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.
Ba’Noodle promises to be a good test of Anthony “Sully” Sullivan’s pitchman skills. Everyone wants to keep bagged foods fresh after they’ve been opened, but would you consider buying these multicolored pipe-cleaner-meets-twist-tie strips to do the job? When I first heard the name Ba’Noodle, I swear I thought it was one of the infomercial parodies from Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! That name is pure Cinco.
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.
If you’re a fan of Transformers, you’ll love the Big Boss Grill. This grill has interchangeable cooking plates that let you transform it into a grill, a griddle, waffle maker, panini smasher, omelet maker and uranium enrichment chamber. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. The other uses are all true, but the Big Boss Grill does not have any nuclear capability. Still, it is one versatile countertop appliance.
Before there was Billy Mays, before there was Anthony Sullivan, before virtually all the pitchmen and women opertating today, there was Ron Popeil. The man behind classics like the Pocket Fisherman is still pitching at age 74. Here’s his latest product, the Ronco Chef & Go Cooker. It looks like an oversized Japanese rice cooker. Your Savvy Shopper owns a rice cooker, and the perfect rice it cooks every time means it is the most useful countertop appliance I’ve ever purchased. If I could own a multi-funciton cooker that also baked muffins, steamed veggies and cooked chili, I’d be in culinary heaven. And now I can has! Thanks, Ron!
Big Top Cupcake is a new product that requires little explanation. Here’s the sitch: It’s a pair of non-stick silicone pans in which you separately bake the top and bottom of humongous cupcakes bigger than your head. From toddlers to centenarians, everyone at the table is going to exhibit extreme gleefulness when a giant cupcake with sprinkles is served for dessert. Except for anorexics and dieters. Depending on choice of mix, filling and toppings, I’m guessing 8,000-12,000 calories in one Big Top Cupcake. And that’s why you never bake a Big Top Cupcake just for yourself, especially on a Saturday night when you’re home all alone feeling sorry for yourself because you’re not in a relationship and you’re sure you’ll remain all alone for eternity. Don’t bake it then.