My 53rd birthday celebration nearly complete, I unwrapped the final package as my wife and daughters looked on. I had asked for only one gift and now there it sat, ready for deployment.
The NutriBullet Pro.
More than just a blender, the NutriBullet is, according to its website, "the ideal tool for health-conscious individuals looking to fuel their exceptionally busy lives." Precisely why I requested it.
"You're really gonna use this thing?" my wife asked.
"Why wouldn't I?"
She gestured toward our basement door; I understood her skepticism. One floor below the NutriBullet Pro, which "breaks down the cell walls of food to create the most nutrient-dense smoothies possible," laid a plethora of trendy food prep devices, now gathering dust. Some we purchased ourselves, others were gifts. All had two common denominators: An electrical plug and a history of disappointment.
The first of these so-called "gotta have this" and "oh boy we'll use it EVERY NIGHT" appliances was ... the FONDUE POT! A staple of every wedding gift registry in the 1990s, we unwrapped it after returning from our honeymoon. Squealing in delight, we imagined evenings spent sipping white wine, succulently paired with the cheese fondue that we'd feed each other before retiring to the bedroom. Or we'd be the coolest couple on our block; the ones who hosted monthly fondue parties. We used it exactly once, spending three hours making small talk over a bubbling vat of canola oil while continuously wiping grease blobs from our counters, walls and dinner guests. Since then, I've discovered fondue forks make excellent tools for scraping food crumbs from table crevasses.
Next up was everybody's favorite early 21st century brunch dazzler ... the CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! Simply dump chocolate pellets onto a heated metal disc, wait a few hours and watch melted chocolate spew, volcano-style, over three separate plastic tiers. Elegant to look at, delicious to eat and impossible to clean. After each use, the fountain had to be disassembled into a dozen smaller pieces. Despite numerous soakings and dish washings, dried chocolate stubbornly clung to each part or, worse, inside each part. Fondue pot? Meet your new basement neighbor.
My wife's food making devices took on a healthier slant several years ago when she purchased the ultimate sandwich creator ... the PANINI MAKER! Want to literally squish the flavor out of your turkey and cheddar while adding tasteless black stripes to your choice of bread? Then this is for you.
Once we realized we could achieve the same effect by firing up our outdoor gas grill and laying a sandwich on the hot grates, the Panini maker was exiled.
Other inventions came and went: the ROTATING waffle iron, the INTERLOCKING frittata pan, the HAND CRANKED ice cream maker. Our basement was starting to resemble an "As Seen on TV" storage warehouse. Some devices have yet to be removed from their original packaging. After realizing my younger daughter enjoyed banana smoothies, her grandmother presented her with the ... DESSERT BULLET, created by the fine people who introduced the NutriBullet Pro into my life. "Make delicious, healthy, all-natural desserts in just seconds!" the website screams. Or, just drive to your local Baskin-Robbins and get the same thing while saving on electricity!
I'm relieved we don't plan to have more children; if so, we'd somehow become owners of the ... BABY BULLET, "perfect for making all three stages of baby food!" Seeing this device overwhelmed my wife and I with guilt as we had no idea baby food came in "stages." Now we fear our teenage children have been nutritionally cheated.
I vow the NutriBullet Pro will never succumb to a dark, dusty death. For starters, it comes with hundreds of "life changing" recipes, none of which were included with the chocolate fountain. This week I plan to create and consume either the "Dude Defender" or the "Male Hormone Balancer," complete with a combination of spinach, beets and pumpkin seeds.
The grinding of the blades pulverizing those ingredients should drown out the sounds of my wife clearing shelf space in the basement.