The 2022 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog
11:16 AM EST on December 21, 2022
[Opens French doors, welcomes you into the foyer]
Oh my goodness, here you are! Welcome, welcome! MERRY MERRY! My apologies in advance, but we had to be a little bit more low-key than usual with our décor this year. We couldn’t even get a flocked tree! Andie’s Nursery over in Fartham was charging an exorbitant amount for one. Well, it’s just this inflation! I had to use farmed salmon for this year’s mousse! Tastes “mid,” as my daughter says. That’s a word they use. I don’t know! Strange!
Anyway, to heck with all that … come in. Leave your duck boots in the breezeway and help yourself to some wassail. It’s anything but “mid,” I assure you. Unfortunately, our new contractors weren’t able to finish our addition in time for Christmas, which absolutely broke Grayley’s heart. He was planning to move back in after he finished at Skidmore, and now he might have to stay in the pool house instead. Can you IMAGINE? Dreadful. Just dreadful. There’s barely enough room in the pool house for a full bar!
Ugh, look at me. There I go again. Lumber prices this, Twitter that. You and I deserve a little bit of rest and a LOT of holiday cheer, and I know just where to look for that cheer:
'Tis. The. Season. 'TIS INDEED.
The rest of the world already feels miles away, doesn’t it? Out there, there’s hardship, and war, and just the strangest people you can imagine. But in this house, and in this CATALOG, there is refuge. Instead of politicians bickering, there are cookie trees. Instead of wokes and non-wokes, there is shortbread. Instead of Aunt Gladys’s teacup dachshund treating your purse like a chew toy, there are decorated marshmallows. So who needs the rest of the world when we have a perfect little world right here in our hands? Other people’s lives are shit. But ours? A snow globe. Let them knock on the dome covering us, begging to come in and sample our figgy pudding. They can’t. Only you, dear friend, can come in. And Margie, our cleaning lady, on Tuesdays. Everyone else will find themselves on the outside as we nestle down within these pages, warm with luxury and pizza ovens. In here, the only thing inflating … is my love of Christmas. Now let’s open this catalog and take a look!
Oh! Oh my! Well that’s a bit forward. Let’s save that one for after you and I have had a couple of brandies, shall we? Until then, let’s ogle a bunch of other decorative crap.
ITEM #29-5492269 – WILLIAMS-SONOMA PEPPERMINT BARK, PERSONALIZED ORIGINAL TIN
Copy: “GREAT FOR GIVING! Add a custom monogram for a special touch.”
Drew says: Does anyone love monograms more than rich people? If these assholes could personalize a bag of Chili Cheese Fritos by slapping their initials on it, they would. In my life, I’ve come across monogrammed foodstuffs, monogrammed stemware, monogrammed napkins, monogrammed napkin rings, monogrammed bed linens, monogrammed towels, and more. You people aren’t Bruce Wayne. No one sees the RFJ emblem on your ice bucket and thinks to themselves, “My god, does this ice bucket belong to THE Robert Janney? Of New Canaan? This bucket’s gonna be worth something one day.” At least when my dog pisses on something to claim it, he doesn’t have to pay extra.
By the way, and I remind you of this every year, you can make your own peppermint bark. They sell Guittard chocolate (the same used in this bark) and peppermint extract at Whole Foods. They sell candy canes at Home Depot. Or you can just rob a child for a candy cane. No parent will get mad at you for wresting a sticky, nasty-ass candy cane from their doodoo kid. I legitimately made my own bark while writing this post. It’s gone now. My digestive system is currently making artisanal, small-batch droppings from it.
ITEM #29-4817747 – FIGURAL SANTA MUG, BLACK
Copy: “Made of durable stoneware with colored glaze. Coordinates with our figural Santa collection. Microwavable and dishwasher safe.”
Drew says: It only took 66 years, but we finally got a black person into this catalog. Good thing they didn’t use any potentially objectionable words to describe their glazing technique! Lemme tell you something about Williams-Sonoma customers: these are not the people you ought to be offering figural figures of black people to. I’ve seen the kinda shit they collect. I know what they like to coordinate, you know what I mean? This is how figural Congressional investigations kick off.
This mug is very cute, though. You see how the point of Black Santa’s hat forms the mug’s handle? That’s the Williams-Sonoma touch. Buy this mug from Walmart and that handle would be fashioned from Santa’s cock.
ITEM #29-3897772 – WOODLAND BERRY MUG
Price: $59.95, set of four
Copy: “Winterberries, pine branches and pinecones encircle our porcelain mug like a well-arranged wreath, giving it an inspired blend of color, line and shape. A stunning addition to the table, the mug presents winter beverages with natural beauty.”
Drew says: Ah yes, a blend of color, line, and shape. Can't find that anywhere else, except in every other tangible object that exists on the planet. But do THOSE objects have hand(maybe?)-painted winterberries enwreathing them? Fuck and no, they don’t. That’s what makes these mugs so “stunning.” In fact, I stunned my wife with a woodland mug just the other day. I made her a cup of Darjeeling in this mug, and then she froze in place when she saw it. “Drew,” she said to me, tears welling up from her Botox injection sites, “I can’t drink from this mug. I’m just … I’m just too moved by it.” She was practically frothing at the buttcrack.
ITEM #29-4540550 – WILLIAMS-SONOMA 'TWAS THE NIGHT HOLIDAY COOKIE CUTTER 26-PIECE SET
Copy: “Packaged in a charming storybook-style box, this cookie-making gift set provides bakers young and old with the tools to make festive seasonal sweets.”
Drew says: Listen man, the only thing I want to see when I open up a false book is a handgun. “Oh dear, please don’t kill me, Mister Robber man! At the very least, won’t you let me read from my trusty King James Bible before you do me in? Thank you so much for your mercy. NOW ADIOS MUTHAPHUCKKA BLAMMO!!!!!” I grew up on the mean streets of Wayzata, Minnesota. Don’t fuck with me and my hiding spots.
By the way, you’ll note the presence of yet another cookie tree in this year’s compendium:
Do you know how much a cookie tree angers me? It’s bad enough when you take perfectly good gingerbread and erect a miniature witch’s cottage with it. Leave the cookies for me to EAT. Food is not meant for decoration, and it’ll get defiled by someone (or something) in the house either way. Why not roll out the red carpet for every cockroach hanging out in your crawlspace, Barbara?
ITEM #29-4469912 – NORDIC WARE GINGERBREAD CAKELET PAN
Copy: “EXCLUSIVE. Generations of bakers have relied on Nordic Ware pans to create gorgeous homemade treats.”
Drew says: A cakelet? Fuck you. Bust out a whole cake or don’t bother. This isn’t a Starbucks, where I buy my kid a $5 cake pop because there’s nothing else there that he wants to eat. We are in your home. You can make anything you want, and you decided to make a fucking edible beanie baby? Why don’t you back to Nordica with all your cookware blacksmith friends? JA JA JA WE MAKE-A THE TINY CAKE PANS, JA! I hope you choke on a lingonberry.
A cakelet. Judas priest. What an asshole food.
ITEM #29-2828271 – KITCHENAID BLOSSOM ARTISAN DESIGN SERIES STAND MIXER: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
Copy: “NEW & EXCLUSIVE. Let your kitchen creativity flourish with this botanically inspired stand mixer, featuring a soft thyme-green hue and hammered copper work bowl.”
Drew says: “Botanically inspired,” eh? Why? It’s the color of my mother-in-law’s bath mat. Nothing natural about that. Was this mixer made with plants, hmm? Did a hardy Danish fella named Skjörg go foraging out on the ice cap for nettles to mix into the enamel coating? I don’t think so. You buy this thing because the bowl looks like the ceiling of a bar that sells overpriced Belgian wheat beers. It was made in a factory that emits more gas than my dog.
ITEM #29-6752111 – BREVILLE JOULE OVEN AIR FRYER PRO, STAINLESS-STEEL
Copy: “The new Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro features the Breville Joule Oven app that combines the convenience of Autopilot with the Element iQ system. The app brings the advantages of remote oven control, progress monitoring and an expanding library of video recipes and rich visual content.”
Drew says: Finally, just what I always wanted with a toaster oven: content. Also, why the fuck am I baking a ham and gruyere croissant bundt in this oven—why am I baking a ham and gruyere croissant bundt at all?—when I’ve got an actual oven six feet away? This year’s catalog even has a photo of a whole chicken getting roasted in this thing. Why would you do that? Are you trying to burn your house down for the insurance money (I respect it)? This is where I take my mask off and tell you that I, Drew Magary, own a Breville toaster oven. It’s a good toaster oven. It’s not a fucking oven oven. I tried to bake Christmas slice-and-bake cookies in ours one time and they ended up looking like bullet wounds.
Also, I don’t want an app with this thing. If I put a fucking Toaster Strudel in here, I’m not driving off to Balducci’s while it heats up. I am standing right by that toaster oven, with my face pressed so hard against the window that I get third-degree burns. You see me hitting the movies while I’m microwaving a cup of noodles? I want my food NOW, not when Siri tells me that my bundt pudding has finally set. I’m my own man, thank you very much. My monogrammed penny loafers say so.
ITEM #29-7541013 – LE CREUSET 6.75-QT. OVAL FRENCH OVEN
Copy: “Introducing Le Creuset GANACHE. Inspired by the artisanal chocolates of Europe, this French enameled cast-iron collection goes from kitchen to table in style.”
Drew says: So it comes in brown now. That’s nice. Also, I’ve heard of a Dutch oven, but never a French oven. I’d like to think that a French oven is when you shart under the covers, instead of merely farting. You know, when you’re inspired by the artisanal chocolates of Europe.
ITEM #29-7051401 – BREVILLE SMART OVEN PIZZAIOLO
Copy: “Make pizza to wow the most discerning pie aficionados with this indoor pizzaiolo from Breville. The innovative Element IQ system reaches temperatures of up to 750°F and maintains an ideal baking environment for Neapolitan pizzas, turning out pies with the signature char and leopard spotting on the crust, plus the perfect top melt … can reach 750°F and cook authentic wood-fired-style pizza in just two minutes.”
Drew says: You’re not a true suburbanite unless your kitchen includes 56 countertop appliances that do things two existing appliances (stove, oven) can already do: a bread maker, a rice cooker, an air fryer, a toaster oven for roasting very tiny game birds, a printing press for tabs of LSD, and, of course, a pizza oven. You GOTTA have a pizza oven, which costs a grand and can perform absolutely no other task. It’s the most essential of inessential appliances.
And I’ve had readers tell me, “Drew, bro. Drew. We have an Oooloobi pizza chimney and it makes incredible pies, yo.” I’m sure it does. I’m sure I can fly to Sicily, kidnap a small man there, fly him back to the States, make him a shitty pizza with your PieMatic O20, and watch Giuseppe’s eyes light up with pleasure. “Me mama … she-a used to-a make a pie juss like-a dis! EH GRAZIE, SIGNOR!” And then he’d kiss me on the mouth in that weird way all Italian men do, and then I could serve him a dessert I made with my cakelet press. LOOK AT THE LEOPARD SPOTTING ON THAT BAD BOY, ‘SEPPER!
Speaking of needless countertop devices designed to make you feel like a mobster who’s gone 100 percent legit…
ITEM #29-1651409 – PHILIPS ARTISAN SMART PASTA & NOODLE MAKER
Copy: “Effortlessly craft delicious homemade pasta and noodles in a snap ... Prepare it just the way you like it, too, using a wide variety of flours, including low-carb varieties like wholegrain, buckwheat, spelt, chickpea, lentil and more - you can even add ingredients like egg, spinach or carrot juice if you feel like experimenting.”
Drew says: I don’t want your homemade pasta if you made it in a snap. I only want it if you got up 3 a.m., hand-picked yeast molecules out of your compost bin, mixed it with stone-ground flour (along with water that you sourced from a spring where unicorns frolic), and then rolled out every single noodle by hand. I want you to have Stage XIII rheumatoid arthritis by the time you’re done making my pasta. It doesn’t count if you had a $350 Play-Doh Fun Factory make it for you. And it REALLY doesn’t count if you made that pasta using fucking chickpeas. I ate chickpea pasta once and it tasted like a rigged election. I’m a healthy guy. I don’t scoff at avocado toast like some walking pickup truck does. But I know what works and what doesn’t. Make me a pizza instead, tough guy.
ITEM #29-3375216 – GREENPAN PREMIERE XL SMOKE-LESS OPEN GRILL AND GRIDDLE
Price: $399.95. I have a normal grill, outside, that cost less than this.
Copy: “NEW & EXCLUSIVE. The pioneering company behind PFAS-free nonstick ceramic cookware, GreenPan elevates the art of healthy cooking with its innovative Premiere collection. This smoke-less grill and griddle combo is made to the same high standards as the company's iconic pans, and features Thermolon Volt ceramic nonstick coating to ensure perfect results and easy cleanup. Complete with two griddle plates and two grill plates, use it as a full grill, a full griddle or a combination grill and griddle.”
Drew says: Just buy a fucking pan! There’re a shitload of them on page 26! If I buy this monstrosity and put it on my countertop, where the fuck do I put the food once it’s done cooking? On the ground? On my head? On my figural Japanese Santa candelabra? I don’t need more things that have parts in my life, OK? I’m a dad. My whole LIFE is putting shit with parts together … often all through Christmas Day. Marie Kondo spits on this griddle.
**SPIT GETS SIZZLIN'**
**SECRETLY INCLUDED PFAS FROM THE VOLTRON GRILL LEAK OUT INTO THE ATMOSPHERE AND WE ALL DIE OF SKIN CANCER**
ITEM #29-4475803 – FRUIT & SAVORY GIFT CRATE
Copy: “EXCLUSIVE. Inspire festive seasonal gatherings with this deluxe assortment from New York's legendary Manhattan Fruitier.”
Drew says: True, you could buy a Cracker Barrel party platter at your local Kroger for nine bucks. But would it include provisions from the LEGENDARY Manhattan Fruitier, which I’ve never heard of until just now, and isn't even headquartered IN Manhattan? It does not, and for that it’s substandard. Because when I think of fruit, I think “Manhattan.” Does Manhattan Fruitier’s own website include gift foods stored in hampers? I’m not even gonna entertain that question. I bet the box of crackers in this crate comes with like four crackers in it, each one the size of a postage stamp.
And while I’m here, I need to call out the Christmas pear racket. Every Christmas, America’s white people send each other giant crates of pears. Fuck do I need this many pears for? They’re 30 cents a pound at the store. Now you drop $100 to send me a dozen Anjous, with skin thicker than a duck, that won’t ripen until 2027. I don’t care what fruitier you went to for these pears. Pay your insurance bills with that money instead.
ITEM #29-4653892 – COCKTAIL GIFT CRATE
Copy: “Share holiday spirits with someone special. This festive set includes everything you need to master seasonal mixology. Our Jingle Bell on the Rocks Cocktail Mixer is a blend of ruby-red cranberry juice, bright ginger and hibiscus. Combine it with your favorite liquor in the shaking tins, then serve the drinks over slow-melting ice spheres in elegant glasses from Schott Zwiesel. The collection arrives in a reusable wooden crate, ready for gift-giving.”
Drew says: Oh, the crate is reusable? That’s great, because normally when I empty a crate I think to myself, “Well, that’s the only time I’ll ever be able to fill this container with things that have color, line, and shape.” Anyway, I have been given holiday cocktail mixes (and festive rimming salts!) before. Guess how often I’ve used them? NEVER. This is because normal cocktails already exist. No one goes to a bar and says, “Barkeep, perchance might I have a Jingle Bell on the Rocks?” You’d get 86’ed from that bar faster than George Bailey after his life got erased.
Also, we have to retire the big ice cube makers now. Those went out with skinny jeans. Everything is this catalog is a re-gift waiting to happen. My apologies to Schott and the entire Zweisel family.
ITEM #29-2091864 – HOT CHOCOLATE GIFT CRATE
Price: $99.95. For hot chocolate.
Copy: “Warm up wintry nights and chase away the outdoor chill. Made especially for hot chocolate lovers, this indulgent assortment includes two types of premium chocolate shavings - classic and peppermint - for making velvety-smooth, European-inspired drinks … The collection arrives in a reusable wooden crate, ready for gift-giving.”
Drew says: I love the “made especially for hot chocolate lovers” part of that copy. Who else would this crate be made for? “You know who we should make this hot chocolate gift crate for? Marmalade fans. They’d be super into it. Also Kanye West.”
ITEM #29-9793993 – WINTER FRAGRANCE DIFFUSER
Copy: “A customer favorite, this invigorating collection mingles the clean scent of pine with cedar wood, cinnamon, patchouli, thyme and citrus ... Just place the reeds in the glass bottle (included) to gently disperse the oil's aroma into the air.”
Drew says: This goes right on top of your toilet tank the second you open it. I’ve been in bathrooms that have these things. There are woodland berry hand towels, flowery wallpaper, tiny bars of soap sculpted to look like seashells (and which slip out of your hands the second they come into contact with water), a basket of old Time magazines, and a strange cup of oil with three sad sticks sitting in it. It’s like a science experiment that someone forgot to finish. None of those accoutrements trick me into thinking that this bathroom isn’t a bathroom. I know this is where Uncle Gus goes to pinch off a loaf. That’s one scent that gets HEAVILY diffused. You can smell it from the Middle East. The children there all wince at it.
ITEM #29-8606355 – JURA Z10 FULLY AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE ALUMINUM WHITE
Copy: “Intuitive grinder creates classic and specialty drinks. Cold Extraction Process brews a true cold brew. Choose from 32 beverages at the touch of a button.”
Drew says: Here it is, the most expensive item in the catalog this year. Every year, Williams-Sonoma offers an espresso machine that makes the prices at your local Starbucks seem nonexistent. Oh, but does that Starbucks have an intuitive grinder? Do you walk in and their RoboGrinder says to the staff BLEEP BLORP THAT IS EUGENE AND HE LIKES A FINE GRIND BLIP BLOOSH? No? Well then that’s not coffee. If you want a real cup of coffee, you have to drop the down payment on a townhouse for yet another countertop appliance that has a thicker instruction book than a new airplane. There is a strata of people in this world who spend money just to spend money, and this is the kinda shit they spend that money on. Meanwhile you just got billed $500,000 for that last ER visit. Fuck these people, fuck their coffee, and fuck their…
ITEM #29-679213 – JURA MILK PIPE WITH STAINLESS STEEL CASING FOR HP3
Copy: “Add a stylish finishing touch to the sleek design of your JURA fully automatic espresso machine with the JURA milk pipe, which connects your machine's milk container to its milk spout. Precision-fit connectors ensure airtight contact for optimum milk hygiene every time.”
Drew says: So. Fucking. Sleek. What, you’re NOT gonna outfit your Mr. Gucci with a milk pipe? What kinda low-rent dipshit are you? THAT’S POOR MILK HYGIENE, AMY. Why don’t you just squeeze a tablespoon out from your titty if you’re gonna be so cavalier with your dairy maintenance?
ITEM #29-4225895 – GE PROFILE OPAL 2.0 NUGGET ICE MAKER WITH SIDE TANK AND WIFI, STAINLESS-STEEL
Copy: “Make the switch from hard ice cubes to soft, crunchy, restaurant-style ice with the GE Profile Opal Ice Maker. This countertop unit produces chewable ice nuggets that are ideal for chilling cocktails, sodas and other beverages.”
Drew says: Ever think to yourself, “Hey man, I wish I felt like I was sucking on ice chips before undergoing a Caesarean section.” Well do I have the icemaker for you. Can you imagine ice that’s HARD? I can’t. I prefer my ice to have the texture of caramel. Gives my Jingle Bell on the Rocks that little extra oomph.
ITEM #29-3086097 – CELLARS AT JASPER HILL CHEESE COLLECTION
Copy: “Handcrafted by farmstead cheesemakers in Vermont, these four distinctive cow's milk cheeses are aged with care by the Cellars at Jasper Hill, an artisanal cheese partnership that creates sustainable business opportunities for local dairy farmers. Harbison: Awarded Best American Cheese at the World Cheese Awards in 2015, this spoonable, soft-ripened cheese is woodsy and sweet, balanced with lemon, mustard and vegetal flavors. Arrives cinched with a strip of local spruce cadmium bark.”
Drew says: The Williams-Sonoma catalog is secretly a launching pad for obscure luxury foodmakers and cheese partnerships: Cellars at Jasper Hill, Manhattan Fruitier, SMEG. I have no idea if these products are any good, but if I can tell my guests, “Oh, that cheese comes from Smitshire Brothers,” then I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I’m not paying for vegetal flavors, I’m paying for the PRESTIGE. I got prestige running all down my cheese knife, bitch.
Also, cadmium is what they put in cigarettes to kill you. I’d prefer nothing be cinched with it.
ITEM #29-6038384 – DOUBLE R RANCH PRIME RIB, 8LB
Copy: “Generously marbled and easy to prepare, a prime rib roast of beef makes an impressive centerpiece for any occasion … the cut is best roasted whole ‘standing’ on its ribs, allowing the top layer of fat to render and self-baste the meat. Hand selected for our Butcher Shop by Double R Ranch, this roast has the perfect combination of flavor and tenderness.”
Drew says: OK, Williams-Sonoma, you win. I want this. I want it so, so badly. You’re telling me that the top layer of fat bastes the meat in that same fat? THAT IS VERY MUCH DAD’S SHIT. And it’s from Double R Ranch? I want it. I have no idea what that ranch is, or even what the R stands for (Roger?), but I don’t care. No one else in my family eats beef. I made a prime rib for Christmas many years ago and still think about it to this day. I rubbed it with orange zest and it was money. I am DYING for a steak. I’d suck on Kathy Bates’s milk pipes to get some. Someone get me my Nordic Ware credit card; I’m taking this bad boy down all by myself.
Because that’s what Christmas is all about: indulging myself until my heart drops dead. That is my holiday wish for all of you. So go forth and diffuse the world with fatty joy! MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY ANGELS!
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