My wife used her iPhone to send a recipe to my iPad.
Remember the video footage of all the wonderful things the iPad could do? Boundless creativity. Family photos. Reading books. Painting masterpieces. Getting jiggy with some tunes. Keeping up on current events. Watching movies. Organizing your life. Unparallelled worlds of productivity. Publishing novels. Maps to everywhere. Recipes in the kitchen.
Recipes in the kitchen? Are you kidding me?
They showed busy home cooks and restaurant chefs consulting the magical device while they cooked. Just a touch away, all the knowledge of cookie at your fingertips.
I figured I’d give it a try. I clicked the recipe link my wife had sent and it opened a page in Safari that was consumed by about 80 percent advertising. Video was playing. Things were blinking. “What the?” I stammered, befuddled by the onslaught on my senses.
“Where the hell is the friggin’ recipe?!”
Oh, yeah. Right. They didn’t mention that part. You have got to have useable content for the iPad to be able to be of much use. Otherwise it’s pretty much the world’s most energy inefficient paperweight.
I squinted and looked really hard. There it is! I found the recipe buried alive and in a tiny tiny font. I used a gesture to try to to expand the page and make it look bigger. No dice. I looked for a print button. No dice. I checked the address bar for the world-famous Safari “reader” mode. Nope.
In desperation I made the commute to my office where I could actually read the page. I was hungry.
At last. I see we have a recipe from Emeril Lagasse. I looked over the instructions. “Pour the reserved liquid and grime into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.”
Crap. Here we go again.
Grime?! Grime?! Grime?! Is this some kind of master chef word that has eluded me throughout my career? “Oh, grime. Why are you so coy?”
“Honey!!! Where the hell is the grime???”
I went back to the kitchen and chucked the prep so far. It was time to improvise. At least the iPad made a serviceable cutting board. Finally! Dice at last!
I don’t know (BBQ) beans
I am now recovering from The Cooking Incident. This post has bumped, temporarily, the previously scheduled post about The Camping Incident. (Which is still to come at some later date.)
This was an incident of titanic proportions.
I had decided it would be fun to make some BBQ beans for the Fourth of July. I took out my gigantor America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook and found the recipe. I noticed right way that it contained bacon. (That’s out because my wife is vegetarian.) No worries. I’d just leave that out and find another ingredient that was almost as much fun.
I searched the net and found a recipe that contained green pepper. I love green pepper. The wife said no.
One recipe contained chipotle chilies in an adobo sauce. We happened to have some frozen in the fridge. The wife said yes.
An interesting idea was tossing in some fresh mango. The wife said no. “I don’t like fruit in my beans,” she said.
Lastly, I had the idea of dumping in some bourbon which is always a great idea IMHO. The wife said yes.
With the ingredient lineup approved, I went to work. The recipe called for a dutch oven. The wife recommended our cast iron dutch oven. This moment would turn out to be akin to Captain Smith ignoring the iceberg warnings, although I did not know it yet. Continue reading →
The perfect marriage of analog and digital
I would like to relate a little story. This morning my wife asked me to stop at the store on the way home from work and get some shrimp. She was making a shrimp salad using leftovers and just needed the shrimp. The little shrimp, what we sometimes call “bay shrimp” or “salad shrimp.”
“How much do you want?” I asked.
“Oh, about three handfuls,” she replied.
Wow. We yanks really do need to switch over to the metric system, don’t we? 🙂
So we had a wee little problem on our hands. I don’t speak the kitchen language of dashes and handfuls and things. I like cooking by weight. I have a little digital scale for that. And if not by weight then I measure everything as accurately as I possibly can. How much could there possibly be in a measurement like “handful,” I wondered.
I decided to try to nail things down. “Three handfuls, eh? That sounds like it might be half a pound.”
“Nope,” she said. “Half a pound is not enough.”
“Well then,” I continued hopefully. “Maybe three handfuls is more like a pound?”
“Naw. A pound is more than we need. We won’t use it all.”
“Aha!” I exclaimed. “What we need is .75 pounds then.” Finally, a satisfactory answer. The matter was settled.
“Nope,” she said, shocking me out of my premature conclusion. “We need three handfuls,” she stressed again.
You see, my wife is what I’m going to refer to as “analog.” She’s very much about feelings and the arts and premonitions and intuition and some other things that don’t always make much sense to me. She doesn’t care for measurements in the kitchen and only does so when it is required. The rest of the time it is a dash of this and a dash of that. When she serves up a dish I ask, “Will you be able to replicate these results?” (Translated that means, “This dish is good but will it taste the same next time?”) But somehow she is always able to do just that. She has analog skills and powers that I just can’t understand.
Me? I’m more of a “digital” kind of guy. I like ones and zeros. Truth is a binary and that sort of thing. I often claim that the person I’d most like to be like is Mr. Spock. He’s my hero. And not the elder Spock who was an emotional wreck. I’m talking about the Mr. Spock from the original series. That guy rocked.
So we were speaking two different languages. I couldn’t help but feel amused by it. We had each drawn a little line in the sand in our kitchen and each of us was trying hard to frame the discussion our way knowing darn well the other person was being obstinate. I guess that is sometimes our way.
After work I went to the store and told the guy at the seafood counter, “Three handfuls of shrimp, please.” It turned out to be .83 pounds.
The Scampered Theft
I was doing the dishes today when, at the last possible minute, my blog idea for today came to me in a flash of slowly degrading crappy overpriced kitchen widgets.
The coating on my Pampered Chef garlic press has been flaking away for some time. Sometimes something flaky in the kitchen is a good thing, perhaps a pie crust. But when it is your utensils? That is decidedly not a good thing. As I tried to get bits of garlic out of those little tiny holes, I was struck by the amount of coating material on the garlic press that has already flaked away and I realized that The Pampered Chef has been bothering me for quite some time.
I remember the day my last shipment of Pampered Chef items arrived. The flash of anger is still fresh in my mind. Not a good way to begin an association with their products. I knew what I had been charged for shipping. I saw the label on the box for UPS Ground shipping and the shipper’s zip code and the package weight. I went to my computer, plugged in the variables, and realized I had been charged $8 over the actual rate for them to ship me overpriced stuff. Now I can understand some markup but this is ridiculous, I thought. That’s even more than the Computer “Try My Product” Professor charges for shipping and handling on his “free” DVDs.
I wrote a letter to the Pampered Chef mother ship inquiring about the charge and, I’m paraphrasing here, their response was, “eat it.”
So I did. I’ve never ordered from them again, even when it would mean supporting my friends. Sorry. Fool me twice, shame on me!
Researching this post I went to visit the Pampered Chef web site. They are offering my garlic press for $16. Wow. While there I also looked for country of origin statements. I couldn’t find any. Finally I used Google to search their site for the phase “made in China.” Bingo! I got back a whopping 140 results. And here’s a link to a web site that even shows a sample bill of lading from Hong Kong to The Pampered Chef.
So, to sum up, the four pertinent points here are:
- Over-priced, over-hyped kitchen gadgetry
- Excessive charges for shipping and handling
- Made in China
- Not well made; won’t last
Next time in the market for a kitchen gadget I’ll do a bit more research to see if I can find something of higher quality and, if possible, get something that was made in the USA.