Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blender drinks are all the rage

In case you haven't heard, blender drinks are fashionable again. I'm sure this comes as a surprise to many of you out there who never gave up on blender drinks. But I'll bet you're still working with your old blender....the one you got as a wedding present.

Well, do I have a blender for you. Hamilton Beach recently introduced their Dual Wave™ blender, which has an amazing feature: It has two motors. What this means is that you can choose either to use it with two smaller, single-serving (16-ounce) blender jars, or with one giant 80-ounce pitcher, which sits over both motors. This gives you the option of using the small jars--which are also travel mugs, by the way--to make individual smoothies or the large jar to make big batches of frozen drinks for a party.

The large party-sized jar also has a spigot so it can double as a dispenser. (Just think of the horrible mess you make as you pour people's drinks straight out of a traditional blender jar.) What's more, if the drink you've made starts to separate, you can quickly reblend it because the jar is still in place over the motors.

The stainless steel version (shown here) has a 1000-watt motor and retails for about $70; it also comes in black. A nice bonus: The little single-serving jars store inside the large party pitcher.

Now, what to put in the blender? Hamilton Beach has kindly provided some ideas on their website. They have regulation frozen drinks (margaritas, and smoothies, but they also have a number of ice cream-based drinks with intriguing names like Crash a Van with Cow Juice or Fuzzy Chicago Bottom.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Growing square watermelons

If you lived in Japan, you could actually buy a square watermelon in the market (though it would cost you a pretty yen). However in this country, you'll have to grow your own. If you have a garden and are already interested in growing watermelons, then you can actually grow a square watermelon. On a website called Instructables: The World's Biggest Show & Tell, there are full instructions for how to do that.

The concept is really quite simple: grow the fruit inside a box so that it is forced to take on the shape of the container. The instructions for making the box, however, seem a little daunting to me, but then I'm not especially handy with power tools.

If any of you tries this--or has already tried such a project--I would love to know how it worked out. Please send me photos.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quack! I want some soy sauce

So the folding steak story has put me in a bit of a Japanese mood, which led me to the MoMA store where they are currently featuring Japanese design.

Though I loved a lot of the objects, including a very modern looking spork, I fell in love with this Duckbill Soy Sauce Dispenser. (I'm a sucker for pitchers and dispensers in the shape of animals.) Even though it was designed for soy sauce, you could just as easily use it for something else. For example, it would make a dandy milk dispenser for your tea or coffee.

UPDATE: MoMa sold out of these

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Completely vegetarian beef steak

No meat here, this steak is actually made of paper. If you go to a site called Atelier Fare (it's a Japanese site, so don't expect to understand any of it), you'll find a section labeled (in English) "Papercraft of steak." There you can download a jpeg file of a raw sirloin steak.

The scale of the image is 1:1, so once you print the image, cut out the pieces and assemble them, you have a lifesize steak. How you assemble the steak is more or less self-explanatory, which is a good thing because the downloadable instruction manual is in Japanese.

If the raw steak gets your crafting/origami juices flowing, then you can also download some other projects to assemble, including a knife, fork, plate and cooked version of the steak.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Save Our Earth glasses

There are plenty of companies out there making objects out of recycled materials, but I just happened to like these glasses better than most.

Made in Wisconsin from recycled Bordeaux bottles, the glasses have been etched with the phrase "Protect Our Earth" in four languages: English, Spanish, Afrikaans and French.

A set of four 11-ounce glasses is $45 from Uncommon Goods.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Knitted key lime pie

I have noticed that, generally speaking, people who like to cook also like to craft. It makes perfect sense. In the case of cooking, however, your "craft project" usually doesn't have much of a shelf-life, especially if your audience comes back for seconds.

But here is a crafter who has found a way to give permanence to his culinary creations: Artist Ed Bing Lee knits his food. In addition to the Key Lime Pie you see here, Lee has a whole line of knitted foods in his "Delectables Series," including a hot dog and a cupcake with sprinkles.

Check out his Knotted Artworks website.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hotman trivet

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Look at this little guy. Gladly sacrificing himself to protect your dining room table. The Hotman Trivet is about 8 inches long and 5.5 inches wide and costs $17.99 from a website aptly named Perpetual Kid.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Playing a sweet potato made of broccoli

OK, let me explain. My family wasn't particularly musical. None of my siblings took music lessons and neither of my parents played an instrument--with one exception: My father played the sweet potato. The sweet potato is a small wind instrument also known as an ocarina. As you can see in the photo, an ocarina somewhat resembles a sweet potato.

So now that I have you up to speed, here is a video of a Japanese fellow who has taken a large stalk of broccoli and carved it into a sweet potato. The sound is remarkably good.