Vegetable choppers were the mainstay of the pitchman’s pitch at county fairs and on boardwalks decades before Ron Popeil introduced the Ronco Veg-o-Matic, the only As Seen on TV product in the Smithsonian Institution. Not satisfied with knives and graters, hungry consumers are always looking for a new way to slice a whole onion in seconds or prepare a mountain of julienne fries. The latest entry in this crowded market is the Slice-O-Matic from Telebrands, with name and function more than a little similar to its institutionalized predecessor.
Some believe that eggs are nature’s perfect food, although the Mayo Clinic recommends you limit your eggy intake due to their high cholesterol content. Hard boiling is one of the easiest ways to prepare this nutritious and delicious protein source, and it’s so easy that even kids can easily learn how to heat water in a pan and boil up a batch. But the makers of Eggies believe they have a better method. Ditch Mother Nature’s container and boil your egg in an Eggies plastic shell. There’s no more messy peeling, and you get flat-bottomed uniformly shaped hard-boiled eggs that stand up on their own. Too bad Eggies don’t come in colors, or they’d be perfect for Easter. Here’s where to buy.
Did you buy Easy Feet because you liked the idea of a car wash for your feet? If so, you might want to take a look at Easy Dish. This new dishwashing aid, with “over 10,000 super cleaning bristles,” is sort of like an Easy Feet for your dishes, glasses and silverware. Easy Dish claims to save water, time and money. If all of your dishes are dirty, and you tell your housemates it’s because you’ve been waiting for a miracle product to make dishwashing faster and easier, your excuse is no longer valid.
Savvy Shopper here, back again to gaze in disbelief at the never-ending parade of countertop cookers. Never satisfied, Americans are constantly seduced by new grills and ovens that promise faster, more energy-efficient and healthier cooking than can be accomplished with pots and pans and conventional gas or electric ranges. Today’s candidate is the Sharper Image Super Wave Oven, which seems suspiciously similar to the Morningware Halo Oven. But we know that direct marketers would never copy their competitor’s product, right?
Why are Americans so fascinated with countertop electric grills? Makes you wonder if there are a lot of homes with non-functioning stoves. The Sharper Image folks go so far as to suggest you use their new Super Grill to prepare all your meals, breakfast through dinner. Maybe that’s not such a wacky idea, since the 1500 watt Super Grill can grill both sides of a steak at the same time, plus use the interchangeable plates to perform cool culinary tricks like making panini sandwiches and waffles.
I can’t get enough Cathy Mitchell, the Julia Child of the cooking infomercial (and someone who richly deserves a real Wikipedia article). Cathy is the most engaging and credible pitchwoman in the business, and she won my heart forever when she agreed to spoof herself on my favorite comedy TV show. Ms. Mitchell’s newest invention is the Sideshow Skillet, a really simple product.
Your Savvy Shopper has yet to visit the Boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey. So I was unaware of Tornado Fries, the deep-fried snack incredibly popular with boardwalk visitors. It’s even been featured on the Food Network. You’d think that putting french fries on a stick would be a uniquely American invention, but apparently the concept originated with street vendors in South Korea.
The Boardwalk Tater Tornado Maker is a hand-cranked countertop kitchen device that lets you make this tasty treat at home. You can even bake them for a healthier treat. Tater Tornado can also quickly transform other fruits and vegetables into tasty spiral snacks. This would have been a perfect product for the late Billy Mays to pitch, but instead it’s ably demonstrated by his PitchMen partner Anthony “Sully” Sullivan. “Tornado watch” the commercial spot below.
One thing’s for certain when it comes to As Seen on TV products: what’s old will someday be new again (or presented as such). Back in 1982, my then-girlfriend’s mother gave us her old microwave when she purchased a new one. One of the accessories she included with this generous gift was a round plastic microwave crisping tray with raised ribs and a channel around the perimeter to capture grease. It worked pretty well to cook bacon and reheat pizza. In fact, it was very similar to today’s “new” product, the Magic Crisp. That’s not a bad thing, because useful products are always welcome in the home, even if they’re not newly invented.
For my birthday last year, my husband bought me a very up-scale Japanese chef’s ceramic knife (I don’t know exactly how much he paid, but it’s the three-figure one). Now along comes the YoshiBlade ceramic knife at the more modest price of $19.99 (plus shipping and handling, as usual) – what to do, what to do? I’d love to try it on this summer’s tomatoes after seeing the demo – but it feels like culinary infidelity.