I think that a little luxury is important in everyone's life. Â As in all things, you can go too far. Â Folks can (and often do) spend themselves into ruin for things they don't need. However, owning and using beautiful and useful things is something that provides me with happiness. Â Case in point: Â As I write this, I am listening to my wife in the other room playing Mozart on our piano. Â It's one of the nicest pianos money can buy, and I spent an obscene amount of money on it. Â Some would say that it was a waste to spend that much money on this piano, when I could have purchased a much less expensive piano that would have sounded and played almost as well. Â However, I've never regretted purchasing our piano. Â The sound is wonderful, it is a joy to play, and it looks beautiful. Â Our kids' piano teacher stays at our home after their lessons (sometimes for an hour) just to play it. Â Is our piano "worth the money" I paid for it? Â No. Â Not in any rational or measurable sense. Â However, it is a thing of beauty and provides my family (especially my wife) with pleasure, and makes my home more beautiful. Â I'm really glad I bought it. Â Over the years, it has more than justified its price (to me.) Â I can think of other luxuries in my life that bring me genuine pleasure. Â Looking at the magazine article which started this thread, I have to say that I love my AllClad pots and my Sabatier knives, and my LeCreuset wok. Â Could I cook without them? Â Certainly. Â I cooked countless meals prior to owning these things. Â However, cooking with good tools makes the process easier and more enjoyable. Â As for Chocolate, life is simply too short to eat nasty chocolate. Â Once I experienced Valharona, Hersheys just didn't cut it anymore. Â Lastly, I will leave you with two quotes. Â One is from Esquire (one of the few things I've seen in Esquire that was worth quoting.) Â The other is from King Lear. Â It's Lear's response to his daughters' decision that his retainers were an unneeded and frivolous luxury. Esquire: Â It's hard to imagine how anyone could spend $250,000 on a car. Â Unless you've driven a $250,000 car. Â King Lear Act II, Scene 4 Lear: Â O, reason not the need: our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous: Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man's life's as cheap as beast's: thou art a lady; If only to go warm were gorgeous, Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st, Which scarcely keeps thee warm.
You make some good points. A little luxury can go a long way in furthuring one's appreciation of life. Conversely, luxury that is pursued for its own sake becomes extravagance, and luxury that is acquired beyond one's means is foolish. I can be said to be guilty on both counts (more clothes and shoes than I have practical use for, for example) though I also possess some so-called luxury items I truly appreciate and fully utilize. Like you, I enjoy cooking, and derive great satisfaction from the heft and balance of my Wursthof & Henckels knives, and All-Clad pans, Emile Henry bakers, etc. Conversely, I am not a big wine drinker, hence find that the basic selection of Crate & Barrel wine glasses to be sufficient for my needs (eek.). For those of you who are passionate about wine however, having the proper glasses to appreciate each varietal makes sense. For others who truly appreciate the satiny feeling of high-thread count linens against your skin, why not? If a beautiful piano enriches your life and brings you constant pleasure and is within your means, buy it. We should enjoy what we can in this life.