Kitchen Fever Dreams: A Look at “This Is Why I’m Broke”

Before I start my blog, I’d like to apologize to my readers for dragging my feet on updating this blog. I’ve been searching for steady work, and so far, I’m either in waiting or rejected. On top of that, I was having writers’ block on how I wanted to approach this blog (yes, I still owe my readers part two of my barbecue lesson, but now’s not the time for it). It’s my baby, but I also want it to be different than the others. Then I realized that if I have a good idea or an opinion about food, restaurants, markets, and kitchen stuff, I should just jot it down in a notebook and come here ASAP (and that my over-thinking is getting in the way of my acting on a lot of major creative decisions).

Which is why I’m here today.

My aimless Internet surfing has lead me to many websites featuring kitchen equipment and ingredients (for the home kitchen, the commercial kitchen, and the institutional kitchen), though none have reflected how nerdy and excessive we as a people have become (thanks, in no small part, to the Internet)  than the food and drink section of the website, This is Why I’m Broke (http://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com).

Now, some of This Is Why I’m Broke’s kitchen equipment and food seems like things I would “unironically”  have/eat (whatever that means to anyone who isn’t a hipster. I guess it means I wouldn’t be ashamed to have or eat it), such as…

Chopstick Eating Utensils

Chopstick Eating Utensils: I’ve been teaching myself how to eat with chopsticks (by practicing with pencils) from a young age. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I wanted to add another useful/useless skill to my full arsenal. Maybe I wanted to eat like an East Asian (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) person. Who knows? With this, I don’t have to furtively pocket extra chopsticks when I order a Chinese noodle dish, or, failing that, ramen noodles. They look kinda plastic, like something from KFC, and the $7.89 price tag isn’t doing anything to convince me otherwise.

Slate Coasters

Slate Coasters: I’d probably only use them once, for a Flintstones/prehistoric-themed party, but they look a lot classier than the ones casinos give out or the ones that look like ashtrays (and probably were used as such).

Green Tea Kit Kat Bars

Green Tea Kit Kat Bars: The milk chocolate Kit Kat has been my favorite for years. I’ve had the white chocolate Kit Kats too, but not as often as I’d like. I know a dark chocolate one exists, but I prefer my dark chocolate to be more upscale or organic, like Ghiradelli, Lindt, Godiva, and  Dagoba (though I’ve had Reese’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. They taste almost like the ones you’d find at a homemade candy shop). Green tea flavored Kit Kats are found in Japan, but thanks to online shopping and San Francisco’s Japantown, you don’t have to go far to find it. I haven’t tried it, but, if it’s anything like Haagen-Dasz’s green tea ice cream, it’ll (a) taste good to me, but not anyone else, and (b) it  will have a slightly off aftertaste.

Any of the offbeat cookie cutters: They’re so much more creative than the ones used for Christmas or the animal-shaped one used all-year. You have the Game of Thrones ones for fantasy geeks, Tetris and Pac-Man ones for video gamers and 1980s nostalgia-holics, zombie ones for zombie heads (and anyone you know who has the characteristics of a zombie: dead eyes, bad posture, unholy stench, limping gait, only speaks in grunts, moans, and monosyllables, so probably your elderly relatives or your teenaged/20-something-year-old son), iPhone-shaped ones for techies and Appleheads, and a 3D dinosaur cookie cutter set for those who want to reenact Jurassic Park (the first one), make a model replica of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event for either high school biology or your culinary school’s Food-Based Centerpieces course, or want a bit more of a dimension to their dinosaur cookies that these can’t provide.

Square Ice Cream Scooper

Square Ice Cream Shaper: This is a godsend for people like me who are amazed at how dessert, pastry, and confection chefs can turn a pie à la mode into modern art and want to emulate that, like my pastry and confection teacher, Chef Kin Joe. The sticker price ($14.99) could be a bit lower, but it’s worth it. And even if it isn’t, you can achieve the same effect by scooping some ice cream into a biscuit cutter or a cleaned out soup can with both lids removed.

However, for every one of those, there are some cookware/flatware/kitchen appliances on that site that make me wonder, “Really? Is this what people want these days, whether as a joke or seriously?” It’s not in my place to judge someone for their purchasing decisions (maybe you’re having a themed party or are at that impressionable age where you think fads will make you cooler), but if I met you and you had this in your house for visitors to see, I’m going to make a lot of hilarious, yet broad (and, at times, politically incorrect) jokes and assumptions about it in my head, to my sister (who also shares in my broad, un-PC humor), and on this blog. No disrespect; it’s just how the world works now. Everyone is fair game, whether they like it or not.

Like this wonderful piece:

Trash Can BBQ

No you’re not seeing things and it’s not a Photoshop or a still of a parody product from Saturday Night Live or any SNL-esque sketch series  (either on TV or online). It’s a barbecue grill that’s shaped like a trash can. It goes for $78.22, which I think is too much. For less than that, you can find the kind of trash cans that Oscar the Grouch calls home on alibaba.com (or any store that still has those kind of trash cans. They are becoming a dying breed, thanks to recycling bins and Rubbermaid) and build a charcoal pit inside of it. Judging by the legs and feet of the individual using the product, I take it that college students are the main demographic for this product, probably to practice for their post-college life of living in an alley roasting dead rats and pigeons over a trash can fire while struggling to find work to pay off the exorbitant student loans they’ll owe back to the school. The implications to this just seem unfortunate, even if it is meant to be joke.

You Have Been Poisoned Glass

Yes, it’s a gag glass, but this is just begging to be used as “People’s Exhibit A” in a murder case that started out as a harmless prank. Besides, if one were to poison someone’s glass, that person would be secretive about it, and come up with a million alibis for it. I’ve seen enough Investigative Discovery shows to write at least three murder mystery novels featuring a poisoning. See also: the “Big Mistake” plate.

Vegetable Grilling Clips

There’s nothing wrong with this vegetable grilling clip, but I think a $14.95 price tag is outrageous. I can go down to either WalMart or a discount beauty supply store that caters to women of color and get at least three packs of hair clips big enough to hold asparagus spears or carrot batonnets together on the grill — or, better yet, eschew the vegetable clips all together and just place the long, skinny vegetables on the grill at an angle at which they won’t risk falling through the grates.

Gummy Worms Cereal

$38 for sugary cereal?! Are you mad? I can get sour gummi worms for $1.00 and a sugary cereal of my choice (I’m a sucker for Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Golden Grahams) for two or three dollars (depending on whether or not I’m buying a no-brand version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch that tastes just like it). That leaves $33, $34 that I can use for other things (except for useless kitsch) or put towards a savings account. On top of that, that product looks like something you’d find in a parody commercial, making fun of childhood obesity.

Edible Chocolate Anus

That is a chocolate anus. Yes, really. Fortunately, it doesn’t have a filling in it, but still, it’s a sign that there are some body parts you just shouldn’t recreate with chocolate. I don’t mind erotic cakes or confections shaped like breasts or penises. Food and sex go together like whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and the hot, naked body shuddering in ecstasy as his or her lover dollops the cream (or drizzles the chocolate) all over him or her. This, however, is not going to appeal to most people (except for the anal and butt play fetishists crowd), even if you lie and say it’s a molar with a really deep cavity in it.

Candy LEGO Bricks

Candy Lego Bricks: These are a lot like candy cigarettes or those European chocolates with plastic candies in them: all it takes is one kid to choke on it (or, in the case of the candy Legos, mistake a real Lego for a hard, tasteless candy Lego) and soon, you’ll have One Million Moms protesting over these and they’ll be recalled. This, my friends, is why we can’t have nice things.

On that note, I’d like to thank you for reading. Good day, and happy eating.

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