As Seen on TV: Buyer Beware

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By Pam Teel

The Bacon Bowl – I can sum this up in one word, messy, and from the much lower price for this product on Amazon, one can tell that it’s losing its popularity, if it ever was that popular. Originally advertised for $19.99, you can get a set of two for $5.50 on Amazon. I purchased mine for $5. Glad I didn’t spend twenty dollars on this; it would have been a waste. What I found was that the bacon bowl was weak unless you loaded it with bacon, really covering up the sides and the top to form a bowl. The drip pan was not deep enough to secure the melted fat runoff and ended up all over my microwave. I gather using turkey bacon would be less messy.

The bowl itself, when filled with scrambled eggs, collapsed when I held it. (You really need to put a lot of bacon around it to prevent it from falling apart). The diameter was too big for individual hors d’oeuvres. I cooked it in the microwave but it says that you can bake it and even put it in a toaster oven. The only way I would find this useful is for getting a child to eat breakfast until the novelty of eating breakfast in an edible bowl wears off. Perhaps if they somehow could make it half the size, I could see its use for hors d’oeuvres, stuffing them with egg salad, garlic potatoes and more. I definitely give this item a thumbs down because of its messiness, the fat tray not being deep enough, and the fact that it breaks apart when held. You can purchase this at Amazon or Wal-Mart, but truthfully, don’t waste your money!
Handheld Veggie Spiral Maker – There are many different brands of essentially the same thing out there. The gadget looks like an hourglass with two blades attached to each side. Different brands include, Perfect Kitchen, Kitchen Basics, Home Complete, Breiftons, Best Fire Sure Slicer, Verano, and more. I purchased the Basily brand, which essentially had the same characteristics as the other more expensive ones boasting two steel Japanese blades with 2 julienne sizes. The prices range from $7 to $20 dollars and are hand held, meaning you do all the work.

My first attempt was with a green zucchini that was way too big for the hourglass. After cutting it down the middle, it was not too functional when trying to make spirals. On another attempt I used a smaller rounder zucchini. The hand held spiraler does a good job with the squash. The squash is just soft enough where it can be easily spiraled. I then tried it with a carrot, which was a much harder feat. I had to hold the carrot still by the blade and turn the product to get it to cut. The process was like sharpening a pencil and the spirals weren’t as long as the squash.

One thing I learned was to use the thick end of the long carrot first to get the better spirals. As the carrot gets thinner, you have to revert to pressing the carrot against the blade to get it to shred. It says that you can use with a large radish or parsnips. I would imagine the parsnip would cut like the carrot. I can’t see the radish spiraling. It also says that you can spiral potatoes and sweet potatoes. You have to make sure they are small enough to fit. I found both the potato and sweet potato a little difficult to spiral, especially when it was whittled down to resemble a pencil and to wet and slick to cut.
I have to give this product at least half a thumb because it did do a good job spiraling the squash. The potatoes clogged up the blades and required constant cleaning. This hand held gadget might be fine for a single person or a family of two or three but if you plan on using it for a larger dinner or a lot of company, it can be time consuming.

You can purchase this product at Amazon and other catalog stores such as Taylor Gifts and Home Trends. For a little bit more you can purchase a Paderno slicer that comes with three interchangeable blades for shredding, slicing and for straight vegetables. The Paderno slicer was chosen as the best slicer model in 2014. There is also the Spirooli slicer, which resembles the Paderno and has the same spiral, shredding and slicing capabilities. There are other cheaper copycat brands out there. These slicers range anywhere from $20 to $35 but quite frankly look like they do a much better job than the hand held kitchen gadgets and in less time.