Upgrade Syndrome?

When I see a great piece of equipment in use I sometimes have an urge to go out and buy it for myself, even though I already have something which is, say, 90% as good. As an example I have 3 okay fish filleting knives, but I crave a Global G-30 as it’s what my local fishmonger uses, and it’s clearly better than those I already posess. This is mostly from seeing/using other people’s tools, rather than from advertisements.

The result is that I now have large ammounts of pretty good but hardly used kit, which would horrify a sensibly thrifty person.

Is avarice one of the bad sins?

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I think there is nothing wrong with upgrading your cookware/equipment. I think as long as you can utilize and take care of your cookware, Then you are already better than many people. A lot of people buy nice cookware and then worry to use them, or buy nice cookware but do not know how to take care or use them.

Go ahead and get your G-30.

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Hi RobinJoy,

I’m always looking to upgrade something, but I usually make it very specific, and carry out a subjective value analysis to see how much I’m willing to pay. Sometimes it works out right away–other times, it takes years.

But a desire to upgrade, or consider something new, IMO, is a very good idea. We need to always be willing to consider new tools.

Ray

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We all experience it in some way. If you get the better knife, I recommend thanking the old knife for its service and donating or gifting it.

For me the best way to minimize up-gradeitis is to figure out with honesty what you truly want and slowly amass it. I figured out the cookware, knives, and tools I wanted very, very long ago. For many years my batterie fit in the back seat, with dog, when we moved, but over decades it has filled out. It is still of moderate size, fitting comfortably in a not overly large kitchen. The heavy copper, old Sabatiers, and olive wood spoons have never made me think of upgrading, but now and then some lesser items do. For example I recently let go of my cotton towels and got linen, a clear upgrade and well worth it in my opinion. The old towels were too tattered to donate. So they joined the rag brigade. I have never regretted any cooking purchase that I knew was truly great and would be well used. My lone exception has been my All Clad saucier. As a pan it is ok, but not great. It is, however, nearly bullet proof and D/W safe and so I keep it. Still, I would love to swap it for a large heavy copper Windsor.

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I haven’t upgraded anything in my kitchens for at least 5 years. If it works, it’s never upgraded.

With that said, with few exceptions I try to buy stuff that will perform well, last as long as possible, and ideally is serviceable.

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Hi Vecchiouomo,

An artist always wants to try new things, and an athlete always tries to improve his game. Sticking to the tried and true, IMO, means one is stuck in a rut.

My batterie, for decades was making sure I had a couple of Revere ware pots, pans, lids, and a tea kettle: spending loads of money on materials. The basic cooking style was low temperature simmer, stew, and steam–anything to stay away from grease of any kind. I did barbeque. The vegetables had to be as fresh as possible, similarly the meats. I looked to somehow latch unto something from the wild to eat whenever I could.

When I started my hobby 7 years ago, I wanted to reinvent myself–but not lose my values. I wanted to preserve everything good about Revere ware cooking–but through induction cookware. I basically started over, with multi-ethnic on my mind–looking for fusion. Upgrading and expanding my batterie has been inevitable ever since–though the recent action has centered around prep work and my kitchen knife batterie: something I never used to worry about. . . .

If you can afford it then there is no problem. Consider yourself fortunate. Otherwise if it is a lifestyle issue then consult a professional. I lean toward you just feeling fortunate you have the means to experiment.

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It’s a bit like going into an echo chamber hear to ask a bunch of cookware forum followers if you should buy a tool that you want. And it is OK, as long as it is affordable in the grand scheme of things. We all find things that we think about upgrading, especially when shown an improved version.

Avarice, gluttony, envy… they are all sins, of course

I respect that but at the same time assumes facts not entered into evidence. :blush:

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The athlete generally puts on the same old shoes, etc. every day and works out until they are worn out and need to be replaced. Even very high level golfers often use the same sticks until the grooves are gone, although pro sponsors want their players using new stuff. For ages my battery was two knives, a CS fry pan, a sauté pan, and small and medium saucepans, all still in service. In my opinion and experience if you choose well along the way and do not undertake some radical change in the way you do most of your cooking, pushing the cooking envelope usually requires more cooking far more than more tools. For me a growing collection is a pleasure but does not necessarily have a close correlation with how well I cook.

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" A lot of people buy nice cookware and then worry to use them, "

That would be me! At least with knives. That and what to do with the “old things”. I’m feeling good about the thrifting thread.

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I spent a summer three years ago in a cabin where my “Chef knife” was a 3 1/2" Wusthof Precision knife I had taken along (I loved the challenge), and cookware best described as big box trash (which I hated), a gas stove (which was OK), and felt great about the meals I cooked–but I was extra happy to get back to my well planned kitchen and my usual evolving induction ways.

An NBA champion changed shoes at half time in the hopes of improving his 3 point touch. Many great golfers have gone through putters by the dozen trying to refine their touch. There was a series of interviews of professional chefs taken in their home kitchens–some very distinguished; some almost hand-me-downs.

Artists are different–that’s what makes them artists.

Tim, the old professor in me thinks you explained that so well. All the bright shiny new toys in the world won’t make up for knowledge, technique, skill and experience. And good old repetition. That goes for just about everything, not just cooking. Know how to do what you do, know why you’re doing it, and know the results you should expect and how you should accomplish them. I have forty year old items in my”batterie”- my tools - not my magic wands- that still work perfectly fine, because I chose the items thoughtfully and carefully in the beginning. In my professional life I’ve always found it helpful to understand what I’m supposed to be doing and have some learned skill at it before I start. Then there’s the brain equivalent of muscle memory. I enjoy adding some things to my collection(s), but nothing compelling.

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Yes, avarice is a form of greed, and greed is a mortal or cardinal sin.

However, I’m not sure what you describe is even greedy. You are clearly not hoarding, or amassing material things to needy parties’ exclusion.

When it comes to cooks’ tools, “trading up”, absent some other sin, is benign in my book.

Back in my winemaking days, I needed a corking tool for the occasional large format bottle. Floor corkers were $$$$, so I set about looking for a vintage pharmacist’s cork press. They come up every so often on eBay, so I started bidding. I noticed that the same bidder won every auction, beating me at the last minute. After about a dozen tries, I contacted this clown, and politely asked if he’d “let” me win one, and I’d stop bidding him up. He basically said “Tough. I want them all.” Now that’s avarice.

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Did you ever try eSnipe?

My husband repeats an old saw, "Some people have done something 200 times and have become experts. Others have done the same thing once, 200 times and learned nothing…

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I am the original Second Hand Rose. Early on, I couldn’t afford the stuffs I aspired to, so I learned about thrift shops, garage sales, estate sales and antique markets. When a nice item appeared at my price I bought it. When a better one appeared, I traded up. I learned to curry dealers who appreciated my appreciation. Over time, I’ve acquired a rather, if I say so, formidable bunch of food related accoutrements that might not be trendy but have presence and provenance. All at my price.

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I know some members of that second group!

That is cool. Being careful with cookware is a good thing, but don’t be afraid to start using them.

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I began my collection in two events. I bought a little hammered aluminum saucepan with lollipop lid after cooking school, and back in the states I got to know the woman who owned Yankee Kitchen in Bellevue, WA. A customer had bought a 24 cm BIA sauté pan and bubbled the tin. I got it from Yankee Kitchen for half price. It is 3mm, hammered, and gorgeous. It still has evidence of the bubbled tin, yet it has never really needed to be re-tinned, despite regular use. I bought it around 1970. I used both pans today!

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