Counter Intelligence: To Serve (with) Man

Although some might disagree with me, I like whimsical cooking equipment. You know what I mean. An oven mitt in the shape of a frog, an owl mug, a whale ice cream scoop--they are cute, fun, and colorful, and I enjoy them. At some point I wouldn't mind an entire collection of animal-themed cookware, although I'm willing to admit the zoo comparisons to my cooking just be too easy. Ice cream scoops and oven mitts are sort of boring in their own right, so there's something nice about seeing a friendly little whale as you get yourself a cone or cursing at a frog when you accidentally burn yourself.

Still, there's one form of whimsical/kitschy cookware that I can't stand, that makes me feel weird and borderline deranged just looking at it, and that is the subject of this week's Counter Intelligence: human-shaped appliances.

Cooking with people! This is just so weird. A few days ago I came across the Fiesta Head Chefs collection, a set of brightly-colored common tools, including a spatula, measuring cup, and whisk. At first I thought "Oh. Cute. I guess?" But the more I looked at them, the more they haunted me, their tiny little arms outstretched, their giant grotesque heads balancing precariously on their bodies. They make me think more terrible, horrible, failed experiment rather than "Time to whip up a cake!" Also, while using one might be only mildly traumatizing, what do you do when you own all of them? You can't just toss them in your kitchen drawer, like some collection of badly disfigured Barbies, so do you stand them up on the counter, action-figure style? Tuck them into shoebox beds? Buy them a Fiesta Head Chefs Dreamhouse (marinara sauna not included!)? These are questions I'd rather not answer.

And while the Fiesta Head Chefs don't directly confront the idea that you will in fact be torturing small human figures, whipping them around furiously and sticking them into boiling water, some cookware designers embrace the idea that we are all just quietly simmering soups of rage. How else to explain the VooDoo doll toothpick holder or the Ex knife holder? VENT YOUR FRUSTRATION AT THE WORLD BY STABBING TOOTHPICKS/KNIVES INTO THIS HUMAN-SHAPED OBJECT! (they seem to say...) And, ok, I don't know about you, and sure, sometimes I get annoyed when my dinner doesn't turn out just right, but are people really so angry about cooking? Let's try some deep breathing instead. (although the knives are rather pretty...)

Image from the Twilight Zone. Get yer pop culture on, people.

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