I went outside for all of five minutes today for the purpose of a large iced coffee before retreating back indoors to spend a Saturday afternoon catching up on news and political blogs and appearances by both presidential candidates on such shows as The View and David Letterman. And by catching up, I mean I hadn't checked in with the state of Alaskan politics since yesterday afternoon. Last night I had a two-hour conversation about earmarks.
Then I read this L.A. Times article by Meghan Daum about how she, too, has been obsessed with politics of late, even going so far as to read the comments under blog postings commentating on the comments. I thought I was the only one! Except now it's all too much. And she warns against the negative trappings of such obsessive tracking of the political climate...i.e., paranoia and rage. She helpfully suggests we get back to our friends, loved ones and abandoned hobbies of yore.
Which made me think of my one other obsession: checking out the prices for Staub dutch ovens on Amazon.com. Before I owned two of these (a 5-quart and a 2-quart), snagged on Amazon for well under 50% off retail, I used to kind of stalk the site with a vigilance that I should probably definitely apply to something else. I'm not looking to buy more, but it's still a compulsion to check in every now and then, and lo and behold, here they're offering a yellow 5-quart for $95.
That's about as good as it gets for that size. Still pricey for a pot, but definitely a deal if you've been looking at Staub or Le Creuset. I don't own any Le Creusets, so I can't make a fair comparison. But I prefer the aesthetics of Staub and as a snob, like that it's not as ubiquitous. The handle is steel, not plastic like Le Creuset and the dark enamel on the interior is likely to hold up better with age than the light interior of Le Creuset, which may stain. The dark interior is also supposedly better in producing fond, which is the brown, caramelized bits that form at the bottom when cooking meat, or even vegetables I've found, which is the most delicious part of all, even when deglazed with something as simple as water.
Some people like the size of Le Creuset better (their 5-qt is a little bigger); it's easier to see what you'e cooking with the lighter-colored enamel; and some say Le Creuset has the tighter-fitting lid).
I actually don't use my 5-qt much, but my 2-qt is in frequent use, especially for brown rice, and I love its small heft and glazed-green appearance. But I know part of this love stems from the fact that I got it for $29.99. So if you miss out on this sale, keep checking in every now and then; it's well worth it.