Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘Hemisphere’

America’s Test Kitchen & Chinese Junk

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 11, 2021

Occasionally, I read the numerous emails sent out by “America’s Test Kitchen.”

And when I write “numerous,” I mean NUMEROUS. They’re practically bordering on SPAM.

And, they almost always want you to buy some cheap, Fabriqué en Chien Chine (tr. “Made in China,” but, it might as well be “Made in Dog”) junk. Hmm… Chinese junk. Seems there is an historical watercraft called — interestingly enough — a “Chinese junk.”

China, Miscellaneous Scenes: Junks near Ningpo
Creator: Fong, Ali
Subject: Hartung’s Photo Shop
Local number: SIA RU007263 [SIA2008-2923]
RU 7263 – Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers, 1904-1954 and undated, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Place: Ningbo Zhuanqu (China)
Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives


And ATK’s latest flop is… testing silicon spatulas.

Yes, you read that correctly – silicon spatulas. It must’ve been a VERY slow day week in the test kitchen.

While I once found them informative, they’ve been slipping. And one thing that gripes me about ATK is that many of their “recommendations” aren’t worth a hot hoot in Hades. As an example, consider a venerable, almost ubiquitous, household kitchen appliance… the blender.

Not too long ago, ATK, as they usually do, produced a video comparing various brands of the kitchen appliance. That one, of course, happened to be about blenders. Their hands-down, long-time winner was the Vitamix 5200, priced at $449… BUT! Made in Cleveland, Ohio, and FULLY guaranteed — everything about it (i.e., “a motor blender base and any containers purchased together”) will be repaired, or replaced AT NO EXTRA COST — for 7 years if ANY part fails “due to a defect in material or workmanship or as a result of normal wear and tear from ordinary household use.” FINALLY! FINEST QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA!

ATK’s “next best” choice model was the Breville brand Hemisphere Control model, priced around $200 – Made in China, and with only a limited, one year guarantee.

While the site and accompanying video(s) show excerpts from their “tests,” and the host gives an adequate description of the “tests” and their staff’s findings – the advantages and shortcomings of each of them – one thing they fall grievously short on is… 1.) CLEANING, and; 2.) LONG TERM DURABILITY TESTING.

Granted, ATK conjures up some “torture” tests that most cooks won’t come close to performing, such as plunging a searing hot skillet into an ice water bath, or banging the thing on a concrete block… just to see what would happen. In industry parlance, that’s called “destructive testing,” meaning that the piece, or thing, being tested is likely to be damaged, or destroyed in the process.

I happen to own a couple Breville brand products, one of them being the no-longer-manufactured Hemisphere model blender, and the other one being the still-manufactured Breville brand Barista Express model espresso machine with integrated grinder.

The TOTAL purchase price for BOTH items – shipping + tax included – was around $1000+/-.

Now, to give kudos to the Australian company, their design team Read the rest of this entry »

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