Yes, Virginia, There Is An Apple Core

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say that apples don’t really have cores. Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth; do apple cores exist?

Virginia H.
New York, New York

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the gullibility of a gullible age. They believe anything they see on YouTube. Seriously, Virginia, these friends of yours? You could do better. Did you know that Stevie wets his bed at least once a week? And Johnny picks his nose and eats the boogers when he thinks no one is looking? Do you have any idea what Sally and Jane have been saying about you behind your back? But you didn’t ask about your so-called friends; you asked about apple cores, and you deserve an answer.

State-of-the-art apple core removal technology
So many cores, so little time.

Yes, Virginia, there are apple cores. They exist as surely as the Farberware Classic Apple Corer exists, or the OXO Good Grips Apple Corer and Divider, and you know these gadgets are real because of the joy they bring on those rare and wondrous occasions when someone uses one to make a pie. Imagine how dreary the world would be without apple cores. There would be no Norpro 5103 Stainless Steel Apple Corer with Plunger, no Amco Dial-A-Slice Adjustable Apple Corer and Slicer, no R & M Industries 5920 Apple Peeler / Corer / Slicer. There would be no Apple Core Removal Technology industry at all. Do you have any idea, Virginia, how many factory workers and engineers would be out of work if there were no apple cores? Or, for that matter, if people stopped believing in apple cores? Is that something you want on your conscience?

Not believe in apple cores! You might as well not believe in Santa Claus. You might slice an apple crosswise and see no evidence of a core, but what would that prove? Have you ever seen the Tooth Fairy? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist. How else would you explain the fact that every time you leave a baby tooth under your pillow at night, it’s gone the next morning, replaced by a shiny new coin? This could only be the work of the Tooth Fairy. Or possibly the Tooth Alchemist, who transformed the tooth into a coin and then just left it there, possibly in an attempt to free the Tooth Fairy from her crippling addiction to human teeth. We’ll probably never know the details, Virginia, but the point is that even though no one has ever seen either of these entities, we can be confident in the knowledge that they exist and that they skulk around your room at night, searching for body parts.

Apple cores exist, Virginia, and they always will. Rejoice in the knowledge that you were right and your friends were wrong. You should celebrate! Eat an apple! But watch out for the core — you wouldn’t want to chip a tooth.


Today Is National Ice Cream Day — Or Is It?

We have always celebrated National Ice Cream Day on the third Sunday of July.

— George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

In 1984, Ronald Reagan signed a presidential proclamation naming the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day — or so the dairy-industrial complex would have us believe. But the actual text of that proclamation refers only to dates in 1984 — so where did the recurring Ice Cream Days and Ice Cream Months come from?

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15, 1984, as National Ice Cream Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.

And why did Reagan wait until July 9 — almost a third of the way into the month — to sign this proclamation? The obvious answer, of course, is that he didn’t want to detract from National Duck Stamp Week, which ran from July 1 through July 8. But wait! Look at this:

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of July 1 through July 8, 1984, as National Duck Stamp Week and 1984 as the Golden Anniversary Year of the Duck Stamp. I urge all Americans to observe these occasions with appropriate ceremonies and events, including participating in this program.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Do you see? National Duck Stamp Week was July 1-8, but he waited until July 3 — when the week was almost half over — to issue that proclamation. Was this a passive-aggressive means of asserting a deep-seated hostility towards commemorative dates in general? Or was the government engaged in secret ice-cream- and duck-stamp-related ceremonies and activities that the general public has no knowledge of even today?

And why do we have a National Ice Cream Day and a National Ice Cream Month, but no National Ice Cream Week? Why has there never been a National Year of Ice Cream? If there’s an entire month devoted to ice cream, why isn’t there even a single day set aside to honor hot fudge?

These are deeply troubling questions. I have, however, decided to set aside my misgivings and celebrate National Ice Cream Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities just as President Reagan may or may not have intended. If you’re in the United States today, I urge you to do the same. And if you’re not, then of course you’re not bound by our national customs, so you’ll just have to celebrate with ceremonies and activities that are inappropriate. I’m sure you’ll find a way to rise to the occasion.

Guns Don’t Shoot People. Ovens Shoot People.

And now, a few important safety tips:

Yes, I did just discover the Pulp-O-Mizer. Why do you ask?
Yes, I did just discover the Pulp-O-Mizer. Why do you ask?

1. Before you turn on your oven, make sure there are no bullets inside. A woman in Tampa was injured this week when she neglected to take this simple precaution. She said she was preheating her friend’s oven in order to make waffles, unaware that her friend used his oven to store  ammunition.

Personally, I find this story hard to believe. Who makes waffles in the oven? Modern waffle irons are electric appliances that provide their own heat; old-fashioned waffle irons use heat from the top of the stove. There’s no such thing as a baked waffle.

2. To be extra-safe, store your ammunition somewhere other than the oven. I’m going to go even further and recommend that you keep all your explosives out of the oven.

3. If you find a bunch of dead mice in a tree, you can eat up to 8 of them every 4-6 hours, but don’t eat more than 32 in a 24-hour period. Don’t eat any dead mice if you’re pregnant, have liver problems, or drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day. You can serve dead mice to your children, but only in smaller portions. Do not, under any circumstances, feed dead mice of unknown origin to your cat.

4. Remember to periodically check your water supply for decomposing human remains, especially if you’ve noticed that your water has “a funny taste”. Corpse water can sometimes be perfectly safe to drink; however, the presence of a dead body in your water tank may be an indication that you have a murderer running around.

5. If you do find a murderer on your property, don’t let him store anything in your oven.

Who is Astrid Volpert? And Other Questions for the Butterball Turkey Hotline

Not the actual turkey hotline (image courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives)

I’ve just heard some exciting news — just in time for Thanksgiving, Butterball has launched a turkey recipe app. At just $4.99, Butterball Cookbook Plus sounds like a real godsend for anyone who owns an iPhone and doesn’t know how to cook a turkey or look things up on Google.

If you have turkey-related questions and don’t own an iPhone, don’t despair. You can still call the Butterball turkey hotline, which “employs more than 50 professionally trained, college-educated home economists and nutritionists” to answer questions — which is exactly what I need, because I don’t have an iPhone, and I do have some questions. Like these:

1. Who is Astrid Volpert? She’s listed as a Butterball turkey expert, but when I click on her link, I get an error message. Some independent research led me to her website, which offers no evidence of any formal turkey-related training whatsoever. I don’t think she even speaks English.

2. The wish I made on last year’s Butterball turkey wishbone didn’t come true. When can I expect my refund?

3. What’s the capital of Turkey?

4. Remember that story about the woman who kills her husband by hitting him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb and then cooks it and serves it to the detectives who come out to investigate the murder? Do you think that would work with a turkey? Asking for a friend.

5. A turkey, a giraffe, and an otter walk into a bar. Who gets served first?

6. Help! I have a dog, a cat, a baby, a roasted turkey, and a bottle of wine in the kitchen, and I need to move them all to the dining room. I can’t leave the cat alone with the dog, I can’t leave the cat or the dog alone with the turkey, I can’t leave the baby alone at all, and it’s probably best not to leave me alone with the wine. The cat and the dog can walk. The dog will go where I tell him to, but the cat just does whatever he wants. I can carry any two items at a time except for the cat, who won’t let me pick him up. What should I do?

7. If I drop an 18-pound turkey and a 2-pound Cornish game hen off the top of the Empire State Building at the same time, what crime will I be charged with? Does it matter if the turkey is frozen?

8. If someone calls the hotline and asks a question about a turducken, do you hang up 1/3 of the way through the call?

9. Can I come work for you? Answering turkey questions seems like it could be fun, at least until the novelty wears off, at which point I’d probably just start making stuff up. That wouldn’t be a problem, would it?

10. Does this stuffing make my drumsticks look fat?

Do you have any turkey- or holiday-related questions or concerns? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer.

How to Eat Fruit (Fall Edition)

Dana from Zona Pellucida read my piece on how to eat summer fruits and asked:

Too bad I haven’t been able to read this until autumn. Are there any recommendations on how to eat fall fruits easily and safely?

Good question, Dana. Fall fruits are more challenging than summer fruits. For one thing, they’re elusive. Wikipedia’s Seasonal Food page lists a couple fruits each for winter and spring, 18 different summer fruits, and a grand total of zero fruits for fall. But don’t despair. Fall fruits do exist. They include pumpkin, apples, and … um, did I say pumpkin already?

The most important thing to remember about fall fruits is that they should always be consumed in the form of pie. Pies can be obtained in a variety of ways.

Method 1: Bake a Pie

Baking a pie is the oldest and most traditional method of pie acquisition. To bake a delicious pie featuring your favorite fruit, you will need:

  • A recipe for a delicious pie featuring your favorite fall fruit.
  • Pie ingredients, as listed in the recipe.
  • Assorted pie-making tools, such as an oven, a rolling pin, a pie pan, etc.
  1. Learn to bake.
  2. Following the directions in the recipe, bake the pie.

That’s all there is to it! What could be simpler?

Method 2: Purchase a Pie

If you don’t have time to bake a pie, you can always buy one. You will need:

  • Money.
  • The name, address, and operating hours of a reputable pie retailer (typically a grocery store, restaurant, or bakery).
  1. Go to the pie retailer during their operating hours. Bring money.
  2. Find an employee, and inform them that you wish to exchange some of your money for one of their pies. They’ll walk you through the rest of the procedure.

Method 3: Steal a Pie

Occasionally, you may find yourself unable to bake or purchase a pie. For example, you may be out of both money and pie ingredients, or you may have a sudden desire for pie late at night, when all the pie retailers in your area are closed. In that case, you’ll have to steal a pie. You will need:

  • The name, address, and operating hours of a reputable pie retailer.
  • A set of lockpicks, a crowbar, or a rock.
  • A car or other motor vehicle.
  • A friend.
  1. Have your friend drive you to the pie retailer during a time when the retailer is closed.
  2. Ask your friend to remain in the car and keep the engine running.
  3. Using the lockpicks, crowbar, or rock, enter the building.
  4. Working quickly, locate the pie storage area. This will probably be inside a refrigerator.
  5. Take a pie, leave the store, and jump into the waiting car.
  6. Instruct your friend to drive away from the pie shop.
  7. Enjoy your pie! And don’t forget to share it with your friend.

Method 4: Obtain a Pie Through Extortion

If you can’t bake or purchase a pie, and none of your friends are available to help you steal one, don’t despair — you can still obtain a pie using a simple time-honored process known as extortion. You will need:

  • The name, address, and operating hours of a reputable pie retailer.
  • A general air of intimidation.
  1. Go to the pie retailer during their operating hours.
  2. Project a general air of intimidation while entering the pie shop. Try to walk with a swagger.
  3. Maintain the swagger as you approach the pie display and pick up a pie.
  4. Say something like “Nice pie shop you’ve got here. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”
  5. Swagger out of the store with your pie.

Well, Dana, I hope this answers your question and provides you with the knowledge you’ll need to incorporate delicious and healthful autumn fruits into your diet. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

How to Eat Fruit

Summer fruits are delicious, but many people miss out on these healthful treats because of the amount of effort required to transform a piece of fruit from its original state into something fit to eat. With today’s modern technology, however, fruit preparation has never been simpler. The following is a step-by-step guide for enjoying some of the most commonly available fruits of the season.

How to eat a peach

Only $13.99 at Peach and hands not included.

You will need:

  1. Rinse the peach.
  2. Place the peach on a level surface.
  3. Position the slicer over the peach.
  4. Press down on the slicer.
  5. Eat the peach slices. Don’t eat the pit or the slicer.

How to eat a pear

Only $8.38 at

You will need:

  1. Rinse the pear.
  2. Place the pear on the orange-colored apple-shaped cutting board.
  3. Position the orange-colored apple-shaped slicer over the pear.
  4. Press down on the slicer.
  5. Eat the pear slices. Don’t eat the core, the slicer, or the cutting board.

How to eat a cantaloupe

Only $14.89 at

You will need:

  1. Rinse the cantaloupe.
  2. Place the cantaloupe on a level surface.
  3. Position the slicer over the cantaloupe.
  4. Press down on the slicer.
  5. Eat the cantaloupe slices. Don’t eat the slicer or the rind. Avoid the seeds.

How to eat a strawberry

Only $7.42 at

You will need:

Only $0.50 (plus $4.99 shipping) at Strawberries not included.
  1. Rinse the strawberry
  2. Grasp the strawberry firmly but gently in your left hand. Hold the StemGem in your right hand (if you’re left-handed, hold these directions up to a mirror).
  3. Press the green button on the StemGem to open the claw.
  4. Insert the claw into the stem end of the strawberry.
  5. Twist and remove the StemGem.
  6. Open the strawberry slicer.
  7. Put the hulled strawberry into the slicer.
  8. Close the slicer.
  9. Enjoy your delicious strawberry slices. Don’t eat the slicer or the StemGem.

How to eat a banana

Only $5.29 at

You will need:

My goal here has been to provide instructions that the reader can follow at home to eat a piece of fruit purchased from a grocery store or farmer’s market. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that for bananas: the peels aren’t edible, and there are no banana-peeling tools available for home use. So before you proceed with the following steps, you’ll need to have your banana professionally peeled.

  1. Place the banana on a level surface.
  2. Position the slicer over the banana.
  3. Press down on the slicer.
  4. Eat the banana slices. Don’t eat the slicer.

How to eat a blueberry

You really can eat this entire fruit in one bite.

You will need:

  • One blueberry.
  1. Rinse the blueberry.
  2. Open your mouth.
  3. Place the entire blueberry into your mouth.
  4. Close your mouth, removing any fingers that remain inside.
  5. Chew and swallow.



Update: I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ve just read an article that claims that it’s possible to peel a banana yourself at home, using only your bare hands. Proceed with caution.


I found my true calling in life at the 13th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2004.

I consider most work-related travel a chore, but this trip was different. The conference was the final event of a high-profile project I’d been immersed in for years. It was an opportunity to show off some work I was truly proud of. And it was three blocks away from the Five Senses Bakery, home of the Chocolate Sparkle Cookie.

Chocolate sparkle cookies
See? They actually do kind of sparkle.

I first encountered the Chocolate Sparkle Cookie in 2002, when I saw an unusual recipe in the Los Angeles Times. I decided to try it. The first bite of the first cookie of the first batch changed my life forever.

If you’ve ever had a Chocolate Sparkle Cookie, you know what I’m talking about. If not – well, I’ll try to explain. I was once like you. I thought I knew how good a cookie could be. I was wrong. The Chocolate Sparkle Cookie was better than that. It was impossibly good. It was rich and soft and chocolaty. If chocolate intensity were measured on a scale of 1 to 10, this cookie’s intensity would be infinity. If cookies were cars, the Chocolate Sparkle Cookie would be the DeLorean from Back to the Future. If cookies were amphibians, the Chocolate Sparkle Cookie would be the kind of frog that grants wishes.

The LA Times credited the recipe to the Five Senses Bakery. I vowed that I would go there one day. Two years later, I was sent to a conference three blocks away. It was fate.

I landed in Vancouver late on a Saturday night. The Canadian immigration officer seemed unusually suspicious. He kept asking about the reason for my trip. I told him I was attending an earthquake engineering conference. I didn’t say that this was my pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Chocolate Sparkle Cookie. I think he could tell I was hiding something.

Sunday morning, I walked to the Five Senses Bakery – and discovered it was closed on Sundays. I was depressed. I went back at the crack of dawn on Monday – and found that it was closed for “British Columbia Day.” I’d never even heard of this holiday. I was despondent. I went to bed early Monday night. Outside my window, I heard fireworks. It was like they were mocking me, celebrating a holiday that separated me from the one thing I loved more than anything else in the world. I fell into deep despair.

I managed to drag myself out of bed and to the bakery Tuesday morning. It was open! My heart filled with joy. I handed my empty backpack to the woman behind the counter and asked her to fill it with Chocolate Sparkle Cookies. I wound up with three dozen, which was all they had.

I practically inhaled the first cookie. I took my time with the second. It had the same intense chocolate flavor as the ones I made at home, but the texture was a little smoother, a little more melt-in-your-mouth. The recipe calls for ground almonds in place of flour; the bakery must have ground their almonds more finely than mine. Or maybe they used magic fairy dust instead.

I shared the rest of the cookies with my colleagues back at the conference. As I looked at each person’s face as they took that first bite, I realized that introducing people to these cookies was the most rewarding thing I’d ever done. That’s when it hit me: I was born to be a choco-vangelist.

So please, try these cookies. Don’t worry. I won’t judge you. I’m not some crazy cookie fundamentalist. I accept the fact that some people don’t appreciate the Cookie. I don’t hate these people; I pity them. My niece likes my sister’s black-bottom cupcakes better than the Cookie. Can you believe that? I admit, those cupcakes are really good – they’re responsible for at least six of the eight pounds I gained over Thanksgiving – but they don’t compare to the Cookie. Cookie-impaired people like my niece deserve our tolerance.

But tolerance has its limits. Some people refuse to even try the Cookie. Like my ex-friend Steve, who made some lame excuse about the almonds triggering his severe nut allergy. How is this a problem? He carries an epi-pen and lives five minutes away from a hospital. A near-death experience is a small price to pay for the bliss of the Cookie.

Sorry, I seem to have gone off on a tangent. To answer your question: yes, 7:15 is a little early, and I apologize for waking you. But I work during the week, and Sunday mornings are the only time I’m free to go door-to-door, so I like to get an early start.

So please, try a Chocolate Sparkle Cookie. It’ll change your life.

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies were created by Thomas Haas at the Sen5es Bakery in Vancouver. They and he have since moved to Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie. The recipe can be found here — I follow it exactly as written except that I don’t sprinkle it with powdered sugar at the end.

Don’t Look a Zombie Chocolate Bunny in the Mouth

A few weeks ago, Thoughtsy from Thoughts Appear’s Blog sent me a lovely seasonally appropriate confection in the mail.

Cat inspecting a zombie chocolate bunny
Health and safety inspection

Of course, the first question one asks when presented with a chocolate zombie bunny is: will biting into this thing turn me into a zombie? After all, biting a rabid dog will give you the rabies virus (which is why you should never do that — also, rabid dogs taste terrible), so wouldn’t biting a zombie give you the zombie virus? And if it does, will I turn into a regular human zombie, or a zombie bunny, or what? And is the chocolate chocolaty enough to be worth it?

I turned to the bunny’s packaging for answers. The ingredient list didn’t include “zombie pathogens”, “zombie virus”, or anything else with “zombie” in the name, which was encouraging. But I also made a horrifying discovery: the main ingredient wasn’t dark chocolate or even milk chocolate. This bunny was made of white chocolate. A pale, lifeless imitation of real chocolate. Zombie chocolate.

That’s right — this wasn’t a chocolate zombie bunny at all; it was a zombie chocolate bunny. Instead of a zombie bunny made of chocolate, I was harboring a bunny made of zombie chocolate. And it turned out to be even more dangerous than I suspected: a few days later, I found evidence that it had been attacking my other chocolate.

I got this as a present a couple years ago. It’s designed to be eaten on backpacking trips, but I never go backpacking, so I was saving it for the zombie apocalypse. Which has, apparently, just started.

Clearly, it was time to act. Chopping off its head seemed like a reasonable precaution. And I’ve been trying to build up a natural immunity to the zombie chocolate virus by eating a little at a time.

A zombie chocolate bunny with a severed head.
Snapping the bunny’s neck was surprisingly easy. Please don’t quote me out of context.

So far I’ve only eaten an ear. A zombie chocolate bunny ear, not a human ear. It was delicious.

Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Recently, the lovely and talented Peg of Peg-O-Leg’s Ramblings invited several people to write about the same topic on the same day. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Naturally, I jumped right in (and in case you’re wondering — yes, if all the others jumped off a bridge, I probably would too). Peg’s rules were simple: we had to write a piece called “Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups” and post it at the appointed time. We also each had to focus on a different subject area, so, naturally, I chose fashion. I consider myself an expert in this topic because — and I swear I’m not exaggerating — I wear clothes every day. Even on weekends. Seriously.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups aren’t commonly used as clothing today, but they have been in the past. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, oversized peanut butter cups were often used in ballet costumes, as we can see in paintings from that period.

Edward Degas Ballet Scene painting, with two dancers wearing Reese's tutus.
Ballet Scene With Reese’s, Edward Degas et al., c. 1879

In 1944, the The Hershey Foods Corporation landed a lucrative contract to provide hats to the US Navy in an attempt to raise sailors’ spirits by furnishing them with chocolate-based headwear. The resulting Reese’s Peanut Butter Sailor Caps were popular at first; however, their low melting point created such a mess that the Navy terminated the program after the first year.

Alfred Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square picture from Life Magazine, featuring a sailor kissing a woman, while wearing a Reese's peanut butter cup hat.
V-J Day in Times Square with Reese’s, Alfred Eisenstaedt et al., Life Magazine, 1945

Up until this point, peanut butter cups had been used in costumes and uniforms but still weren’t part of an average person’s wardrobe. This all changed in 1955, when Marilyn Monroe wore her famous peanut butter cup skirt in The Seven Year Itch. Some little-known movie trivia: although it appears that Marilyn’s skirt is being blown up around her by a gust of air from a subway grate, in reality, peanut butter cups just aren’t that pliable. The skirt’s apparent movement was the product of a stop motion animation sequence that took ten hours to film and required Marilyn to change into more than 200 different chocolate skirts.

Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate with her dress -- or in this case, her Reese's peanut butter cup skirt -- blowing in the wind, from The Seven Year Itch
Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, 1955.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Reese’s were a standard part of any elegant woman’s wardrobe, due in part to Marilyn Monroe’s famous dress and, of course, Jackie Kennedy’s signature Reese’s hats.

Jackie Kennedy wearing a Reese's peanut butter cup instead of a pillbox hat.
White House portrait of Jackie Kennedy

Reese’s fashions fell out of favor in the 1960s, possibly because Jackie’s peanut butter cup hat became associated in people’s minds with the Kennedy assassination. But it’s been almost 50 years — perhaps it’s time they made a comeback.

You can read more about Reese’s on all these fine blogs today (unless it turns out they’ve been playing an elaborate practical joke on me, and I’m the only one):

The Big Sheep Blog
Childhood Relived
Go Guilty Pleasures
Fifty Four and A Half
Fix It Or Deal
Play 101
Lenore’s Thoughts Exactly
Life In The Boomer Lane
Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings
Refrigerator Magnate
Running From Hell With El
She’s A Maineiac
The Byronic Man
The Good Greatsby
The Monster In Your Closet
The Ramblings
Thoughts Appear’s Blog
Unlikely Explanations

Bonus fact: The results of a Google image search for “Rhesus Pieces” are a little disturbing, but not nearly as bad as you might expect.

Three Scary Things In My House

Scary thing #1: creepy-looking insect.

I was going to use my cat's paw to show scale, but he wouldn't cooperate. You'll have to go by the carpet fibers instead.

What is this thing? What planet is it from? Why is it in my house? How many more of them are there? If my cats try to play with it, and it bites them, will they turn into mutant alien insect cats? Do mutant alien insect cats eat cat food, or what? (Actually, based on the pictures at, a site that actually exists, this appears to be a potato bug. But my other questions still stand).

Scary thing #2: ambiguously-labelled water filter.

Sounds delicious, doesn't it?
Sounds delicious, doesn't it?

The scare quotes on the label do not fill me with confidence.

Scary thing #3: confusing condiments.

Sugar and spice.

On the left is a jar containing a mixture of crystallized sugar, chocolate, and coffee beans, with a built-in grinder; on the right is a jar of pepper with a built-in grinder. Alone, neither of these is scary — but I know that one day, when I least expect it, I’ll confuse the two. It’s like having a ticking time bomb in my kitchen.