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Do 'Hipster Cooking Gadgets' Spoil Comfort Of Cooking?


You may have spent a lot of time in the kitchen lately, laboring over your Thanksgiving meal or maybe feeding a brood of relatives in for the holiday. Perhaps you use conventional cooking tools - spatulas, ladles, graters. Or perhaps you use some state of the art flashy device like a crepe batter trowel spreader or a home macaroon-baking kit. If it's the latter, Keith Blanchard would like a word. He is the former editor in chief of Maxim magazine and the author of an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal last week called "Why Hipster Cooking Gizmos Are Killing Cooking." He joins us on the line.

Thanks for being with us, Keith.

KEITH BLANCHARD: Thanks for having me, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: So why are hipster cooking gizmos killing cooking?

BLANCHARD: Well, there's something that runs afoul of the comfort side of comfort cooking when you bring in this sort of hipster-influenced individual gadget-related cooking, where suddenly everything has 54 ingredients and it's Stumptown this and artisanally hand-folded that.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter).

BLANCHARD: It's very funny, and we pole a lot of fun at hipster expense. But I think there really is something to - if you make artisanal cake pops at home because you tried them in a new bakery...

WERTHEIMER: As opposed to cake.

BLANCHARD: Exactly. That's what I was going to say. When you make cake, we have to get plates out, and we have a shared experience all together around the table. But when you hand out cake pops, everyone can disappear back to their corner and tap away at their screens by themselves.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) Now, you just spent Thanksgiving with your relatives, right?

BLANCHARD: That's correct. That's right.

WERTHEIMER: So you didn't do the cooking. I wonder, did you inspect the kitchen for hipster gizmos that might have crept into the making of your meal?

BLANCHARD: I did, indeed, to make sure that it wasn't polluted by such gadgetry. And the only thing I found that was sort of interesting - 'cause I had never considered it this way before - but the turkey baster itself is kind of an individual gizmo, if you will. Right? We don't call it a meat baster. It's really just for this one single purpose. But yeah, they're very traditional cooks. And - I didn't see any evidence of creeping hipster-ism (ph) there.

WERTHEIMER: Kitchen - but, you know, kitchen gadgets are popular holiday gifts. Now, I try not to buy one, as you say, if it only does one thing. But did you find any gizmos that you particularly don't want to receive?

BLANCHARD: I don't want to receive a mini donut maker or a waffle stick maker or a cronut maker or any of these kind of gadgets that only have this one purpose because now I'm in for storing and maintaining a new item that I'll probably use twice the first month and once in the three-month period after that and then let go forever. One gadget that exemplifies exactly what I don't want for Christmas, even as a stocking stuffer, is the dedicated three-prong sausage pricker.

WERTHEIMER: I don't think I (laughter) understand what that is.

BLANCHARD: Well, you know, when you're grilling sausages, they can burst unappealingly or unattractively, let's say, on the grill if you don't prick them first. But we already have a dedicated three-pronged sausage pricker. It sits to the left of every plate in America. So I'm not sure why I'd need a separate...

WERTHEIMER: Called a fork (laughter).

BLANCHARD: That's right, exactly (laughter).

WERTHEIMER: Keith Blanchard wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal which is called "Why Hipster Cooking Gizmos Are Killing Cooking."

Keith, thank you.

BLANCHARD: Thank you very much, Linda. It was nice to be here. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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