Le Creuset Factory Outlet + Bad Art Friend and Halloween
May I recommend
Okay, this is where your subscription to this newsletter FINALLY pays some dividends, because I am going to give you some insider intel that will knock your flipping socks off…
Deep in the countryside of northern France, nestled amongst the cemeteries and monuments of the Great War, is a small factory. Next to that factory is a shed. If one didn’t know better, one would drive passed these unremarkable edifices with nary a second thought. But one does know better, doesn’t one, because one has read this very newsletter and is now in on the secret: That factory is the original Le Creuset manufacturing site, and it is still in operation. The bigger secret that one is finally getting to, is that next to the manufacturing plant is the the factory flipping outlet for that very factory, the one right there that one would have driven passed with nary a second thought etc etc.
The whispers about the Le Creuset Factory outlet began almost as soon as we arrived in Belgium, way back in the dark cold days of November 2006. You can bet your sweet bippy that as soon as we had secured a car, we beelined to the Factory Outlet. Indeed, it was possible that one of my secret reasons for wanting to buy a car in Belgium, (which is a country literally the size of a postage stamp and is objectively a very unpleasant place to both drive and park), was because of this very factory outlet and my burning, aspirational need to acquire and display name brand enamelled cast iron cookware.
The outlet was wonderful: Tiny, cramped and stuffed with all the ramekins and dutch ovens that anyone could want. It was a terrific day trip through the beautiful, historical northern French countryside. But, once you factored in the cost of gas, the exchange rate and the effort of getting there, were the deals that incredible? No, no they weren’t.
The real secret and the one that you are getting the intel on, is the annual clearance sale that happens on the factory’s grounds. I believe that the sale occurs over the American Thanksgiving weekend, but it’s hard to be sure because they are weirdly French and cagy about advertising this thing.
I was told that the sale is the moment when all of the unsold stuff and rejects from around the world get shipped back to the factory (I am only questioning this piece of wisdom now, while I write this - it seems like a weird thing to do, unless they can remelt it all?) At any rate, what is an incontrovertible fact is that everything is sold at HUGELY discounted prices.
It was only in our last year in Belgium that we finally got organized to go. The plan was to drive over on Sunday and maybe tour some war cemeteries after slaking our capitalist, middle-class thirst to acquire ridiculous cookware. Luckily, I double checked the directions on Saturday morning. I still remember the moment when I realised, to my horror, that the sale ended on Saturday, not Sunday. If we wanted to get price-slashed roasting pans, we needed to MOVE. I can see my husband’s face, a spoonful of cereal going up to his mouth, as I turned from the computer and screamed, “WE’VE GOT TO GET TO THE CAR!!”
And so, that Saturday morning saw us racing through the French countryside the way the Germans did back in 1915 (Not true, they got stuck in the mud and it was very horrible and I did an entire PhD on the mud and the horror and that was just a little ill-advised joke).
Anyway, we pulled up to the factory, and lo, the sale was not in the cramped shed, but in a giant tent they had erected down the hill in the field. Every step I took toward that gleaming white tent filled with tables and tables and tables of heavily discounted sauce pans increased my excitement. And guess what? It was all worth it! They were selling pots and pans for 10 Euros. Usually they are 70! We bought a roasting pan - it weighs 400 pounds! We bought ramekins and frying pans, and dutch ovens of every size, shape and colour. I bought everyone I could think of a Christmas pot. I thought long and hard about getting an enormous, bright orange tagine maker… Maybe with this 90% discounted cooking implement I would finally fulfil a lifelong goal I hadn’t possessed until 20 seconds earlier to cook tagine!
At the end of the frenzy, when we looked around at our bounty we were exhilarated, but also stymied. We now had to get our 24 metric tons of Le Creuset from the muddy field, back up to our car. Again, much like the soldiers of the First World War, we eventually triumphed through the battle-scarred fields of France (very, very poor taste, Amy) and loaded all that sweet merch into our car.
Ah, but Amy - how do you then transport 89 boxes of Le Creuset back to North America? Well, my friends, this is where my recommendation falters. We were in Belgium thanks to NATO, and those wonderful war mongers were also going to send us home when our stint was done… That’s right, suckers, we got the mother loving North Atlantic Treaty Organization to pay for the return of our Turkey Roaster (as well as the rest of our household goods).
Unless you’ve got that ace up your sleeve, the giant shopping spree might not be as practical, but you could still definitely shove a few sauce pans into your luggage. Do you really need all of those clothes?
Do you love Le Creuset? Tell me in the comments below!
Bad Art Friend
This one has been tearing up my Twitter for the past couple of days. It’s a long one, but if you’re into petty literary fights, kidney donation and enjoy judging others, it’s a wild read..
Several weeks before the surgery, Dorland decided to share her truth with others. She started a private Facebook group, inviting family and friends, including some fellow writers from GrubStreet, the Boston writing center where Dorland had spent many years learning her craft.
Halloween Movie Recs
I don’t love Halloween, and I certainly don’t love anything scary, but not all of these movies are scary and some of them (like Clue, Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic) deserve a re-watch.
More than anything, this is a movie about the loving friendship between two sisters. That said, those sisters are also witches who attempt to use their powers to end their family curse, finding love and killing (and un-killing) someone in the process.
Like we don’t have enough to worry about
And new studies are beginning to track just how quickly crocodiles are changing, especially modern species. Earlier this year Harvard University paleontologist Stephanie Pierce and colleagues reported that some modern crocodylian lineages are evolving rapidly. The study by Felice and coauthors adds to this picture. Crocodile species living through the landmasses of the southern Pacific—like the famous saltwater crocodile—are showing a high rate of evolutionary change over the past two million years.
Apart from the pillows, my husband could have made this TikTok (which is absurd, he doesn’t even know what TikTok is)
Maxine is honest
I just like how MAD this guy is
This is sweet and sad
Catching up is a losing game
Say Thank You
Me too, friend. Me too
Laugh laugh smile
I tell her my news
I just love this woman
Hardcore, Gen X CanCon for all my peeps celebrating Thanksgiving today. Happy Thanksgiving, suckers!
Finally, let’s start our Sunday with something soothing
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