Lessons from the Pasta Machine

I was a freshman in college, newly engaged and browsing around a Williams-Sonoma store in Burlington, Massachusetts when I rounded a corner and fell in love. Everything, including Peter (who was with me), faded away into the background as I stared at the shiny chrome body, the wooden handle, and the "Imported from Italy" sticker. I immediately had visions of us working together to churn out the finest homemade pasta ever made. Despite the $49.95 price tag, I knew that it was destiny and we were meant to be together. I glanced at Peter, who had the same starry-eyed look, and together we carried the Italian Pasta Machine to the counter to check out.

{Thirteen Years Later...}

I'm in full-fledged purge mode. I've already collected over ten bags and boxes of stuff to donate, trash, or sell, and I've worked my way into the kitchen. As I opened the upper cabinet, my eyes went directly to a little square box on the top shelf. I felt a knot begin to develop in my stomach and the flashbacks started. Four moves and multiple yard sales and this little box had survived them all. I climbed up on the counter top (the only way to reach the highest shelf) and pulled the box down. There it set, never opened, paperwork still intact...I swear it was laughing at me.

It knew, you know. It recognized me for the sucker I was and it begged me to take it home, knowing I would never, ever make pasta from scratch. Even when we were in a tiny African village that had just received electricity less than a year earlier, I was able to find pasta for sale at the local food shack. Although my gourmet cooking skills are in the improvement phase, I am well enough acquainted with myself at this point to recognize that no matter how much I grow to enjoy cooking, I will not add "homemade pasta" to the list of things I want to do.

What I understand at thirty that my seventeen-year-old self would never realize, is that I was in love with the idea of homemade pasta. The images of an Italian kitchen, pots boiling, noodles being churned out, racks of drying pasta - those were the things that my younger self was seeing in my future. My older and wiser self sees the stacks of dirty dishes, the annoyance when it doesn't work, and reality of the fact that my time is better spent doing things besides making my own ravioli.

{The Take-Home Lesson}

Before you slap down $50 on a kitchen gadget (or anything else), ask yourself if you have been getting along just fine without it.* I recently read a humorous post about a jalapeno corer over at one of my new favorite places to waste spend time online: The Unclutterer. The pasta machine was my jalapeno corer, only larger. It was beautiful and shiny, but in the end, it did nothing more than take up cabinet space and collect dust. As of last week, it was sold through Amazon and is now working it's way to the frozen tundra of Alaska to some woman who, I hope, will actually use it.

As for me? After paying for shipping to our 49th state, and losing a bit to the Amazon commission, I ended up shelling out $6 for the privilege of knowing that I once owned a pasta machine from Italy. I'd say that's a small price to pay for a big life lesson regarding pretty much anything I look at in a store: I have to have it. No, no I don't. I have had it, I have stored it, I have donated and trashed and sold it. I have experienced regret over the resources that have been frittered away on items of "necessity" that were forgotten about a few hours or days after they were purchased.

Selling the pasta machine on Amazon was a refreshing restart for me. It felt freeing to let go of something that I had to have, then I had to store, and then I felt guilty about getting rid of for so many years because "I paid good money for it". Shipping that little box opened up the floodgates of purging as I fully embraced the William Morris principle** (brilliant idea, Jules!) and viewed everything with a critical eye. Do I use it? Do I love it? Does it serve a purpose? So far, 2012 is off to a strong start.

What is YOUR pasta machine story?

* If you'd like to read more about giving yourself time to reconsider a purchase, I recommend checking out Trent's posts on The 10 Second Rule (I've been doing this since our financial regrouping in July), and The 30 Day Rule (we've done this for about 3 years, and it does help quell those impulse purchases).

** Want to learn more about the William Morris Project that Jules is hosting each week? A good starting point is this weeks post, How to Organize the Family Medicine Cabinet.


Related Posts with Thumbnails