The process of getting a culinary treat can sometimes be almost as exciting as the treat itself. Consider going to get ice cream as a youngster: from the time the word "ice cream" is mentioned, the duration of the experience is one of increasing excitement until finally, finally, the frozen treat is safely obtained. Whether it involved choosing one of many different flavors, or sitting in a parlor trying to wait patiently for the ice cream to arrive, the fun of the wait was always rewarded.
Apparently, movies aren't the only things with sequels. Japanese designer Akira Mabuchi has unveiled a successor to the Cupmen lid holder, called (surprise, surprise) Cupmen 2, a perfect complement to instant-noodle guzzlers.
This whimsical silicone man holds down the lid to your cup ramen, with a bonus. As it's waiting, it reacts to the heat and changes color to let you know when your three minutes of cooking time is up.
Cupmen 2 (840 yen, or $9.40) sports a more relaxed devil-may-care attitude, in blue, moss green, or rose, while its predecessor (as you can see from … Read more
UPDATE: This post was edited at 2:20 p.m. to correct the minimum number of bars to 2, not 3. I can tell the difference between numbers, I swear.
Barring a large lottery win, this may be the closest I get to channeling my inner Willy Wonka.
Chocri, a German start-up that recently set up shop in the U.S., offers chocoholics the opportunity to create their own chocolate bars via its Web site, createmychocolate.com. First, you start with your base chocolate: milk, dark, or white. Then you choose up to five toppings, which range from about what you'd expect to add to a chocolate bar (nuts, coconut, etc.) to things you might not think to put on chocolate (chamomile, poppy seeds, gold flakes). You can even name the bar if you want; it'll be printed on the package.
Once you confirm your choices, the bars are made in Germany from organic, fair-trade-certified chocolate and shipped to you in about three weeks. Each 3.5-ounce bar starts at $6.90, and each topping adds a little more to the price (sea salt adds 20 cents, and the real gold flakes will add an extra $2.10), so if you're on a limited budget, you might want to keep that in mind.
There's also a two-bar minimum for each order, and that can be two completely different bars or two of the same. Shipping usually runs about $6, but expedited shipping that gets your chocolate to you in one week instead of three, is available as well for $19.90. One percent of the sales is donated to DIV Kinder, a German-based child-welfare organization that helps children in Ivory Coast, which, not coincidentally, is the largest exporter of cacao beans.
Chocri gave me a crack at being a chocolatier recently, and this is what I came up with:
Copy Editors' Breakfast Milk chocolate with sprinkles, cinnamon corn flakes, cinnamon, Bourbon vanilla.
Very smooth. The sprinkles and cinnamon corn flakes (looked similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch for you cereal junkies out there) added a bit of crunch, while the extra cinnamon complemented the milk chocolate nicely. I think this one might be my favorite. … Read more
I'm a big fan of advance preparation. Before my kids go to bed, I like to set out clothes for the next day, set out their schoolbags, and pack their lunches. But my kids love to have things like soup, rice, couscous, or other need-to-heat items in their lunches, and those get packed in thermoses. Which cannot go in the microwave. So I either have to make them in the morning and stress myself out or heat them in a different container and make more of a mess. Neither option appeals.
A good grill session is always better with family and friends, but sometimes you just have to bring the grill to them. Perhaps the backyard is in no condition to entertain, or maybe the deck is too small for guests, or most likely it's just more fun at the beach, park, or tailgate party, but whatever the reason, a good grill sometimes just needs to get up and go. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side, and sometimes the same thing can be said about the grill--literally.
Designed for portability and available in a … Read more
Dieting is hard enough if you're a reality show contestant with a personal chef and a trainer at your beck and call. For those of us left to our own devices in ordinary kitchens, we've got to remove every possible obstacle if we're going to meet our goals. That's where products like the Measure Up Bowls come in. These microwave- and dishwasher-safe porcelain portion bowls keep you on track by letting you serve proper portions right in the bowl you're eating from. Nothing extra to wash, and you can simply eat--and enjoy.
The bowls come … Read more
Summer is almost here, and if you're not quite swimsuit-ready, these utensils might just help you out. The Knife and Fork Lift each weigh in at a pound and a half to remind you that every bite you put in your mouth has to be exercised off eventually. If you're trying to be more conscious of what you put in your body, this silverware will definitely do the trick.
Although the site claims that the knife and fork would make a great gift for someone starting a diet or having trouble sticking to one, I'm fairly certain … Read more
As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, the reason this outlook may be expressed in the first place is because "they" may have designs on your breakfast--especially when it comes in the form of breakfast sandwiches. After all, who can resist the allure of an egg sandwich? Topped with ham and cheese, the classic combination is suitable for one and all. Thankfully the breakfast staple is easy to make, and therefore not solely relegated to the fast-food drive-through window. But that doesn't mean it couldn't be made even easier to … Read more
As the weather turns warmer, the joyful sound of the ice cream truck driving around the neighborhood becomes more common. And since I have no intention of paying $4 for a Sponge Bob-shaped treat with gumball eyes, I've stocked my freezer with less expensive, if more boring, boxes of chocolate and vanilla goodness.
Whenever my parents serve ice cream, they first microwave the container for about 30 seconds. I prefer my ice cream cold, so I usually just leave it out on the counter for a few minutes to soften enough for easier scooping. But apparently, so many people … Read more
Individual tastes are a tricky thing, especially when preparing food for a crowd. When eating out at a restaurant, everybody gets to choose exactly what they are craving, but try to host a dinner party and the fun, communal atmosphere of a shared meal can quickly turn from tasty to nightmarish. Planning around this eventuality is of course an option, but sometimes it's just easier to let people serve themselves.
I haven't been to many crepe parties (OK, none), but it seems like it might be a good idea. People can construct their own and cater to their … Read more