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I wonder if there's something genetic that's responsible for the degree to which I seem to be hopelessly sentimental.. My brother seems to be similarly afflicted, possibly even to a greater extent than I am..

Like, when I went into Marks and Spencer earlier.. They sell this olive oil infused with chilli and garlic, and it's just a small bottle for £1.50. It's the sort of thing that I might buy on a whim without even thinking about it, as part of a larger shopping trip.. It would almost be a trivial addition to the shopping basket.

Except that I was given a bottle for Christmas. And suddenly the value of it completely changes, because my parents bought a bottle, wrapped it, and gave it to me as a gift. One presumes that they saw it in the shop, thought "James would really like that", and so bought it for me. And now that bottle is worth an awful lot to me, even though I could buy five such bottles just with the change in my pocket.

I think I'm starting to feel like inexpensive gifts are so much more loaded with sentimentality, in a good way. If you pay enough for something, it becomes good, because you're giving something of intrinsic value and the amount you paid demonstrates that you care enough to spend lots of money, regardless of the thought put into it. And even when there's thought put into it, it's not that challenging, because large gifts are easier.

It's when you take the money out of the gift that it really has to sink or swim on its own. I don't know exactly what it is, but suddenly all I can see is the thought that went into it, and that makes it so much more special. That bottle of olive oil fits in perfectly with my other cooking ingredients, it sits alongside the standard extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar, and has a well defined place within my cooking.

I dunno, it's funny, every time I see the stuff in the shop, all I can think about is how much I love my parents, and how much more valuable a bottle of that stuff is to me compared to the price on the label.

Speaking of food, I took these pictures just for fun over the last few days, so I might as well post them.. Friday night's dinner was chicken wrapped in parma ham with a parmesan crust, on a bed of spinach, accompanied by fresh vegetables and a tomato, chilli and garlic sauce (here and here). Saturday was roast peppers, stuffed with lentils in tomato sauce, topped with smoked cheese and accompanied by fresh tomatoes on the vine (here and here). Sunday was stir fry, with turkey, sugarsnap peas, fine beans, red peppers and a chilli, soy and tomato sauce with noodles. But it was a bit rubbish, all things considered, and there are no pictures. I consider it a Food Fail, and I must do better in future :o)
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Tell me why, otherwise I'll never be able to repeat it :o)

I can completely relate your comments on sentimentality. I also agree fully with the idea that inexpensive gifts mean more. So, basically…it was all quite relatable for me and therefore, I loved it.

The stuffed pepper looks awesome.

It tasted pretty good too (though that's Naomi's one in the picture, mine was red and came sans whole tomatoes) :o)

Did you and your brother grow up together? I would guess that the way you were raised is a better indicator of how sentimental you are than genes :)


Awesome post.

and this is why i don't like getting jewelry as a gift.

Yes, I think I've just realised that suddenly there are no easy options, because easy options = bad gifts :o\

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