Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Vespa or Honda? Astarra or VicSuper? Alessi orange juicer or me? I can't decide.

A buzzing noise, like a loud mosquito coming up the street, got closer and then stopped outside my house. The postman reached across the pelargonium hedge to the letterbox and then buzzed away again on his Australia Post Honda motor scooter. (A friend of mine has a Honda scooter; he loves it. He told me it runs on nothing and you don’t look like you’re pretending to be someone when you park it outside a Lygon Street cafĂ©. You look like a postman going out for coffee instead, I said back to him. Better that than looking like a poseur, he said, and anyway, Vespas break down. We joke like this all the time. It doesn’t mean anything.)

I fished the mail out of the letterbox and reminded myself to prune the pelargonium.

The first envelope had the name Astarra on the front. The letter inside had a headline that read: Significant Event Notice. That means kiss goodbye to your superannuation in a language spawned by bureaucrat-enforced transparency laws. The rest of the letter was about as transparent as the mud at the bottom of the Yarra river. It was full of acronyms including ASIC and APRA, neither of which acronyms you want popping up in your mail, especially mail about your financial affairs. It’s my own fault. That super fund seems to have changed its name every other year. It was obviously being hawked around the financial traps like fish in a market at the end of a stinking hot day. I should have rolled it into my VicSuper account years ago. (That doorslam you just heard was Mr Hindsight leaving the room.)

The next envelope was large and square and glossy and had our names and address printed in gold script and was impossible to tear open because it was made of such high quality paper it was practically fabric. When I got it open with the help of a large pair of scissors, an invitation to a second cousin’s wedding and some business cards fell out. The invitation informed me – as well as inviting me to attend the wedding - that the couple was pleased to provide ‘options’ for gift-giving, the business cards for gift registries being two of these. How thoughtful.

The invitation went on to add, in gold-embossed script that oozed sincerity (or insincerity, I couldn’t decide which): of course, your attendance is the greatest gift of all. (Translation: you are nicer than a toaster.)

Really? If that is the case, do we go with the online gift registry or just gift-wrap ourselves and tear the paper off as we sit down to the five-course dinner?

I can't decide; and Tracy is a Libran.


paula said...

personally, i have a policy of never buying anything from a registry. that's just me. i prefer to quietly buck the system. i think my grandmother would think it was very bad manners indeed to ASK for something in particular. Vulgar is a good word for it...
is there a vesper on the list?

White Dove said...

Why don't you follow the Greek? tradition and just pin some money to the bride's gown....your ten bucks will look quite out of place methinks!

Hannah said...

Seriously? They put registry info in the invitation? Soo tacky! Don't get me wrong, I think registries are fine (a lot of guests actually appreciate them), but come on, don't announce it in the invite! My sister had an online registry at so I used their eCards to spread the word for her...much more appropriate than the couple announcing it in the invitation itself!

kitchen hand said...

Paula, no Vespas on the list as far as I know!

White Dove, I went to a Greek wedding once and for some reason all that hard cash floating around the bride - and it must have amounted to thousands - seemed less obviously tacky than a gift list request, like some kind of junk mail catalogue in reverse, turning up in the mail.

Hannah, yes, that would be a good way to do it.