News – “Lessons from the Worst Food Hack of 2017”

newyorker.comNot long ago, the Food Network posted to Facebook a video featuring a food and parenting blogger named Bev Weidner, of the Web site Bev Cooks, demonstrating what was advertised as “the brilliant peanut butter hack you never knew you needed.” In the video, Weidner, chipper and chatty, lobs a few big spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter onto a piece of wax paper, folds it, then runs over its surface with a rolling pin to spread the peanut butter thin. She puts the whole thing in the freezer and, when it’s sufficiently chilled, cuts the hardened sheet into sandwich-size squares that she keeps in a stack, à la Kraft Singles. The method is useful for saving time, she explains, while making sandwiches for her kids—and, she adds, to avoid any possibility of tearing the bread while applying peanut butter the normal way, with a knife.

On Facebook, commenters, eighteen thousand of them, were not buying it. “Love this . . . since having kids I had to quit my job due to the amount of time I needed to spread peanut butter each day,” one woman wrote. “Maybe now I can go back to work part-time!” Many pointed out that they could make literally hundreds of peanut-butter sandwiches in the time it takes Weidner’s peanut butter to freeze, and couldn’t believe that she had ever had trouble with torn bread. Making a peanut-butter sandwich is so easy, someone noted, that even a savvy toddler can be taught how. A blogger who wrote about the post declared, “There are some extremely strong contenders for stupid life hacks on the internet, but this one has to be in the running for worst of 2017.”

There is reason to be skeptical, in general, of the food “hack,” with its dystopian Silicon Valley associations: the idea that we must constantly be driving toward making time to get more done, flawlessly, as if we’re not doing enough already. Having said that, I have a confession to make: I’m a glutton for kitchen tricks, kitchen gadgets—kitchen hacks, if you must call them that—whose appeal is older than humans themselves. After all, Jane Goodall launched her career by observing that chimps were doing something amazing in the proverbial kitchen, poking twigs into the openings of termite mounds, then pulling them out covered in insects, which they sucked off like chunks of grilled meat on a kebab. 


yeaaaaaaaa that’s pretty bad lol

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