Beware the kitchen contraption infomercial

Published 9:05 pm Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beware the kitchen contraption infomercial


“When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of the mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood…”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

~ excerpt from “Shinto” by Jorge Luis Borges


On lazy Sunday afternoons, watching PBS cooking shows has been a favorite thing to do, whether old black and white programs of Julia Child nipping wine and stirring up beef bourguignon, or Nathalie Dupree rolling out biscuit dough wearing her golfball-sized diamond rings. Freezing outside, I decided to wile away a little time catching up on cooking ideas. Dear reader, you know how it is — watch someone else make what you’d like to eat!

So, scrolling through channels, I found that old favorites were no longer on in the afternoon. No Lydia, no Julia, no Nathalie, no Jacques — maybe they’d all headed over to cable. No cooking shows, with the exception of an infomercial about some new-fangled pressure cooker. But wait, there is something showing food recipes! I thought to myself, well, that does look pretty good. I’ll just watch a minute. A minute turned into 10. Ten turned into 20 — you know the drill.

Of course, there’s a charming guy in a chef’s outfit touting the amazing benefits of this contraption. I have no clue who he is, but he’s talking a mile a minute and pulling me in on how easy all this is, how I can do it, what a top chef I, too, can be. So I hover a few more minutes. It’s cold outside, so why not?

I’m paying rapt attention to the recipes he’s preparing and then serving up for the audience. I’m easy. Lobster! Six of ’em! French onion soup! Osso buco! Pot roast! Lasagna! Seafood paella! Have mercy, my mouth is on overload waterworks by now, and Mr. Charming Chef is smooth-talking how all these recipes basically cook themselves in no time flat, and how you, too, can feed a herd with the humongous capacity of this wondrous device that does it all. Plus, it will can your own garden produce, make preserves — this versatile magic cooker does it all, yesiree! Push that magic button, and the world is yours.

The talk gets even faster, louder. Order now and get free recipe books, a free veggie chopper! And if you order in the next milli-second, you get free shipping, and only three payments instead of four! Hurry! What would you pay for this fantastic invention? Not $500! Not $300! Not $200! Geez, just tell me, I hiss at the blasting television. (Naturally, you have to watch to the last minute to be able to get your once-in-a-lifetime deal. Run for that credit card!)

By then, you’re starved and in love, those taste buds on high-alert, salivating over platters of delicious steamed lobsters and seafood paella, cooked to perfection, that you’re raring to go order. They’ve really got you hook-line-and-sinker envisioning how much easier life could be with this sparkling new toy in your kitchen.

Clicking the rapturous spiel off, although it had put me into a hypnotic state of food-envy fantasies about all these mouth-watering dinners for 10, I forced myself away from the phone. No! You do not need something that cooks enough food to feed an army. You do not need something that takes $300 of ingredients to fill up every time you want to cook dinner! No! Save yourself! I was exhausted. Resistance is tough these days. Julia Child, I miss you.

Saluda Welcome Table is every Tuesday, with dinner served from 5:30-7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Saluda United Methodist Church.  All are welcome; donations are accepted.

Saluda’s Tree City USA meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at Saluda Library.

Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) will benefit from your donations or time as a volunteer for their many community projects. For information, contact SCLT at 828-749-1560 or visit

Congratulations to Thompson’s Store for celebrating 125 years!

Happy February birthday to: Wylie Rauschenbach, Wesley Pace, Biddie Dawson, Amy Beeson, Ginny Jones, Jenna Igoe, Suzanne Igoe, Pam Thompson, Catherine Raymond, Eva McCray, Ellen Rogers, Margaret Miller, Paul London, Ward Sandahl, Bill Klippel, Pat Bares, Dwight Smith, Ingrid Sandahl, Fred Baisden, Duane Bateman, Jim Crowther, and Ragan Thompson.

Thank you dear readers, for reading this column! As ever, the goal is to make you feel like you’re enjoying a cup of hot tea and small town life in a friendly little mountain town called Saluda. You can contact me at, call 749-1153, visit for more writing and art, or find me on Facebook.