Obscure Object Of Desire

From the Deepest Depths of Uselessness: “Self-heating” butter knife


Now just imagine this as one giant middle finger to the consumer, and then you will have the idea.

I don’t know about you, but if I had $30 (19.99GBP) completely unspoken for, there are a lot of things I would buy before this “handy” item. You see, it doesn’t actually warm up beyond what heat is conducted from your hand.

From TheGuardian.com:

The packet declares this “the Most Advanced Butter Knife in the World”, which is pretty much winning a race no one else was running. But they say that’s the definition of genius, don’t they? Maybe. The packaging boasts other terrific slogans. My favourites are “Spread That!” (like a policeman pushing you up against a wall) and “Spaghetti Effect!” – the battle cry of the most rubbish superhero imaginable.

But cool your jets. This gadget isn’t self-heating in the way you’re thinking, like a towel rail or a pocket warmer. There’s no exothermic reaction, or nano-mechanism hidden in the shaft. Its secret is thermal conduction, transmitting heat from your hand to the blade. Put bluntly, it’s made of metal and doesn’t have a handle. As such, it’s slightly oversold; having a satnav in your car doesn’t make you Knight Rider.

But does it do the job? I try it with various types of butter, none of which provide the “spaghetti effect”, an optimistic description of thin noodles of cold butter rasped off a serrated edge. Instead, I get a “scroll effect”, a pleated roll of cream turning over itself, which is better – and strangely addictive, like whittling. I smear-test it on various kinds of bread, including chewy sourdough and a soft, Nigerian-style agege loaf, because I am a multicultural dream. Impressively, it doesn’t tear the latter’s fluffy crumb (though does compress it, like memory foam). It’s lovely in the hand – broad, dense and smoothly granular. In use it’s luxurious, spreading dairy fat like the metabolism of a man over 40.

I think the “Spaghetti-effect” is probably the actual trick. And this knife doesn’t even look like it does as good of a job as this “unheatead” one. 

On a recent visit to Cleveland, I had a chance to use the IPKA  Standing Knife that I gave her a couple of years back. I actually think the problem of where to set a peanut butter covered knife is much greater than my inability to spread butter. I am tempted to pick up one for myself.

Or go the tactical route with this one.




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