Lincoln’s been having a quite a year and today, February 12th, is his birthday. Between public muses from Obama himself to Hollywood attention and hopeful Academy honors, you could easily say that he is the hottest politician of the moment. All the more reason to nab one of these hand-crafted mugs by Justin Rothshank from Catherine’s Table. Loosely wheel thrown, it has gentle nubs and dents for your fingers; each is a one-of-a-kind. But don’t worry, Abe ain’t delicate. This mug is sturdy and meant to be used every day. A special treat at $42. Order one now for your smart sweetheart before they are sold out. And don’t worry, if politics isn’t your thing, other mugs by the artist feature authors, poets, or musician icons.
The Claim: Whether you’re separate your eggs because you’re trying to be healthy, or just because tiramsu is on the menu tonight, Quirky’s Egg Pluck gadget aims to take the sucky part out of pulling separating your yolks. They say that you simply place the gizmo over the yolk of an already cracked egg, squeeze the silicone chamber, and release to suck the egg yolk up into it.” Give Pluck another squeeze to release the yolk.
The Situation: Egg cracking is not my strong point — I often get shell fragments or leave dribbles of egg whites behind in the bowl. My method of separating eggs is the one my mom taught me as a kid — crack the egg, then toss it back and forth in the two half shells, letting the white pour out while preserving the yolk. It more or less works, but I often crack the yolk, a drop of which can ruin a perfectly good egg white froth. After spotting Pluck on Quirky, I decided to give it a try.
The gadget itself is like a turkey baster without the tube. The small clear plastic opening unscrews from the white silicone part for easy cleaning. I followed the instructions. First, crack and egg. Then, while squeezing, place the Pluck on the yolk.
Presto! The yellow ball gets sucked into the blub.
Simply squeeze it again to release the bulb into another bowl.
The Verdict: The Pluck is $13 at Quirky, and for some it is a worthy a purchase. It does the job it says it does, and definitely makes the task of egg separating much cleaner. It’d be a fun stocking stuffer for your diet-focused friend, or a must-have for any meringue maker. However, if you don’t find yourself separating eggs too often, you can definitely live without.
Still Curious: Visit quirky.com to see Pluck in action, and get the full story on its creation.
The Claim: Got some fresh milk in the fridge? Have about an hour to plan ahead before serving your next Mexican-themed meal? Why not make your own Queso fresco, with this kit from Urban Cheescraft. The Portland, OR company brings the local food wave right into your kitchen. They supply most of what you need — a plastic cheese mold, a fine cheesecloth, cooking thermometer, a bag of citric acid and cheese salt — along with easy to follow instructions. Use this kit and you’ll have delicious, salty, crumbly Queso Fresco to sprinkle on huevos rancheros.
The Situation: It’s a Friday night tradition with our friends Jenn and Gordon. One week it’s their house, the next ours. The other Friday, Jenn wisely had a crock pot full of tortilla soup brewing, and was eager to host. “I’m making cheese,” she said. I got there and discovered she was just cracking open this kit at around 5pm. Could we really start this now and have cheese done by dinner tonight? We had three kids under 5 running around, phones beeping, beers pouring. Distracted though we were, we managed to make this cheese! The hardest part was making sure we didn’t let the milk boil. It tasted yummy and was the perfect topping to the soup.
The Verdict: This cheese kit is not cheap ($30 at williams-sonoma.com). When you consider that it makes 10 7 oz. wheels of cheese, it is not too expensive, but it doesn’t really save you money either (especially when you pour in your own two gallons of milk). We have some great local stores and farmer’s markets near us where you can easily buy the stuff. Unless you really really love Queso Fresco or want to bundle it up and give them as presents or something, I think it’d take a long time to use this whole thing up. Like a year. This cheese kit is a great learning tool, but it is more a novelty than a must-have.
Still Curious: Visit urbancheesecraft.com
I’ve just finished watching the first few seasons of the original UK version of Being Human. I love the show, I love the characters, and I really love the great wallpaper in nearly every room of the house the main characters share in season one. Most notable is the totally incongruous gnome wallpaper in the room where George sleeps. It’s obviously using images Rien Poortvliet created for Wil Huygen‘s very popular 1970s and ’80s series of books on gnomes. After some obsessive searching trying to figure out if it was created for the show or produced for sale at some point (I even contacted the agent of the series’ set decorator, Andrew Purcell, but have yet to receive a response), I finally found evidence that gnome wallpaper existed for sale. Unfortunately, Retro Villa had already sold its stock (but there are certainly lots of other drool-worthy items still for sale there). Oh well, on to season three. Hmm, who makes that DNA-esque wallpaper in the B&B “honeymoon suite”?
The Claim: Self proclaimed the most “ingenious dog washer” in the world, the Paw Wash ($29) is meant to be an easy to way to clean your dog’s muddy feet. The instructions say you fill the wash up with soapy water, dip your dog’s feet in, and then voila! No more muddy prints. The wash also comes with a hand mitt to wipe off “any excess water.”
The Situation: This has been a muddy, slushy winter! Cupcake goes in and out of our back yard constantly, and he hates getting his paws wiped. It’s a toss up: Wrestle with a 20-lb labradoodle while crouching by the back door, or let him run in, leave paw prints everywhere and clean up after him. Perhaps the Paw Washer would solve our constant conumdrum?
The Verdict: Here’s what the Paw Wash is: An hourglass shaped plastic vase, with a rubber “washer” lid at one end. It’s kinda like the car wash, in theory. Dip the paw into the water, and the rubber top squeezies it out. What actually happens is that you dip your dog’s leg in, and you pull out a drippy, wet, soapy dog leg. Yes, you can use the mitt to dry it a bit more by hand, but it is really wet. Front legs are easier than back legs, especially if your dog is a squirmer like ours. I suppose it would be a good thing if you had a really really muddy-legged dog and the only other option was a full-body bath. Sadly, the Paw Wash didn’t save us time or struggle. I’m gonna stick with our damp towel wipe down for now.
Still Curious: Visit the pawwash.com for more information.