Jun 25

Dear Readers,

What follows is my review of the Bagel Biter, a product gifted to me after a recent incident in which I inadvertently lopped off small, I daresay insignificant, portions of the cutaneous regions of my left thumb while slicing a bagel on Monday. And then proceeded to—-really, it’s hardly worth mentioning—-slice off minimal cutaneous sections of my right thumb while slicing a bagel on Tuesday. My mother, fearing for the life of her only child, decided that the Bagel Biter might be a useful addition to my kitchen accoutrements. The Bagel Biter acts as an intermediary by slicing the bagel for the victim/hopeful bagel consumer.

At least, that’s the claim of the Bagel Biter manufacturer.

After firsthand contact with the Bagel Biter, however, my concerns regarding its safety run deeper than my concerns regarding weapons of mass destruction overseas. That is, I suspect that weapons of mass destruction have not been found overseas because they are here in the United States, and they are called Bagel Biters, and one was just shipped to my house. It caused massive destruction to me personally when I attempted to remove it from the box, and suffered a third cutaneous stab wound as its blade hurled itself uninvited at me.

After which I thought I’d observe the warning label on the box, which, to my great dismay, announces: CAUTION: Sharp Blade Handle With Care!

Which begs the question: Why would a company make a bagel slicer that requires such a warning on the label? Wouldn’t you think that an invention tailored specifically to the person so inept—-me—-that she can’t so much as slice a bagel without also slicing off valuable appendages in the process should protect against similar hemorrhaging by providing a safe, blade-free alternative? Shouldn’t it sense when invaluable extremities, like the middle finger, are nearby and feature technology that repels anything that doesn’t take the form of a bagel?

Of greater concern, perhaps, is that the Bagel Biter is billed on the packaging as “The Original Bagel Guillotine.” Again, I must voice my displeasure at coming face to face with a product that bears the name of a device historically used for carrying out executions by decapitation. Now not only are my fingers threatened, but also my head, which I use from time to time when all else fails. My body also relies heavily upon my head to promote its overall aesthetic appeal. Why would I invite a guillotine into my kitchen? How will that look to guests*??

*Guests: (Plural Noun) People I would invite over if I knew how to cook.

Finally, the Bagel Biter features a multitude of fancy parts featuring big words (polycarbonate safety shields, non-stick coated serrated blade, removable stainless steel fasteners, etc), which is greatly disappointing to the consumer who has little time for (translation: cannot understand) big words like polycarbonate, serrated, and safety. Similarly concerning are the “directions” regarding how to use the suspicious weapon. Obviously the consumer who couldn’t coordinate knife and hands sufficiently to cut a bagel in the traditional manner will be overwhelmed by these instructions, and will disregard them in favor of more hands-on, tactile-kinesthetic approaches to learning (such as the ever-popular cutting oneself in the process of removing the product from the box, and then cursing oneself for having shredded the instructions with the big words).

Based on the aforementioned concerns I have brought to your attention regarding the safety and efficacy of the Bagel Biter, I am awarding it one star out of five. It has earned one star because it sits proudly on my counter, and is distinguished by its singularity as the first and only cooking utensil that I own.

–Troi out

Jun 22

Yeah, right. Great title though, right?

So this morning I decided that after four years of not making breakfast*, it was time to do so. (*This depends on your definition of “making breakfast.” I have always felt that unwrapping my energy bar and placing it carefully into my mouth constitutes “making breakfast.” Others disagree.) At any rate, today’s breakfast was to be a nutritious delicious creation of pancakes, smoked salmon, and, most importantly, coffee. After obtaining most of my items at Trader Joe’s, I danced to the Safeway dairy case to purchase International Delight White Chocolate Raspberry creamer. In horror I witnessed the absence of all White Chocolate Raspberry creamers. I said a prayer for their passing and whispered a small curse on the Coffee gods (big mistake) before settling for Coffeemate’s Chocolate Raspberry.

I came home and set all of the optional ingredients (pancake mix, salmon) for breakfast aside and immediately prepared to brew the single crucial necessity. I happily reached into my cupboard for a paper filter and came to find that…..they were ALL GONE. That’s right, the Coffee gods stole my LAST paper filter! What was I to do?

Now I know what you’re thinking….Troi, is there REALLY such a thing as Coffee gods? And to that I respond, How would Starbucks be the powerhouse it is today without the support of the Coffee gods? Do you really think that Starbucks singlehandedly ran so many of the smaller coffee shops in Portland into the ground all of its own accord? Certainly not without the Coffee gods! And now you’re asking me, Troi, are they Coffee gods, or Coffee devils?? And to that I answer, I guess it depends on who you’re working for. 🙂

At any rate, these Coffee gods exist. God created the world in seven days, which was an impressive feat that to this day has not been exceeded. However, the Coffee gods have made their own place in history by creating the Coffeemaker, the espresso machine, coffee beans, foam, chocolate syrup, half and half, styrofoam cups, all-nighters, ulcers, and the omnipresent Starbucks that is ten steps in any direction you might be headed. I daresay the Coffee gods have outdone themselves.

That is, until this morning when my ultra uncaffeinated self cursed the Coffee gods and they plundered my final precious paper filter. You can imagine my panic as I tore through the cupboards looking for any object that could possibly double as a paper filter. And then I found it, right under my eyes, the glorious thicker quicker picker-upper: A Bounty Paper Towel. I gratefully tore Bounty from his roll and explained to him that today he was not a picker-upper but a filter. Bounty misunderstood, and my thicker quicker picker-upper tore a bit in the filtering process, leaving grounds and a curiously strong paper taste in my Chocolate Raspberry coffee.

But it didn’t matter. Nor did it matter that I’d lost all motivation to make the rest of my breakfast and that it could perhaps be another four years before the motivation strikes me again. What matters is that I could use my brains and Bounty’s braun to enjoy a cup of coffee despite unforeseen circumstances. And even the Coffee gods are smiling on me again. My second cup of coffee was definitely less papery than the first. And I think the third cup will be perfect.

–Troi out