Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland

"As seen on TV"

Except on those rare occasions when I'm inexplicably struck with the urge to be very domestic, I try to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. So you might think I'm one of those folks who loves kitchen gadgets. Not so! I have an old-fashioned can opener - the kind you put on top of the can, close down and turn by hand. And I have opted for a few appliances and gadgets that I'm pretty certain make life more convenient. I wouldn't want to get along without a microwave, a two-slice toaster, a slow cooker, an electric frying pan, a coffee maker, a waffle maker, a garbage disposal and a hand-held mixer.

Yet whenever I see gadgets advertised on television, I watch with some skepticism. Could they REALLY make my life easier?

I remember the SaladShooter ads back in the days when I still lived with my parents. I don't recall seeing commercials for it recently, but it was usually advertised around the holidays.

Now, the Bed Bath and Beyond website advertises it:

"Presto SaladShooter Electric Slicer/Shredder: Now slicing or shredding vegetables, fruits and various types of cheese is even easier. You can also grate chocolate, chop nuts and make bread and cracker crumbs. Salad Shooter allows you to point and shoot food and toppings where you want it. There's no extra bowls and it's perfect for creating delicious salads, soups, pizzas, tacos and desserts. Slicing and shredding cones are interchangeable and slip right in ..."

My main problem with the SaladShooter is that I'm afraid I'd shoot my lettuce and carrots across the room! And those cones? They do NOT look easy to clean.

I saw a commercial on television a couple of weeks ago for r something called the RoboStir. What caught my attention was the statement, "It stirs so you don't have to!"

I've been known to get distracted from my cooking, which has led to a few cases of things sticking to the bottoms of pans. So was the RoboStir something I'd find handy?

Checking it out on the Internet, I discovered:

"The RoboStir™ is the new way to make kitchen work quick and easy. It's the tool that lets you stir your food without actually having to stir. Let's face it, we all love our soups and sauces but who wants to stand for minutes or hours stirring when you could be doing something else. Now you don't have to because of RoboStir™.

"Just place RoboStir™ in a pot or pan, turn it on and stop worrying because your food will be stirred automatically at precisely the right speed. Works on practically any pot or pan and can operate in high temperature up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. The water resistant RoboStir™ with its specially designed legs allows it to cover every area of your pot or pan, so food is stirred thoroughly..."

OK, let me get this straight, at 572 degrees it works great, but at 573 it melts or breaks or explodes or something bad? That seemed like a really odd number, so I asked husband/engineer Art about it. He noted that 572 Fahrenheit equals 300 degrees C and is the usual upper-limit temperature for silicone - the material used in the RoboStir's feet. But he also pointed out that the unit runs on batteries and common ones such as those ubiquitous AA cells are rated at 130 degrees Fahrenheit maximum!

Hmm. I'm definitely not sold. Maybe the best bet for me is to cook food that doesn't require hours of cooking or run the risk of sticking.

Another recent commercial was for the Smart Mop. According to the guy on television, it "picks up 10 times its weight."

It supposedly picks up sand, catsup, mustard and pet hair - ick! - and replaces your string or sponge mop or even broom.

After mopping up the various items, the guy held the mop over his head to prove that it really can hold all that stuff without dripping.

OK, I understand he is trying to make the point that it is really reliable. But all I can think of is, "What kind of person places a mop with that junk in it over his head?"

And the answer? Not the kind of guy I'd buy anything from, thank you very much!

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