve always been a baker. Throughout my high school and uni days, I make my pocket money by baking and selling brownies. I spent so many hours in the kitchen trying out all-sorts of American recipes as they were passed down by my grandmother using my mother’s oven. So when I moved to the shared house (and before Miss N-from-Australia’s time), the one kitchen thing I missed the most was having an access to an oven.
September 2004. I decided it was time for me to move to a place by myself. I bit the bullet, paid the hefty key-money, deposit, agents fee, and all that it entails, I moved into my first apartment. Even after spending all my savings for this move, the euphoria of having 100% command of the kitchen was too great, I couldn’t resist buying the very thing that I have longed for 4 whole years… my first oven. It was a Sanyo, the largest and widest available at the time, two stories and all and could fit a large pizza (or a 7kg turkey for that matter) without having to cut them.
With the exciting addition to my kitchen, I was finally able to expand my repertoire. Many more cookbooks were purchased (that was also the beginning of my long-term relationship with Amazon.com), beautiful, unusual and ‘exotic’ recipes were discovered and I learned new vocabularies, such as: crockpot, French oven, Dutch oven, heavy-bottomed pot, oven-proof pot, cast-iron pot and many more. It was like a different world out there, just waiting to be explored!
The research then begin…
What tools do I need for my kitchen?
What is the proper pot to get?
What is the difference between a crockpot and a Dutch oven?
What is a French oven?
How is a French oven different from a Dutch Oven? (as it turns out, they’re basically the same)
Do I have to get all of them to be able to cook all these stuff?
If I get them all, where am I to keep them?
So many questions went through my head and my extensive research pointed me to one answer to all this question… it is for me to get a cast iron pot. The brand that was highly recommended and referred to by the internet savvy home cooks was Le Creuset. Two models were highlighted, it was either a cocotte ronde or cocotte ovale. Upon seeing the website, I was hooked on the beautiful Le Creuset’s signature volcanic/flame/whatever-other-color-code-you-call-it… The vivid orange left a very lasting impression on me.
I quickly investigated where I could get one and found that several shops in Tokyo carry it. I was so excited to pick one up, touching the smooth exterior of it, admiring the finish, but then my heart sank. The price tag was what stopped me cold. Were they right? I closed my eyes and reopened it and the numbers stayed the same. The digits were not one-too-many.
How could this be right? How could a pot, regardless how beautiful and useful it promised to be, cost almost as much as my oven?
I walked away from the store empty-handed.
“No!” Firmly I told myself. “You just spent all your savings on all this moving expenses. Surely you can get something more reasonable that does the same job.”
The days, weeks and months of cooking continued. As the recipes called for it, I began buying all sorts of pots and pans, metal and pyrex, stainless steel and aluminium. Sure, they did the job alright, but something was still missing. There was also that little voice at the back of my head, nagging.
If I had picked up that OrangePot back then, would I have needed all these other pots?
If I had broken any of my existing pots and pans, would the manufacturer help me take care of them?
Do I even want to bother with them?
The answer to all these nagging questions was, “No.”
What an idiot I had been.
September 2005. I was on the phone with Miss M-in-DC, sharing my deep culinary thoughts and troubles… and then Miss M said to me,
“Do you know how long you have been thinking about this pot? One year. I know because I’ve been listening. I think you need to get it, clearly you want it so badly
and shut up about it already!. Go on! Go to that store tomorrow and buy the bloody pot.”
So I did. And this is how my life with My first OrangePot began.