Thursday 23 September 2010

Warning: do not attempt to use this product!

So, clearly pecan nuts are within its capabilities, then?

I realise that, as a man, I’m not supposed to read instructions. But the ones that came with my new Kenwood Mini Chopper were but a single sheet and it didn’t look as if I’d lose too much time reading them. And, to be honest, I’ve managed to break two of these devices in the past, so it seemed a worthwhile investment of five minutes.

The object in question is a fist-sized food processor. (This does not mean you should try putting your fist into it. That should be instruction No.1.) It’s handy for puréeing soft fruit, making breadcrumbs, grinding spices, etc.

However, I’m a bit disappointed by all the caveats. “This processor is not suitable for processing very hard foods, e.g. ice cubes, coffee beans, hard spices…or processing hot liquids.” OK, I did once manage to punch a hole in one of these by trying to render a dried-up lump of parmesan into something edible. But could it really not manage coffee beans or spices?

It gets worse: “Various spices such as Cloves and Cumin seeds can have an adverse effect on the plastic of your mini chopper and should not be processed.” An “adverse effect”? Now I want to know more. What have their scientists discovered? Are cumin seeds like Alien blood, a “molecular acid” that will eat through seven decks of my spaceship? Surely people have been grinding cumin seeds for centuries without this happening? I can only assume that they’ve realised they’ve managed to invent a plastic that happens to burst into flames if exposed to cloves, and they’re frantically trying to cover themselves.

A Bellini, without tie shreds
And they’re not  pinning themselves down—“various spices”. You mean there are others? And you’re not going to tell me which they are? Or do you not even know? Just how deep does this conspiracy go? Exactly how many everyday foodstuffs are out there which, if I casually drop them into my mini chopper as I hum Mantovani while whipping up a sauce for my guests in the dining room, will turn the plastic instantly into napalm?

These aren’t instructions, they’re a warning. A warning that: “Whatever you want to do with our product, it may not work, and that’s not our fault. And it may kill you.”

My favourite instruction is: “This product is not intended for use by persons (including children*) with reduced physical, sensory or mental cababilities.” Which is a way of saying that if anything goes wrong, you’re just too stupid to be allowed to use the product.

It also means that if you’re trying to puree a peach to make a Bellini and your tie gets sucked into the blades, don’t bother complaining:

“Your mini chopper ate my tie!”

“Were your mental capabilities reduced through drink, sir?”


(*So pets are OK then?)

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