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GADGETS AND GIZMOS
June 28, 2014
Years ago, shortly after Walt and I were married, I was in a store and overheard two girls talking. One had a little gadget in her hand. It was this little metal thing with a little plastic box on it. Apparently you put a chunk of cheese in the box and moved the box along the metal track across a grate that grated your cheese. I had a cheese grater -- I still have it; I got it before we got married -- but this girl spoke so glowingly about this little box grater that I decided I couldn't live without it.
I just checked my junk drawer in the kitchen to see if I still have it, because I almost never throw anything away, but apparently I finally got rid of it. I never used it. Not once. The cheese grater was my go-to thing to turn blocks of cheese into grated cheese and I never had a chunk of cheese small enough to fit into my new gadget.
But I've always been a sucker for the newest gizmo to come down the line (I thought there might be a different definition for "gadget" and "gizmo" but they are essentially the same, "a usually small mechanical or electronic device," though "gadget" adds "with a practical use but often thought of as a novelty")
What has saved me from being really bad is (a) I never watch QVC or any other selling channel, and (b) I feel guilty when I spend the money. But I do watch infomercials and often succumb to the lures and the promises. To tell the truth, I have rarely been disappointed.
I didn't buy the "Magic Bullet" mixer, though I saw the infomercials a lot and was tempted, and then surprised when I received it as a Christmas gift from someone. That was a gadget I used almost every day and loved. When my mother moved to Davis and I cleaned up "all this crap" out of her house, I took her mini Cuisinart chopper, which duplicated so many of the Magic Bullet features that I finally donated the Magic Bullet to the SPCA Thrift Shop. I sometimes miss it, but mostly am happy with the more powerful Cuisinart.
I bought something called "Heeltastic," which was a cream guaranteed to reduce callouses on the foot and I have to admit that works great. In fact, I have found it for sale at our local CVS, which makes me very happy.
Those pedi-eggs were less successful. Not a bust, but I used one twice and never again.
I have been torn about those Orgreenic cooking pans and was almost going to buy one until I read the reviews and learned that after the first few things you cook in it, it doesn't have the non-stick quality that I would be buying it for.
One of my favorite gadget that I bought recently is my Wonder Bag, that pillow-looking thing that will cook your dinner, without any energy source, in a few hours.
It was designed to help women in 3rd World Countries (specifically now in South Africa) who spend most of their day cooking over open fires. The idea is simple. You mix ingredients, boil on the stove for about 15 minutes, then cover and place in the bag, which closes tightly. Then just leave it until you are ready to eat -- usually about as long something would cook in a crock pot. Everything I have made with it has turned out great and actually preferable to the crock pot. Rice is the best, much better than my rice cooker and no sticking to the sides of the pot. I mainly bought it because I was curious, but also because for every bag sold, another bag is given to a woman in So. Africa and I figured it was a good way to contribute and get something myself.
My latest gadget is a StoneWave. I think I saw this on Amazon. It's a little stoneware pot with a lid that you can make one serving dishes, everything from meatloaf to chocolate mousse, and you can cook more than one in the microwave at a time. It's small and will fit in the palm of your hand.
Actually, I thought if it really worked it would be a great way to split meals for Walt and me and cook mine with and his without onions. After nearly 50 years, a perfect compromise!
It came a few days ago and we've been having fun playing with it. Walt loves poached eggs and this is an effortless poached egg without having to wrestle a raw egg into some sort of shape in a pot of boiling water. Another dish they call an omelette, but it's really just scrambled eggs with your choice of things in it. I've only made a cheese omelette so far, but it turned out great.
I made a dijon salmon the other night that was perfect. I almost never cook fish so I'm pleased to add this to my repertoire.
I can think of all sorts of vegetable dishes with and without onions
that I will be cooking in this little pot (which is also non-stick and dishwasher safe).
Last night I made a banana thing with rum and brown sugar, since Walt wasn't home.
It turned out fine. I still want to try the "chocolate mousse,"
(which, from the pictures, I think is more a chocolate cake). I'm searching the web
for recipes designed for the StoneWave or which can be adapted and I am pleased that I
succumbed to media pressure and bought my latest gizmo.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Must be summer. Sunflowers are starting to pop up.
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