THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST.
I am not being paid in any way, shape or form for the content below by anyone. I bought both the Pop Chef and Ice Cream Magic in my local stores at the request of my Little Man, who saw them on TV and wanted them. Hey, your kid may want the latest Disney toy, but mine begs for cooking gadgets. Gotta love that.
J doesn't normally ask for things he sees on TV or in stores. He doesn't beg or whine like many kids his age. We are blessed in that regards. For both of these products, he saw the commercial and repeated it ad infinitum until M or I asked if he would like one. For him, I guess that is begging.
When we found the Pop Chef at CVS last night you'd have thought J had died and gone to heaven, he snatched it off the shelf and ran to the check out. Forget anything else M or I may have needed to pick up while we were these. Approximately $10 there and another $10 on a chocolate pudding cake (on sale!) and a small seedless watermelon at the Ralphs next door and we were headed back home to check it out.
We started with the cake because, well, it was chocolate and it was cake. No brainer in this house. We got everything out of the box, picked our cutter shape and started "pressing". Then we tried to "pop" it out - meh. I rechecked the directions and figured out you needed to cover the little hole in the top of the plunger bulb - still meh. Then I saw in the directions that some porous foods like bread (and cake) don't pop out. Makes sense, you need to have a tight seal to build up the pressure to push it out.
Then I tried to change the cutter. Here's where I started to get annoyed. Two major design flaws. Number one: the cutters are extremely difficult to remove because you only have a skinny little piece of smooth plastic to grip in one hand while you try to unscrew the cutter (good news, I guess, is it stays on). Number two: As I was trying to get the cutters off, I glanced at the plunger piece and saw this:
Cracked out of the box! I am guessing someone turned the top piece too hard and cracked it so they snuck it back into a box at the store and took a new one. Not Pop Chef's fault someone didn't just return it, but I can see how easy it is to overturn the top gray part while trying to unscrew the cutters (they go on the right end in the photo above).
We ate our cake, put the Pop Chef away for the night and tried again with the watermelon this morning. The watermelon did pop out As Seen On TV.
The novelty has already worn off for J, and I already have a bucket full of cookie cutters that will cut my food in to different shapes. The popping doesn't make it easier or faster as I'd hoped and that feature doesn't even work for many of the foods I would want to use. $10 for six food cutters isn't an unreasonable price. But, it is cracked so I am taking it back and asking for a refund.
- Pros - it works as advertised, at least for some foods
- Cons - major design flaws, easy to break
Ice Cream Magic
We had trouble locating the Ice Cream Magic when we finally decided to purchase it. CVS was already sold out, but I finally tracked them down at WalMart. I knew this would be a gimmicky product before we got it. I wasn't sure if it would really work, but from what I know about the science of making ice cream I figured it should.
So, we read the recipes and shopped for the ingredients, which was fun, then tried it out. We mixed the ingredients in a measuring cup and poured it into the Ice Cream Magic. Then I carefully secured the lid, made J stay in the kitchen in case it came apart or leaked, and then let him shake. For three long minutes. When we unscrewed the lid and peeked inside - meh. It was only starting to freeze. Lid back on, Mommy shook it for another minute and peeked in again. Soft serve ice cream! Very soft and only ¼ cup, but ice cream none the less.
There are easier and cheaper ways to make a larger amount of ice cream. But, those methods will also take longer and some may not be as fun. I still want to try the coffee can method if I can find a big coffee can somewhere because that should be fun and should burn lots of energy rolling it around the yard. The weather is finally cooling down here so ours is sitting in the cupboard until summer time, or whenever J feels like making his own ice cream again.
- Pros - it works as advertised, sturdy design (ours did not leak at all)
- Cons - it only makes a small amount of ice cream and you need to shake vigorously without stopping for 3 minutes - or less vigorously for longer.
Have you tried these products, or other TV or catalog cooking gadgets? How about a Stretchkins? At the moment J wants to ask Santa for one of those. Please share your experiences in the comments!