Category Archives: shopping

10 Worst Gifts for Men Who Cook 2011

Trouble waking up in the morning? This Wake And Bake Alarm Griddle is just the thing to get you going. X these off your list.  Now.

Well, here’s your annual warning.  After a little Holiday shopping research I’ve turned up this new crop of presents Dad is hoping will not be making an appearance.  This year’s list of truly terrible gift ideas is a real testament to human ingenuity, or an incredibly bad sense of design.

You can find the entire freshly updated 10 Worst Gifts For Men Who Cook 2011 list and links here, in the Dads’ In the Kitchen! gift advice section.

Some say, it’s not the gift:  it’s the thought that counts.  Well, if you give any of these to a man, I guarantee he will have no idea at all what you were thinking. Maybe you can use one of those little gift tags, to explain.

For example, what message are we trying to send Dad with a log covered in fungus? Or, this year, there’s even a couple of NSFW items, including a cringe making grill tool that involves hot dogs and an anatomically correct stick figure; and an in your face cookbook that’s tasty, hysterically funny, and Martha Stewart lock your door they’re gangsta, all at the same time.

That said, I suppose it’s necessary here to address what’s truly important, the meaning of the holiday. Yes, my review of these and any other products, is for sale.  Just because no one pays me anything at all at the moment for this valuable service, doesn’t mean I’m not available.  Or, willing to accept free samples.  Or, do paid endorsements.

Otherwise, my wife is likely to decide I’m just doing this out of the goodness of my heart, for nothing but a sincere desire to help other dads, and become a popular dad blog some day.  And that just isn’t going to pay for college.

Dieting For the Holidays

There’s a reason it’s illegal to start any diet before January 1.

The other day dad was checking to see if he had the black or the brown belt on with the blue pants, to avoid the kind of fashion faux pas that gets wives wondering if they’ve married down in life.  To my surprise, this maneuver was nearly impossible without using the bathroom mirror.  The light by the bedroom mirror had gone.

I’m not exactly sure when I lost the clearance to see my waist directly.  And while there’s a small possibility my neck’s just gotten too muscle bound to reach the right angle, the holidays always seem to get me thinking about it.

This is the time of year we may find ourselves doing a double-take before recognizing the guy walking by in the mall store window reflection.  Who at first looked like they may have been shoplifting things under their shirt. The time of year we notice there’s just not enough suck-it-up left to make a difference when the saleswoman gives you a smile over the clothes she’s folding.

‘Can I help you find something’, she says, surrounded by pre-teen fashion and accessories, and somehow suddenly making it obvious that I’m the only male in the entire crowded department.  Just standing, and watching.

‘Just here with the wife,’ I say, taking a look around to find my wife, who is no longer anywhere to be seen in teens wear.  ‘To pick something out for the kids,’ I say, and watch as her eyes make the same circuit of the store mine did, and then come back to settle on the front of my shirt.

‘What do you think,’ my wife says from my six o’clock.  She’s arms upstretched, holding out pink and purple bangled quilt jackets, looking from me to the saleswoman and back.

‘I’m going to go check power tools,’ I say.

‘Stairmaster’s on sale’, my wife says, checking the color of my belt.

With four women in the house, weight is always on the menu.  It’s been decided that everyone gains it when I’m home, and loses it when I’m traveling.  Apparently dad’s gravity attracts stray calories into the house, which stick to the entire family.

And at no time is this more true than in the short cold days and long nights between Thanksgiving and New Years.  A stretch that for almost all of human existence has also been the start of the season most short on food.  With the kind of dieting no one would ever choose, an annual trial, forced and irresistable.  A season not of overeating, but one that culled the thin and weak from the herd.  And part of the reason, I suspect, we all still today have a hard-wired pull to feast and reach for the sweets and fat.  To hold the ancient fear of famine, and death, at bay.

These days, its clear, there’s too much of a good thing.  And, I intend to adjust my intake to resemble my expenditures. It’s time to lose some weight.  Try and reverse the slide from six pack to keg.

Just as soon as we eat ourselves into the new year.

Because while I’ll be careful to keep from overdoing this year,  I’ve decided the best diet to apply isn’t the one between Christmas and January 1.  It’s the one between New Year’s and Christmas.

Worst Gifts for Men Who Cook I Forgot

Last minute gifts we’d rather not get.

Santa’s helper has spoken to dad about the last please don’t get me this present for Christmas list and cleared up a few things, such as, why we’ve never been found in the kitchen dressed in a colorful apron.  And, do not see this in our future.

Since the last set apparently came as quite a surprise, a few more gift ideas have come to mind I thought I’d better share.   Not that we don’t like Santa’s gift ideas.  We do.  We have an entire shelf in the closet set aside as a showcase from previous years.

Let’s just say, if you see these wonderful items for men who cook, please, just leave them for somebody else.

1. Any Guy Fieri DVD I’m sure he’s an inspiration to many.  He’s an energetic guy, and all over Food Network, so he must be popular. There’s just something about him and food …. How can I put this?  I think my appetite has an allergy.  To him.

2.  Reusable Shopping Bags It’s not about being green.  It’s about getting out of the car, walking across the parking lot, around the store, going through the checkout, and back across the lot, holding one of these.  And not being exactly sure what message I’m sending.

3. Fine Food Magazines Sure, these are great for ideas, helpful tips, and fun reading. Right up to the moment the youngsters hold it up to their plate and want to know why daddy’s food doesn’t look anything like the one in the picture.

4. Food Dehydrator I’m sure there are plenty of dinner recipes that call for dried zucchini, bananas, and chicken.  And, they must be way better than using fresh.  Otherwise, why would anyone go to all the trouble of slicing up good food just to dry it out?

5.  The Sensor Fresh Now, just because some of us aren’t afraid of a little meat that’s lost its pink color, and don’t want to waste otherwise perfectly good food and have to make an extra trip to the store, doesn’t mean we have to resort to this.  90 bucks for a device that sniffs ground beef and tells me it’s too old to eat?  And when have I ever served food so old it made anyone sick?  And not just because nobody would touch it.

There’s some perfectly good ideas at Last Minute Gift List For Men Who Cook over at http://www.dadsinthekitchen.com.

10 Worst Gifts for Men Who Cook

Here’s what Dad hopes he won’t be finding under the Christmas tree.

This time of year there’s plenty of bustling and whispering behind closed doors about what to give Dad for Christmas.

If the man’s been spending time in the kitchen – or you wish he would – food and cooking gifts may come to mind.  What could be better?  It’s either that or the matching tie / socks set.

As a helpful shopping guide, I’m leaving this post lying around the kitchen table as a subtle reminder.  When it comes to presents, it’s really the thought that counts, and we’ll be happy with anything our loving family gives us, but here’s a list of goodies that are guaranteed to gather dust and / or make present opening a huge disappointment.

1. The Encyclopedia of Cooking A two-volume set.  Dad seems stressed in the kitchen, and this looks like it would be a big help, right?  Wrong.  As a Christmas present this intimidating opus just lets Dad know he’s now under big pressure and high expectations.  And, it has way too many words.

2.  Colorful Apron I’m sure there are men who wear bright, cheery, colorful aprons in the kitchen at home. I don’t know any.  I wouldn’t.  Instead, if you’re looking for some truly unique, funny, manly gift aprons for cooking, as an alternative to him just wiping his hands on his tshirt, then be sure and check mine here at Dad’s in the Kitchen! Shop and overlook this shameless plug.

3. Food of the Month Club At first this seems really fun and interesting.  Then you figure out that for half the price you can go to the store once a month, pick up much the same items and mail them to the house, and have them go bad while he tries to find something to do with them.

4.  Food Storage Containers The  ‘cook once, eat twice’  approach can really save kitchen time and trouble when it comes to family meals.  And a good set of containers for leftovers makes it even easier.  And this gift is right up there with drain snakes, home insulation, and hedge shears.

5. Personal Deep Fryer This handy appliance can turn out french fries, donuts, country fried steaks, deep-fried cheese and veggies….  Do we really want to go there?

6.  Kevlar Cut Resistant Gloves Nothing shows how a family really feels when they see dad sharpening the chef knife than a pair of these.

7. Electric Carving Knife See above.

8. Pasta Maker There’s probably nothing dad looks forward to more than dashing home from work to whip up dinner for the kids and pulling out the pasta maker to produce spaghetti from scratch, rather than grabbing a packet at the market for a buck.  And that’s why this wonderful device will live at the back of the cupboard.

9.  Cooking Torch w/Fuel Gauge When it comes to really tech and manly cooking tools, this one’s very hard to beat.  His second reaction will be, what the heck do you use it for?  The answer is, nothing at all comes to mind.  So, do you really want him experimenting to find out?

10.  Smoking Gun According to its manufacturer, this handy device ‘adds a smoky flavor to foods before or after cooking. Gentle enough for use on delicate fruits and vegetables without changing texture or temperature’.  What could possibly go wrong?

Now, feel free to make up your own mind about what he’ll get.  But if you’re looking for some ideas of what food and cooking presents he might like and appreciate, you may want to check the Last Minute Gift List For Men Who Cook over at http://www.dadsinthekitchen.com.  Things the kids can make, you can find, and he’ll actually use. They’d make me smile.

Sweet Little Lies

I’m feeling angry.  It’s about the folks who give advice on children’s diets and nutrition.  I didn’t realize it right away, but now it’s clear. They haven’t been telling the truth.

I’m talking about the government authorities, doctors, TV personalities, special reporters and school nutritionists.  You haven’t been leveling with us.  All that talk about healthy diet, and the food pyramid – you just happened to leave out the little part about the kids themselves.  Why does nobody mention that youngsters are basically cute little appetites on legs, automatically set to hunt down sweets and fats to eat or hide under the mattress? It’s a known fact.  Babies are born craving sugar. They can’t help it.

Keeping this vital information from parents makes no sense.  If I drove out of the dealership and my new car had an automatic and natural tendency to steer towards cliff edges, deep water and heavy immovable objects, I’d want to know about it BEFORE we were moving at speed down Suicide Mountain.  I’d want a warning, flashing right up there on the dashboard in big red letters.  Not some pretty colored signs halfway down the grade, suggesting that I use sensible driving tips to try and persuade it not to fly, smoking, off into the void.

And I’d have something to say to the folks making money selling them.

I don’t normally take all four kids at the same time to the grocery store.  Or promise them on the drive that they can each pick out one small treat.  I’m now up to speed why it’s a really bad idea.

We hit the aisles with one basket, and they split up chittering, happy as birds.  My idea was, they’d go find some favorite snack or food not usually allowed as part of the house menu.  Their idea was to inventory the food mart, and come up with the largest, lowest nutrient content, processed, food-like calorie bombs they could find.  The one’s with the big “Mom Would Never Let This In The House” stickers.  They set up a relay and proudly dragged their prizes to the cart.

‘Wait’, I’d say.  ‘What’s this?’

Through the bag I can make out colors I’ve never seen in nature before.  Before I get an answer, another box flies in.  It looks like a month’s supply of sprinkle covered, chocolate coated, fudge filled, artificial ice cream stuffed cones with nuts on top.

‘That’s not small,’ I say.

‘Look, Dad, they’re really, really small,” she says.  All fifty of them.

‘This is what I want’, I hear behind me.  My son with a cart of his own. I didn’t know they sold chip assortments in 30 bag family sizes.

‘Hang on, everybody’, I say, holding up my hands.  ‘Huddle up.  The deal was, one little snack or treat, not the biggest thing you can carry. Take all these back and we’ll go check this out together.’  They roll their eyes and slowly, painfully, unload the basket.

I deliberately steer to the fruit.  ‘Look, ripe mangos!’ They exchange looks, and I can see we’re in for a tough negotiation. Before long we start attracting attention from moms, who look at the kids, look at me, turn away with a hidden smile and shake their heads.  They can see I’m out of my league.

‘Can I…’, ‘No’, ‘How about…’ ‘No’.

Without thinking I turn into the cookie aisle, and instantly realize I’ve made a huge tactical blunder.  It’s the longest aisle in the store.  Spilling boxes from floor to ceiling.  You can smell the sugar.  The kids bolt like horses at a desert oasis.

Now, it’s a marvel of modern engineering that you can put just the same few ingredients together, and make endless varieties of products.  And it’s a testament to how skilled and expert companies have become in knowing what kids are wired to want to eat.  Let’s just say, they have it down to a fine science.  A very profitable science.  If the health and nutrition groups were half as good, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic.

I won’t go into the details of how this little expedition turned out.  There was upset, threats, and a shouting tantrum.  The kids stayed calm and polite, I was proud of them.  We compromised and took some vitamin fortified treats home and weathered mom’s disapproval.

But I’m still angry.

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