Sunday, June 22, 2008

To Fry Or Not To Fry

I'm wrapping up my week of looking back at past posts with this one. It's about food. And stuff. I guess you could say it's about foodstuffs.

Warning: the following is what happens when I run out of things to blog about...

Since watching Alton Brown make homemade corn dogs 4 months ago, I have been craving a deep fryer. Well, I’ve been craving homemade corn dogs and wanting a deep fryer. I’m not sure you can really crave a kitchen gadget, though maybe you can lust after them. The problem with this new desire is that I am on a diet. A serious diet and have been seeing results. So I’m not sure how well a deep fryer would jive with that. But then again, when deep fried crispy goodness is at stake, it jives all by itself. When you figure out what that means, would you mind letting me know?

I have a long love affair with kitchen things that plug in. I probably should learn how to cook given how much I like kitchen machines. I buy them, I use them (at least twice) and then I have to find a place to store them for the remainder of their time in the kitchen. The electric orange juicer, steamer, iced tea maker, bread maker, ice cream maker, popcorn popper and wireless BBQ meat thermometer that can transmit to the base unit up to 100 feet away all have a cozy place under my counters. The sane argument is whether or not I really need another bulky gadget taking up room in the kitchen.

I’d like to feel I can justify all these purchases which then makes it easier to justify adding another gizmo to the equipment list. While it takes more time to set up the orange juicer than it does to cut open an orange and juice it using the antique glass juicer that we already have, it’s so much cleaner and can automatically switch directions, which gets more juice out. Then again, hands can reverse direction too. The steamer was purchased for the exclusive purpose of steaming lobster tails. The fact that I could do corn, rice and other veggies at the same time only made the deal sweeter. And as if the redness of the lobster doesn’t tell you that it’s done, it has a neat timer. I have used the steamer 5 times in the last 7 years. A friend had one and I had to go buy one for me the next day. The iced tea maker comes in handy that one time of year when our relatives who drink iced tea come to town. Yeah, kinda hard to justify this one I guess.

Ahhh, but the bread maker, now that’s an entirely different story. You can make bread with it. Real bread. The kind of bread you eat and spread stuff on. I use this one a few times a year with the dough and the yeast and all of that. It makes me feel special knowing that I made bread, like a bread making elitist. Plus with WonderBread filing for bankruptcy, I figure I better take matters into my own hands. I don’t follow the recipes very well so I have never been able to duplicate what I’ve made but when you use it to sop up gravy, the taste is pretty irrelevant. I also use the pre-made bread mixes (that cost more than 2 loaves would in the store) and just dump them in and turn the unit on. Hmm, I think I’m making bread tonight! The ice cream maker doesn’t get used nearly enough, but once I photocopy every single page of my best bud’s ‘Ben and Jerry’s’ homemade ice cream recipe book, I swear I’ll use it more. Quick tip: combine a vanilla ice cream base with any flavor extract and you can’t go wrong. I have actually been challenged to an ice cream making contest by my parents’ neighbor. If anyone can think of an addictive ingredient that you crave constantly after tasting it once, and it’s still legal, please let me know. I really want to win this ice cream throw down.

Considering that you can pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave in less time than it takes to remove everything from the kitchen cabinets to find the popper, set it up, pour in the popcorn and pop it, I should probably turn this one into a planter for the back yard. But the real piece of resistance (that’s the American translation before you commence to start laughing at me) is my wireless BBQ meat thermometer and probe. Does the word probe make you as uncomfortable as it makes me? Seriously, I can now grill meats for long periods of time and monitor the temperature from the comfort of my recliner while watching NASCAR or my hammock or garage or yes, home computer. I tried from the cubicle, but apparently the distance is too long. This is one gadget that has revolutionized my life. I can be grilling a pork shoulder in the backyard while mowing the front yard. Or, I can have meat on the grill and be upstairs napping. It’s efficient…and yummy. This gadget will leave my kitchen only if it’s attached to my dead, cold hand. Fortunately, since it’s a thermometer, you’ll be able to tell just how cold my dead hands are.

The more I think about it, the more I think I should start inventing electrical kitchen gadgets that actually save no time but come in pretty boxes with lots of words to make it sound more necessary than it really is. Target devotes like half of their store to these things. Surely there is some money to be made in the cutthroat business of kitchen gadgets. I could develop the electric peanut sheller, the electric corn shucker, the electric nacho cheese warmer upper, the electric butter knife, the electric salter (which immediately makes it necessary to have an electric pepperer), the electric apple peeler and the electric pop top opener. Oh and how about the electric ‘get the ketchup out of the bottle assistant.’

So all of this brings me to what I really meant to write about when I sat down to start this: the issue of adding a deep fryer to the mix. See, a deep fryer might not really be bad for my diet. As I am fond of telling people, it’s not what you eat, but how much you eat. For the sake of the rest of this post, I hope you see it that way too. Now here are all of the reasons I need a deep fryer in my life:

Deep fried lobster tails
Deep fried hamburger or hot dog (just place them in the bun and deep fry the whole thing!)
Deep fried marshmallows
Deep fried smores
Deep fried dove bars on a stick
Deep fried bacon
Deep fried BBQ (I realize it sounds like a sin, but you haven’t tasted it yet. Then again, neither have I)
Deep fried sushi (yes I realize this would be just a very fancy fish stick, but I can’t handle sushi. Go ahead; send your hate mail now)
Deep fried fruit on a stick
Deep fried M&Ms
Deep fried cotton candy
Deep fried nachos (seriously, this one has potential)
Deep fried frozen bananas
Deep fried eggnog balls (I’m still figuring out how to work the logistics on this one)
Deep fried fruitcake (yes, I am the only living American who likes fruit cake)

And the one I call ‘The Magic Bullet’ – The Deep fried macadamia nut. It's a slow, but tasty death.


cmk said...

Sorry to tell you, but I think about half of the things you want to invent are already being sold by Chef's Catalog. :) Anyway, I sympathize about lusting after/wanting/needing kitchen gadgets--I'm the same way. I now have begun putting the unused in the basement--when THAT is filled up, I guess I will stop buying. NOT!

"Fortunately, since it’s a thermometer, you’ll be able to tell just how cold my dead hands are." Yes, that REALLY made me laugh.

Eva said...

"Fortunately, since it’s a thermometer, you’ll be able to tell just how cold my dead hands are." - made me laugh too. That's another masterpiece, Mike. :)

Today in the store, I saw a "banana slicer", which was yellow and shaped like a banana with little slicers. Apparently, instead of dragging out a knife and cutting a banana into slices the old fashioned way, you simply press the slicer down on the banana and voila! Sliced banana. Instantly! I think there is a limit to gadgetry and this is it.

Selma said...

I really want an egg peeler but I can't find one anywhere. You pop a hard boiled egg into it, shell and all, and it peels it for you. Now that's thinking. MMmmmm, after reading your list I'm in deep-fried heaven.

Linda ~ said...

Hey there

We haven't used our bread maker ever since My Better Half went on Atkins...Sniffle.

I vote for 'bacon' flavored ice cream. I realize it may not sound very appetizing, but really...everyone LOVES bacon!

Regarding the deep fryer, you could make ice cream and then deep fry it...or fry the bread you've made. Wait...then you'd have doughnuts.

Doughnuts topped with bacon flavored ice cream. IHOP would probably pick up on that.

citizen of the world said...

Most kitchen gadgets I don't use and then get rid of them because their very presence annoys me. But they are tempting.

Erika said...

My thoughts are as follows

1.Skip the deep fryer and hit Hot Dog on a Stick
2. Use your breadmaker I swear it is super easy, I have a great EASY wheat bread recipe
3. Have a garage sale to get rid of all those kitchen gadgets so that you can make room for the Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker. For only $299 you can have restaurant quality frozen margaritas.


Patti said...

That dead hand thing got to me as well...and I'm wondering if all dead bodies would drop to a certain temperature. Like they are all would register at 40 degrees or something. Do you know what I mean?
I don't really.

I think deep frying lobster would ruin the flavor, but that's just me.

Funny post, Michael.

Mel Heth said...

I won an electric potato peeler at a Christmas gift exchange one year. It couldn't peel a potato to save its life...

If you get the deep fryer, be sure not to use it on the floor and step in it like Michael Scott did with the Foreman Grill.

meleah rebeccah said...

When you get your deep fryer, I am MOVING IN with you. This way I can eat every single item on that list!

Janna said...

This probably makes me a bad person, but I think deep fried BBQ sounds delicious. So does deep-fried bacon.

I can hear my arteries slamming shut even as we speak.

And still...