Darth Vader Waffle Maker


A waffle maker that makes Darth Vader-shaped waffles might, at first glance, employ the classic tactic of combining two things you like in order to take your money. But, if you check out the picture of the waffle it makes, it’s clear that it’s more of a Shitty Pancake Maker than anything else. The job of a waffle maker is to provide a high surface-area-to-volume ratio to give you a crisp waffle, not a soggy pancake.

Check out the cheaper (and best-selling) Presto Belgian Waffle Maker if you need a waffle maker, or a picture of how the inside of a waffle maker should look in order to function correctly. You can write “Star Wars” on the lid if you must. Of course, neither of these will allow you to “barbecue like a Jedi.”

What is Bone Broth?


The actual “bone broth secret” isn’t that it’s a magical elixir that will fix everything in your life. The secret is that bone broth is gelatin.

The golden, hand-wringing, full-of-promises bone broth from a food truck or on the shelf at the precious upscale grocery is made from the very same gelatin as the little box of mango Jell-O you buy for seventy cents. It’s a solution of gelatin in water. One has sweetener and artificial flavors, and the other has salt and savory aromatic flavors from a combination of meat, vegetables and herbs. The infamous five-pound bag of sugar-free gummy bears? Also made mostly of gelatin.

Industrially, gelatin is made by boiling bones, tendons and skin, mostly from cows and pigs. The fat is separated, and it’s filtered, dried, and ground into powder. Apart from the steps that turn it into powder, this is exactly how you make bone broth. Or, as our ancestors called it, “stock.” In fact, the next time you’re cooking using regular chicken broth, toss in a packet’s worth of unflavored gelatin. You have now turned your chicken broth into BONE BROTH. No, it’s not as good as if you made stock from scratch, but it gets you most of the way there, and unless you’re drinking it straight, it’ll be indistinguishable.

Back to the book. Is stock a life-extending, weight-loss, and beauty miracle? Probably not, sort of, and kinda, respectively. If you replace high-calorie-density foods with cups of soup, leading to a lower daily calorie intake, yes, you’ll lose some weight. If you’re overweight, and you lose weight, yes, you have a chance of living longer. This all supposes that you are able to maintain a calorie deficit over time by drinking soup, which relies on self-control and an acceptance of the symptoms that accompany long-term calorie deficit, such as hunger and fatigue.

Collagen (the protein in bones and tendons that’s converted to gelatin when cooked) has been shown to improve skin elasticity, which we lose as we age. So this part might actually be true, if you define “beauty” solely as a function of skin elasticity and moisture. I was skeptical, but if you’re curious, you can dig up some double-blind studies showing this very thing.

What’s our conclusion here? Soup is not new, and it’s still okay to eat soup, and it probably won’t fix your entire life if you drink it out of a cup, or a bone broth K-Cup, instead of a bowl.

Flatten Someone’s Car Tires


Road Stars could be the name of a show on TLC, but, instead, it’s a piece of metal that you use to flatten someone’s car tires. I’m sure there’s some legitimate use for them, but like this pack of caltrops, they mostly seem to be fuel for fantasies about evading “bad guys.” Check out the customer reviews by terrified people saying they “keep them handy.” One even refers to “those times you’re being chased by a gang.” You know, a regular scenario that happens in your real life all the time.

Airplane Cocktail Kit


This small tin contains an even-smaller bottle with a tiny amount of bitters, along with a spoon and two packets of sugar. It sells for an inordinate amount of money, considering that it doesn’t include the bourbon or rye that constitutes most of the drink. After all, a regular-sized bottle of bitters is about twelve bucks, and sugar, spoons, and napkins are usually free anywhere you’d be ordering a drink.

The only good takeaway from all this is that you can buy bitters online (this one is particularly good, FYI) since it’s not considered an alcoholic beverage, despite being full of alcohol. It’s the gentleman’s vanilla extract.

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