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After Work: As Seen On TV

…P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

So there must be many, many, but no one I’ve met will admit to being one.

Well, I’m one.

I’m a pushover for cooking gadgets. And miracle cleaning products…

Dona Gibbs spent most of her life working in advertising. So she’s not going to fall victim to a clever advertising come-on, is she? Do read on…

For more of Dona’s deliciously entertaining and confessional words click on After Work in the menu on this page.

Gosh. Darn. And other unladylike language. When will I ever learn?

Here I am well past the mark of middle age even by the new cheerful proclamations of “Fifty is the new Thirty.” Well, I’m sixty-four and I’m still waiting for wisdom, or at least common sense, to descend like some kind of graceful mantle on my shoulders.

P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

So there must be many, many, but no one I’ve met will admit to being one.

Well, I’m one.

I’m a pushover for cooking gadgets. And miracle cleaning products.

A disclaimer is in order. I spent a majority of my life in advertising so you’d think I’d be inoculated against the come-on.

Not so.

Nothing can reel me in like a cute photo of little kids and puppies. I now own three cameras all bought because of their winsome advertising. I also am at the mercy of hip ironic headlines. And I have a few pieces of “mutton-dressed-as-lamb” duds to prove it.

I can appreciate well-penned direct mail pieces with their flashy fonts and underscoring but I can resist them. Or otherwise, we’d find ourselves with lots of insurance policies, credit cards, new calling plans and homes on the North Carolina coast

I dislike splashy graphics on packaging. You know the kind with bold type within a yellow starburst shape. New. Improved.

But sometimes the consumer, the every-hungry sensation-seeking consumer in me overrides the practical, analytical mind. And the design-conscious snob.

That’s why if you open my cupboards you’ll find a home rotisserie—“As seen on TV.”

Now I love rotisserie chicken. Every supermarket in France features poultry turning on a spit until the proper moment of brown succulent skin and juicy tenderness arrive. Why even here in South Florida such treats are common.

So why, oh why was I sucked in to buying a countertop version?

It was a devilish combination. Tantalizing descriptions of food. Pictures you might think about chewing on.

I had read about a stovetop smoker. I ordered it. Then I ordered a cookbook for the smoker. It was a combination of stovetop smoker recipes and countertop rotisserie cookbook.

I was on a slippery slope and soon the rotisserie joined the smoker in my kitchen.

The smoker, I’ll have to say, works just the way it promised although it’s no beauty in the design department.

Alas, I’ve yet to equal supermarket rotisserie chicken or any of the other of the cookbook’s rotisserie delights.

It’s now sitting on a top shelf in a kitchen cupboard mumbling dully, “Put me in, Coach. Put me in.”

Have you ever enjoyed an authentic paninni? You know those marvelous grilled Italian sandwiches, which were oh so chic about two years ago? Well, I have a paninni maker – the home version. Try though I might, I’ve never turned out anything as delicious as the real thing.

Yes, I’ve had a bread-making machine, which was supposed to turn out fragrant crusty loaves. Mine were pretty much the squishy texture of mass-produced supermarket bread.

And I must confess I went through a juicing stage. Apples, carrots, parsley, celery, and spinach – nothing was safe. And it took pounds or everything to create ounces of juice.

One of my more embarrassing follies is that I own a large electric grill. Now discretion prevents me from revealing this hulk’s name. It was an expensive lesson to learn that it can’t put a caramel char on any piece of meat beyond a boneless chicken breast. And that’s at the highest temperature it can be persuaded to reach. It sits brooding in the corner of the garage. I try to ignore it. It makes me feel gullible and guilty.

I’ve tapered off a bit on these kinds of purchases but something caught my eye recently. These were cleverly packaged tablets that “promised” to remove baked on grease from pots and pans either in your dishwasher or with a soak in the sink. I bought them. I stuffed a tablet in the dishwasher. The pans looked almost as brown and crusty as before their miracle washing. I soaked the same pans in the sink; however they still weren’t purged of my cooking sins.

I looked at the silver bullet-shaped container again. I saw a starburst. How could I have missed it? “As seen on TV,” it shouted.

Now on that’s a warning sign I’ll look for. And I’ll walk right on by.


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