Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Tuscan doing BBQ/1

Barbecue - or BBQ, or barbie, or Q, if you are into the whole brevity thing (cit.) - is probably the one cuisine which is quintessentially American. This is not to say that there are not other cuisines that are truly US born and raised (I am thinking about Southwestern, Cajun and to a certain extent even Italian-American cuisines). But the one and only cuisine that is as American as apple pie is BBQ.

What is BBQ? I had already explained it here. In a nutshell, BBQ is a a form of cooking meat with indirect heat, low and slow, i.e. at very low temperatures for a very long period of time. As such, grilling is a very different thing: when you throw a couple of burgers on a grill and cook them for 10 minutes, you are not eating BBQ.

In Europe (at least in the countries I know of/have lived in) we tend to use the terms BBQ and grilling as synonyms. Americans, especially in the South, feel very strongly about the difference between BBQ and grilling. Anything that hasn't slept in a smoker for less than 8 hours at max 140C (275F) is not BBQ. Think about how dismissive Italians or French can be about any food with an Italian/French name, which is not really Italian/French. You'll have an idea of how US Southern folks feel about BBQ.

The origins of Q are debated. One of the most accredited hypotheses is that it owes its origins to the way slaves used to cook the otherwise unpalatable cuts of meat they were left with: cooking these tough, otherwise almost inedible things, for hours - in order to destroy the connective tissues - and then smothering them with a sauce was probably a very good way to make them taste good. Others say the Q was born in the area that now belongs to Mexico, and imported up. (The origin of the actual name, barbecue, is a different thing entirely: some say it is Jamaican, some say it is Spanish).

Be as it may, I feel we can all safely agree that BBQ wasn't born in Tuscany, right? (And yet, and yet...we'll get back on this at some point).

Up until a few months ago, my attempts at Q had bean cheats: I was using a slowcooker to cook the ribs or pulled pork low and slow, and then finish them in the oven. Why? Because we were living in a building that didn't allow charcoal grills/smokers, for fire safety reasons. When we moved to our current place, one of the first investments I made was a large Weber Kettle Grill.

If you have followed me until now, you'll understand there is an issue with this: although you can hack the Weber Kettles and turn them into a smoker for real Q (through an accessory called the smokenator), I knew I'd need something else if I really wanted to be serious about Q. So I took advantage of my 40th birthday back in August to put a real smoker on my wish list.

Being the good guy that I am, and wanting to relieve my family from the stress of having to choose a present for me, I went and picked a smoker myself. Please, understand: I wasn't trying to rush people into buying me something, I was merely trying to help them make a decision.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got myself one of these ahem, my family bought me one of these:

This is a Kamado grill (called also Kamado oven, or smoker). It is a grill, it is a smoker, it is an oven. It doesn't clean dishes, but everything else it does - or claim it does. I'll get into the details of this baby in a separate post.

Over the past couple of months I have been using this temperamental bitch (this is how I affectionally refer to it)  almost daily, with some success and some failures (the most notable of which: a pork shoulder that should have been ready in 7 hours, and ended up not being ready after 13 hours...).

I intend to chronicle my adventures in barbecuing here. So saddle up and enjoy the ride.

Some of the things I cooked on the Kamado: 


The pulled pork that never was: it was supposed to cook in 7 hours. After 13hrs it wasn't ready. Needless to say we ate something else. 


Smoked baked beans. My wife hates them. I love them. Guess who's eating beans every day?

Spare ribs, ready to fall off the bone.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

How about winning a trip to Australia sipping green tea?


 I tasted cold green tea for the first time 14 years ago. I was in Japan for a series of business meetings with several companies. At the time I was mostly working with Japanese customers, and I had already started to develop my love for Japanese food. But cold green was something I had never had yet. Hot, yes, cold? Nope.

We were sitting in this large office with many people, the CEO of this industrial conglomerate included, and I was the most junior at the meeting. I was familiar with the Japanese business etiquette, and I knew what my place was. Everything was going smoothly. Until they served cold green tea. Someone asked me if I had ever had some, and I said no. Big mistake: because now all the eyes were on me. These were the same people who had taken me to eat alive octopus the night before, so I was sure nothing else could surprise me. They had been impressed - or so I think - with my attitude and by the fact that I did eat the slithering beast, whereas my boss hadn't. 

When the first sip of green tea hit my tongue I had to put all of my will power to avoid distorting my features in a mask of disgust. I swear, I didn't know how to handle this. I kept smiling, not touching that glass again until the end of the meeting. Wasn't I thirsty?, somebody had asked. No, thank you. 

Things change. They surely do: green tea is now a stable presence in our family, and I absolutely love it. But what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?, as a good friend of mine often says when I go offtrack? 

Well, I was contacted by the representative of ITO EN's TEAS’ TEA brand, the all-natural, ready-to-drink iced tea, named from the Japanese expression Ocha no Naka No Ocha, simply meaning “The Tea of ALL Teas”. They are currently running a social media sweepstakes until Labor day, September 2nd that includes a grand prize trip to Australia inclusive of a VIP tour of ITO EN’s Tea Farm.  

Participating is fairly simple: you can register at TEAS’ TEA® Facebook page and then use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to capture a "refreshing summer moment and share it via the hashtag #Teafreshing". In a nutshell, snap a photo, put the hashtag and (potentially) fly to Australia.  

The trip to Australia is the grand prize, but there are many more prizes, including cameras, tablets, beach gear, and free beverages.

And the first Tuscan Foodie's reader who posts a photo with the #Teafreshing hashtag and links it back in the comments will get a a give away tote full of Tea's Tea branded products directly from them. 

Up to you guys!

And before anyone asks, no, I don't get anything for saying all this. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oven Roasted Tomatoes tarte tatin with goat cheese

I talked about this tarte already a couple of times in my previous posts. I always promised the recipe, and after a delay of only 12-18 months, here it is. It is always a hit when my wife makes it (the recipe is hers), and leftovers are nowhere to be found.

Enjoy. And as usual, let me know how it turns out if and when you bake it.




Ingredients

  • Tomatoes cut in 1/2cm thick slices (thin, people, it means thin), enough to fill a baking sheet. Roma tomatoes work best, because they are round and juicy
  • Dried oregano, 1/2 tbsp
  • Fresh thyme, minced, one tbsp
  • Sugar, one tsp
  • Olive oil: 2 tbps
  • One sheet of pie pastry
  • Goat cheese: half a cup
How to make it
  • Put the slices of the tomatoes on a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle them with the oregano and the thyme, and the with the olive oil. Put them in the oven at 375F (180C) for 45’/one hour, or until they dry out (be careful, depending on the oven and on how thick your slices are, the tomatoes may burn in ½ hour…)
  • Put parchment paper on a 10-12 inch pie dish. Dispose the slices of tomatoes at the bottom of the pie dish, on the parchment paper, very close to one another. Put small pieces of goat cheese here and there, and then cover everything with the pie pastry.
  • Bake at 375F (180C) for ½ hour, or until the pie pastry is golden brown.
  • Take out of the oven, wait 15’ for the pie to cool down and settle a bit. Then put a plate on top of the pie, and turn the pie dish and the plate, so that now the pie pastry is resting on the plate. Gently peel the parchment paper away, and voila’.
  • This pie is best eaten lukewarm. It doesn’t reheat well in the microwave, so if you have leftover to warm up, just throw them in the oven for 15’.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kids' menu in America

A couple of months ago, during our most recent trip to visit our families back in Europe, we all sat at a table on a terrace overlooking a beautiful garden. It was one of the very few days in Belgium (on average, there are a dozen of those) when Belgian residents see the sun, and their brain tells them that living in Brussels is not bad after all, and there is no reason to bitch about the weather. This self-delusional aspect of the human brain will never cease to amaze me...But I am going off-track.

We are sitting on this terrace, and our 2yo toddler, Mr. P., is acting his usual self, i.e. he is being as charming as a gastric lavage. This is partly due to the food he has in front of him: a nice (probably sous vide cooked) sliced chicken breast, with some sort of alcoholic jus on top, and apple sauce on the side. His food is very good, frankly, even if it lacks salt: but he won't eat it, although he was presented as a "kid option".

And our mind goes back to the US kids' menu. If you have aver eaten with a kid in any American restaurant, you will have been handed a "kids' menu". The selection of food offered is very limited, and it is always the same, irrespective of the place you are visiting: chicken nuggets, sometimes fishsticks, apple sauce, mac and cheese, cheese sandwich. Perhaps  "pizzadilla" (a quesadilla with tomato sauce) if you go to a Mexican restaurant.

Googling around, I discovered that the origin of the kids' menu's tradition in the US started with the prohibitionist era. As they were losing customers, who didn't go to dine out because they couldn't drink any longer while eating their meal, restaurants thought that they could lure a different type of clientele into their establishments, one that had not been dining out until then: families with kids. To do that, they started offering menus specifically tailored to children.

We are in 1920, and the health nazis of that period firmly believed that kids should not eat fruit and vegetables (they could cause diarrhea), desserts of any type, bacon, tomato soups, lemonades. These beliefs were firmly established in the children parenting bible of the time, The care and feeding of children, by one Emmett Holt (you can read the whole book here, if you want). No chicken nuggets were available at the time, replaced - according to this Slate's article which tells the history of children's menu - by the ubiquitous lamb chop. (Picture a 21th century kid eating a lamb chop, please).

Even when the ban on alcohol was lifted, the kids' menu tradition remained, and it evolved over time, until it stabilized with the current choice of yellow food (notice, 90% of the food on the kids menu is yellow...) in the '70s.

As a father of a very picky eater, kids menus are both a blessing and a curse: a blessing, because in 99% of cases, the menus are printed on coloring papers, which will keep your toddler entertained for at least five minutes (they normally give you crayons too). A curse, because even if you think - like I do - that a lot of what the health-nazis want you to believe about food is not true, you don't need to be a food scientist to realize that all this fried food and all this cheese is not particularly good for your kid.

In the meantime, all I can do is try to continue to educate Mr. P. about eating whatever we eat. Long gone are the days where I would spend time preparing special dishes for him: if he wants to eat, he'll eat what we are having. If not, he'll eat some some other day.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

We are back in business

Hello readers, we are back in business. The Facebook page is up and running again, and the blog will be regularly updated. And before anyone asks what I have been doing since December of last year, let me respond with Noodles' words:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Home made gianduia spread (fools would call it home made Nutella)

Every Italian in his thirties and twenties grew up eating Nutella. And if he says he didn't, he is either lying or a very sad affair (we won't even talk about Italians who claim not to like Nutella, because they don't deserve any of my time).

When I was a kid, sugar wasn't considered poison (I remember afternoon breaks where my only snack was a slice of wet bread with half a cup of sugar on top...and I never had a cavity until I was 35), so nobody cared that sugar was the first ingredient of Nutella. And Ferrero - the maker of Nutella - never marketed Nutella as a "healthy breakfast" alternative, like it is doing now in the US. First and foremost because nutella is seldom eaten at breakfast in Italy...Secondly because such a claim in Italy would have been stupid, whereas in the US - where a stack of 8 pancakes with 1/2 cup of maple syrup is considered a legitimate breakfast - you can see how Nutella's claim can start to make sense. Everything is relative, after all.

Anyway. I have come across many recipes for home-made "nutella". All of these recipes have one huge problem: one cannot simply make Nutella at home. It is as simple as that. Anyone who tells you that their home made Nutella tastes exactly like store-bought nutella is a liar or a fool (or perhaps he/she has never tasted the real deal).


Now, what is Nutella? It is a specific version of gianduia. Gianduia is nothing more than chocolate (milk chocolate) mixed with hazelnuts, and can be under the shape of small candies (gianduiotti) or spreads.  Nutella is extremely heavy on sugar and palm oil (that gives the creamy texture that I love), hazelnuts are only the third ingredient, and there is very little cocoa. There is a lot of other BS in it, as in any processed product.

Most of the recipes I have come across try to replicate the creamy texture of Nutella by using coconut oil or other oils. To me that's just nonsense. If you are in the right frame of mind and you accept the fact that Nutella cannot be replicated at home (do I really need to say this one more time?), you will choose a different route. You will then not end up with an oily grease ball (but it's homemade!!!) that has nothing to do with Nutella and tastes like shit.

Then what should you be doing? Try and not make Nutella, but make a gianduia spread.

I saw this recipe first on the magazine Bon Appetit. As every loser claiming to be making Nutella at home, they also claimed that this was better than Nutella, but at least they had the decency of admitting that it was very different. And in fact it is: there are no oils to deliver creaminess...it only lasts 4 days at room temperature and four months in the fridge, and it doesn't taste like Nutella at all: because it is just a very, very good chocolate/hazelnut spread that tastes like hazelnuts and chocolate, and has very little sugar, and some butter and cream. Flavor-wise, it reminds me a lot of the chocolate spread you can find at Pain Quotidien.

So, here is the photo recipe. Arm yourself of patience: the recipe is super easy, but peeling the hazelnuts is a pain. Also: I am using black chocolate because I love it. But really, you should be using semi-sweet.

You can see the photo recipe bigger by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Carbonnade Flamande - photo recipe with a step-by-step guide

I have made a photo step-by-step guide on how to cook the Carbonnade Flamande (Flemish beer beef stew), a recipe that I had already published. What do you think of this format? Is it better than a written recipe? (By placing your mouse on the blue Mouse over for image description you will see the notes I have written for most of the photos, with precise instructions).

Also, since I published the original recipe, I have tried to make it with a number of different beers. This is a dish where you must use the right beer, since the flavors depend 90% on the beers you use. I had mentioned how I had obtained the best results here in the US with the Flemish red Douchesse de Bourgogne, which however was very expensive ($18 for four small bottles). Surprisingly, I have obtained excellent results with 2012 Vintage Ale by Trader Joe's (brewed by Canadian Unibrue). At $4.99 for a large bottle, this is the best way to save money on the beer and still get the authentic flavors in the Carbonnade. Give it a try.
     

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The new Coca Cola freestyle fountains: an illustration of the American mentality

The first time I saw one of the new Coca-Cola Freestyle fountains, I could only say one thing: What.The.F.?!

If you are not familiar with these machines, they really look - and probably are - the next generation of soda fountains, with a touch screen that gives you access to more than 100+ flavor combinations. One may wonder if you really need 100+ flavor combinations, but this is America, baby: if you can think it, you shall have it. (And I love this about the US).


I have talked about this aspect of the American mentality many times: the theme of endless choices - think about Starbucks versus the coffee options you have in the average bar in Italy - the possibility for the consumer to ask whatever he wants without being told to shut up like it would happen in Belgium if you asked for an additional piece of bread. I am not saying this all translates automatically into better flavors, but it definitely says a lot about the concept of freedom.

It was about time this all transferred to the fountain soda, frankly. I am surprised it took so long.

So what's so special about these fountains?

Well, putting one of these next to the traditional fountains is like putting a 21st century car next to a car from the 's70s. Same feeling, really. Plus - and this is the real selling point, I believe - you can literally get a lot of flavors that are not available in the traditional fountains. You can also create your own combination...feel like Fanta zero (which I had never seen elsewhere) with a dash of Sprite peach? No problem, you can have it. Feel like a raspberry coke with some Powerade zero in it? No problem.

Of course you can also be as boring as I am, and take a simple flavor like Coke zero: the machine will gladly give you that too. I understand the machines also send data back to Coca Cola, so that the company can collect information on what we drink, and come up with something that suits your needs. You may find this disturbing or wonderful, it is up to you.

What I like about these machines is that they can also provide free entertainment: take your non-American parents to a place that has those, and see how they interact with it. When I brought my parents to have a burger at a nearby Five Guys, I purposely told them to go fetch the drinks, laughing to myself. My parents are not super old (mid-60s), but they couldn't figure it out...

One real disadvantage as far as I am concerned is that the touch screen really gets greasy: people are dirty, and they use their dirty fingers to select their drink...so whatever they have touched will end up in your mouth, because chances are you will use your fingers to eat. You may say that this is true for all fountains: perhaps you are right, but here it is visible. If I were Coca Cola I would try to make the screens matte or have service agreements with the vending locations to have someone wipe the screen every 10 minutes.

So, if you find one of these machines somewhere go and play with them. And mix some crazy drink: you may see it sold on the shelf someday...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Next Kyoto

During my previous life as a young corporate champion, I was fortunate enough to visit Japan and Kyoto multiple times, including in the Autumn. It is difficult to express how beautiful that whole country is in every season, but how surreal, oneiric, and at the same time absolutely flabbergasting its beauty is in the Fall. 

Autumn in Japan
It is probably in Japan that I fell in love with food for the first time in my life. I always liked food, obviously, but love and like are two different concepts. So I have fond memories of Japanese food and of the whole dining experience. The peace you experience in visually taking the presentation of Japanese food has always been 50% of the pleasure for me. Obviously, having clients taking you to the best restaurants in Tokyo and Kyoto on a company credit card helped me appreciate the cuisine even more, at times. But cheap food in Japan is probably the best cheap food I have had anywhere. 

A much younger version of the Tuscan Foodie in his Japanese days eating a cheap and delicious bowl of udon in the middle of a Japanese nowhere - 2003

Why is all this relevant? Because last Sunday I made it to Next, Kyoto. For those who are not familiar with it, Next is a new concept restaurant by Grant Achatz, one of the world greatest chefs, according to a lot of rankings. Next's menu changes completely every few months, and it is thematic: the first menu was Paris, then there were Thailand, Childhood, Tribute to El Bulli, Sicily and now Kyoto. Next's objective is to really make the diner feel transported to that time and place through food. They also have what I think is a completely fucked up reservation system: you need to buy "tickets", whose price varies depending on the time and day you want to go. A neat idea in theory, but practice says otherwise: "good tickets" at decent times go away within seconds of being put online, and I am not joking. 

A much younger me in Japan
Since I don't think one should spend hours in front of a pc trying to score a table at a restaurant, irrespective of how good that restaurant may be, I always refused to go through the ticket ordeal.  But my friends Jesse and Heather managed to score four tickets for a Sunday night at 10pm. Normally I would have said no way (I eat my meals by 7,30, thank you very much) but this was the Kyoto menu, so I happily said yes in spite of the price: for $256 (sake pairing, tips and taxes included), I was expecting to be blown out of my mind, and be transported back to my young days of Japan. 

The menu is made of 14 courses, and it is a traditional kaiseki menu. Kaiseki is a special type of meal that was originally served as an accompaniment of tea. It is normally a real feast, and the menu served at Next was no exception. 

None of us diners had a camera, on purpose: without coordinating ourselves, we all came to the conclusion that there was no point in bringing a camera when there were already good photos of the menu out there. Just sit back and enjoy the food. If you want to read a good detailed explanation of each course of the menu from someone who seems to know what he/she is talking about - together with good photos - you should read this

I will limit myself to a few lines: did I have a very good meal? Yes, I did. Did I have the feeling, as Next promised, of experiencing "Autumn in Kyoto: the moon viewing, the changing hue of the maple leaves, the last crickets of summer, wind blowing through the river grass..."? Yes, I did. 

Yet, I don't think Next-Kyoto was one of my most memorable meals. Far from it. 

My wife says it is because I am blasé. I may be, but I don't think that's the reason I wasn't blown away. We all found the food was great, but we all felt we had had better meals elsewhere for a fraction of the cost. 

Now, I am not saying that we were ripped off. Although I agree with my fellow Italian Chicagoan Fabrizio when he says that usually restaurants that cost 100% more than average only offer around 30% better quality than average, I did see where my money went: the sakes and liquors we had were absolutely amazing, and plentiful. And they married beautifully to the food. 

But my issue is that if I remember something of this meal in ten years from now, it will be the sake, in particular the Mizuho Kuramatsu Kembishi: when it hit my tongue I could sense all of my taste buds feeling I was dead and gone to Paradise. 

But the food? Yes, it was extremely good. But it wouldn't be something that made me want to go back to Next (assuming I could spare another $250). I have had other kaiseki meals in Japan, and this was as good as those. Which is probably an achievement in itself, but perhaps my expectations were higher.

Also, for that price, I would expect each and every server to know their menu inside out, and be able to answer questions and explain things to me as if I were five. This was the case in most cases, but not always. One staff in particular seemed to be repeating things he had learnt by heart, mixing words, forgetting things, unable to answer questions. Did this ruin my meal? No, absolutely not. Did I think I would see this in a $250 meal restaurant? No, I didn't. 

Perhaps my expectations were too high, perhaps I didn't understand all the subtle nuances that were going on, perhaps my palate is not as good as I would like it to be. All this could be true. Or perhaps my experiences from the past come to mind sweetened by long lost time, and are therefore better than the present, as every good memory is. Who knows. I would give the experience 8/10. I just wanted it to be a 11/10 though, that's the reason of my disappointment.

If the whole point of NEXT is to offer a menu at the top level of the cuisine of choice, they nailed it. And from a technical point of view it is a phenomenal feat that these guys can pull a Japanese menu like that, when three weeks ago they were doing Sicilian, and before that El Bulli. I mean: they really are fantastic. I think the problem (in my case) is that I was expecting it to be a memorable experience like I hear Alinea is.

PS: my favorite course was this matsutake chawanmushi, a savory custard which has all the flavors that I personally associate to Japanese cuisine. Some of my dinner partners thought it was too salty, I thought it was just perfect. Too bad the pines next to it weren't fragrant at all. Photos from here.





Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Planned obsolescence in the kitchen

Today we are going to talk about planned obsolescence. If you are not familiar with this expression already, you should get real soon. Because it is one of the biggest way - perhaps THE biggest - that manufacturers of every consumer product in the world use to take advantage of you. 

We all had the feeling that that damned printer broke down for no reason after 2 years, right? Not to mention those smartphones that phone companies sell you with two-year contracts, to lock you in, and that MYSTERIOUSLY break down exactly after two years from the purchase. So that you are locked in again for an additional two years, if you want to buy another one…Were you really so stupid to think this was all coincidence?

Why am I talking about this here? Because planned obsolescence - like the Matrix - is all around us, even in your kitchen. If you'd like to continue to think that you are in control of your buying decisions as a consumer, then take the blue pill, close this browser and move on with your life. But if you want to know the truth, take the red pill...and let's see how deep the hole goes. 


I bought a wooden spoon. Actually, I bought four wooden spoons over the past 6 months. I even paid 12$ for one of these wooden spoons, because I am stupid and because I thought that 12$ would guarantee me many years of service. Alas, I was wrong: each and every single one of these wooded spoons, of different brands, has started to crack after only a few weeks of service, irrespective of the woods and of the construction (single piece or assembled). 

Now, I also have older wooden spoons. In particular, I have one that I have continuously used to cook for the past 9 years. I inherited it from my mother's kitchen, so I have no idea how old it is. And yet it is still there. 

All this brings me to planned obsolescence: in a nutshell, planned obsolescence means that all of the products you buy, from a lightbulb to a printer, from a fridge to a stereo, from an ipod to a TV, from a wooden spoon to a microwave, are designed to fail and break down after a certain amount of time. 

Yes, you got that right: products are designed and manufactured to fail.

Wikipedia has a very long and exhaustive page about planned obsolescence, that is defined as follows: 

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete or nonfunctional after a certain period of time. Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor which might also rely on planned obsolescence.”

Again, in simpler words: the products that you buy every day are DELIBERATELY DESIGNED by manufacturers so as to FAIL within a LIMITED amount of time, forcing you to BUY them again. Products are purportedly engineered BELOW the current achievable standards, so as to force consumers to replace them sooner than technology would allow. 

If you think I am joking, you should watch this documentary, which is extremely detailed and well done. If you don't have the time, then simply think about these very simple examples of planned obsolescence in your life: 
  • Lightbulbs: there is a lightbulb in California that was switched on for the first time in 1901 (yes: 111 years ago), and it is still working. Check it out for yourself. Now you tell me: how often do you have to change your lightbulbs? Do you really think we do not have the technology to make lightbulbs last longer? The technology to manufacture lightbulbs that last tens of years existed already 110 years ago. We have proof of that! When lightbulbs manufacturers realized what they had done - i.e. they had created a perfect, durable product, that consumers would only need to buy perhaps once every 20-30 years - they realized they were shooting themselves in the foot. So they got together and agreed among themselves to manufacture and market products BELOW the technical standards of the time: the life of a lightbulbs was reduced by designed from thousands and thousands of hours, to only a few hundreds. This is not some crazy conspiracy theory: it is a historically proven fact. Of course you don't hear it in our schools, and I really wonder why (sarcasm). 
  • MP3 players. The most famous is Apple’s ipod/iphone, which comes with a sealed-in battery that you cannot replace yourself. Surprise: the battery fails well before the product does, forcing you to either buy a new ipod, or to send the ipod to Cupertino for an expensive replacement. Do you really think that Apple - or Sony, or any other - can’t make batteries that last more than 2 years? Do you think that there isn’t the technology to do that? Also: do you really think that the new Iphone5 could have not been charged with the previous chargers? Do you think there is a technological need to redesign the jacks forcing you to throw away all the previous chargers? PLEAAAAAAZE.
  • Home printers: there is a chip in most home printers that, after a certain amount of printed pages, will activate a switch that will block your printer. In other words: the company manufacturing the printers decides after how many pages your printers will stop functioning, so that you will be forced to replace it. Beware: I didn’t say the printer will break, because it won’t. The printer will do exactly what it is supposed to do: the chip will activate and the  printer will stop printing, even if all its components are perfectly functioning. You may object that the printer’s manufacturer may not benefit from it, because you may end up buying a printer from a different brand. But you are missing the big picture, my friend: ALL MANUFACTURERS do exactly the same, this is a sort of industry agreement. The industry as such will benefit. 
  • My wooden spoons: do you think that 21st century men lack the technology to build a freaking wood spoon that lasts more than 4 months and doesn't dissolve in the soups that it is supposed to stir? Seriously now. 
Governments, corporations and green fascists will tell you that planned obsolescence is necessary to upgrade products and make them safer and more environmentally friendly (think about the lightbulbs, again: we are told that everything is good for the environment...). This is bullshit. They are all in on this. They all want your money, they all want you to believe the lies they tell you. Start thinking for yourself. Open your eyes. 

Gosh, am I not mad for those wooden spoons...

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