When Sarah turned 7, she got a sewing machine for her birthday.
She’d been sewing, with help, for at least a year. My mom bought her the machine: a Bernina, a nice one. Way nicer than the Craigslist Singer I’d been sewing on here at home.
I’m sure many, many people would hear that and wonder, why would you ever buy a 7-year-old a Bernina? Well, I probably wouldn’t, but my mom would, and it’s because she’s always been a big believer in having the right equipment for the job.
My mom’s philosophy is that good tools are a pleasure to use, and cheap tools are crap. Nobody likes to work with bad tools. How could Sarah ever develop a love of sewing if she was always fighting with a crappy machine?
In the case of the sewing machine, the good tools are expensive. Thankfully, that’s not always the case, but it often is, and my mom taught me that an investment in good tools is money well spent.
My mom’s frequently given me excellent cooking tools for Christmas over the years–it’s how I got my Kitchenaid mixer, Cuisinart, my dutch oven–so I’ve never had to wonder if it was cooking I hated, or the unpredictable results I got from my flimsy pans. (God bless the kitchen workhorses that are inexpensive and amazing performers: Lodge Cast Iron, I’ll love you forever.)
I’ve always had decent tools, and I’ve always enjoyed cooking. (Except the dishes. I still hate the dishes.) This is not a coincidence.
I think about my mom’s philosophy whenever I need to iron something. I hate ironing, but then again, I do my ironing with a fifteen-year-old $17 Target iron I got during parents’ weekend at college. Those two things just may be related.
I’m sure this applies to other hobbies: I’m dabbling in art with quality colored pencils, I enjoy writing more with decent pens, I’d rather work out in my lululemons.
A lot of people don’t like to cook, or sew, or draw. I’m deeply appreciative that my mom’s philosophy enabled me to give these skills a fair shot: I never had the chance to mistake hating the skills for hating the awkwardness of attempting the skill with poor materials.
And if I’d ended up hating cooking, at least it would have been a fair fight.
I would love to hear: 1. What have you heard before about my mom’s philosophy, and 2. What kind of experiences have you had with really good and/or really bad tools?