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Tell a friend Batter Blaster pancakes

Batter Blaster

This is a story about pancakes. It begins in one of my favorite places. Let me explain.

San Francisco is not the densest city by any means, but space is at a premium nonetheless. So when a single store occupies an entire city block — a large city block — that is a big store in San Francisco. The experience of shopping at the only Costco in San Francisco feels like half-privilege, half-pandemonium. Wheeling a ginormous cart around the street-width aisles of Costco, for me, is a guilty pleasure. There’s only so much paper towel and laundry detergent I really need, but I find any excuse to go. I would imagine that anyone who’d grown up behind the Iron Curtain might bask in the consumer abundance of Costco as a sort of earthly paradise.

In one of the refrigerated aisles, an entire case contained shelf upon shelf of bright golden-yellow spray cans. I thought nothing of the spray cans at first, assuming that the cans were just a brand of whipped cream I hadn’t seen before. But I did a double-take as I noticed something horrifying on the cans: the word batter. Costco, you’ve got to be kidding me, right? Batter — (pancake and waffle, that is, not cake) — in a spray can? Look, spray cheese is bad enough, but spray batter heralds the end of civilization.

Perhaps even more amazing was that the word organic also appeared on the can. I’ve been brainwashed by Whole Foods, I admit, but when I see the word organic, I automatically think healthy. (Or at least healthy-wannbe.) Was it possible for something healthy to be stored in spray can — which, by defnition, indicates processed food? Who could have predicted that I would stumble onto such a paradox in the refrigerated section of Costco? Organic and spray can seem like matter and antimatter: how can they simultaneously occupy the same space?

Posted September 9, 2008 by Mariva in business, edibles, health, innovations, kitchen

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Tell a friend Solutions products that make life easier

Solutions catalog

The Solutions catalog offers all sorts of, well, solutions — or, as the company puts it, “products that make life easier.” Lest you think that Solutions products are akin to Kenji Kawakami’s 101, 99 More and The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindogu, check out this sampling of potentially useful items:

Posted February 22, 2006 by Mariva in decor, entertaining, gadgets, gifts, home, innovations, kitchen, resources, travel

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Tell a friend clothes & home sale

Macy's Presidents' Day Sale

Whoo-hoo! Macy’s is having a big fat Presidents’ Day Sale on apparel, jewelry and shoes for him, her and kids — but today is the last day. Also, this is the last week of the annual Home Sale on bed & bath, dining, housewares, luggage and rugs.

Posted February 20, 2006 by Mariva in bath & spa, decor, entertaining, fashion, home, jewelry, kitchen

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Tell a friend vintage products, brand-new

The Vermont Country Store

Ever feel nostalgic for products or supplies that you remember from childhood, but haven’t been able to find in years? Your search may be over. The Vermont Country Store offers a wide variety of products that your parents or grandparents used — all brand-new and recently manufactured. How is this possible? The proprietors get permission to re-create vintage products as close to the originals as possible — including design and packaging — and bring them to market for another generation of consumers. If you’re not in the neighborhood of one of the stores in Weston or Rockingham, Vermont, you can order vintage games, classic New England apparel (warning: not for the fashion-conscious), long-lost fragrances and even food and beverages online. If you can’t find what you want, let them know, and they’ll consider re-creating it for you.

Posted February 15, 2006 by Mariva in bath & spa, business, decor, edibles, fun, games, gifts, home, innovations, kitchen, resources

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Tell a friend the perfect water bottle

Nalgene water bottles

Even if you don’t believe that the average person is chronically dehydrated, it’s generally a good idea to drink fresh, clean water as often as you’d like. I seem to be thirsty all the time, so I never go anywhere without a water bottle. Because of its durable and unbreakable nature, my container of choice is the Nalgene bottle, which never compromises the taste of water. It’s the perfect companion to the Thermos food jar.

There’s no question that Nalgene makes bottles extremely well. The company’s founder was an innovative chemist who developed unbreakable laboratory instruments and containers. Today, Nalgene is known in the scientific world for its wide assortment of Nalgene Labware, in addition to its consumer products for outdoors enthusiasts and travelers.

Posted January 17, 2006 by Mariva in health, innovations, kitchen, resources, travel

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Tell a friend Thermos Food Jar with Folding Spoon

Thermos Food Jar with Folding Spoon

Archie Bunker once mused, “You got your Thermos here, see? You can put coffee in it and it stays hot, or you can put beer in it and it stays cold, right? So my question is, how does it know?" Clearly, Archie never grasped the concept of insulation; nonetheless, Thermos products — three decades ago — worked so well that they seemed like magic.

Thermos has been updating its line of products, including its signature beverage bottles. The container featured here ain’t your parents’ Thermos. This lightweight, double-wall vacuum-insulated Food Jar with Folding Spoon comes with a stainless steel folding spoon that fits neatly into a storage compartment, which, by the way, has enough room to hold condiments and other small items. The Food Jar keeps your meal hot or cold, just the way you (and Archie) like it — and it looks cool to boot.

Posted January 13, 2006 by Mariva in gadgets, gifts, health, home, innovations, kitchen, travel

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Tell a friend apple kitchen accessories


Le Creuset Apple Casserole, fruit green

Le Creuset Apple Casserole, fruit green
Don’t you love kitchen cookware and accessories that look like fruit? Here are two shiny apple casseroles, made from enameled cast iron, so you can cook your casserole in the oven, warm it on the stovetop and serve it on the table. Wow your guests!

(Click "there’s more" to see the red apple accessories: the other casserole and a couple of cute apple kitchen timers.)