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Fat Guy

The wonderful world of late-night TV cookware ads

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I was attempting to watch La Femme Nikita on Oxygen but I got tripped up by the time change (actually, the network got it wrong; I was correctly following the 2am change rule). Instead, I was treated to an infomercial for a remarkable product called AirCore - The Walk-Away Cookware.

This stuff sure seems great. All you do is put dry rice, frozen chicken breasts, a little water, and a jar of salsa in the pot, bring it up to heat on the stovetop, then shut off the burner and walk away. While you run errands or get a massage from Sven (I'm not making this up), the food cooks to the ideal temperature and stays hot for hours. How does it work? The patented AirCore, of course.

I would like to commend the actors in this infomercial for doing a particularly good job of hamming it up. I think it has gotten to the point where the infomercial is a recognized form that allows for self-satire.

Any other favorites? Or would anybody like to confess to a purchase of AirCore in order to give us a report on its efficacy?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Ron Popeil gets my vote, for his rotisserie grill infomercials. He's mastered the art of using food porn to sell an appliance. "Look at this Jill, my FAVorite: BAY-BEE BACK RIBS!"

I've wondered about AirCore and a couple of similar productes I've seen. They appear to be nothing more than pressure cookers, but they leave me cold because casseroles are less sexy that roasted foods.

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I was attempting to watch La Femme Nikita on Oxygen but I got tripped up by the time change (actually, the network got it wrong; I was correctly following the 2am change rule). Instead, I was treated to an infomercial for a remarkable product called AirCore - The Walk-Away Cookware.

You need a Tivo. :wink:

And spqr, Ron Popeil scares me. Even still.

I love the infomercials for the Dean Martin Roast videotapes. But that's not cookware. Drat. I don't remember the infomercial that well, but I was always fascinated by the CONCEPT of the "Rotato".


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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There's one I've seen that's just a pressure cooker marked up like 300% and sold with some sort of "super-wave" type brand name that confuses the issue. But the AirCore isn't a pressure cooker. It's some sort of thermally retentive slow cooker.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Jon I don't think Tivo would have gotten it right either. The listings were an hour off both on the Time Warner guide channel and on TVGuide.com.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't see how anyone can beat the old classic: Ginzu knives, with the Japanese chefs grinning manaically as they gleefully chopped up everything from tomatoes to sheets of paper to beer cans.

:biggrin:

"But wait! There's MORE!!"

:laugh:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Lately I've been seeing commercials for a "pancake cooker" that looks like two little non-stick crepe pans connected with a hinge at the far side. pour the batter on one side, let it cook, then close the lid and flip it over the cook the other side. I feel stupider just watching them demonstrate the thing. Oooh, now I can make one pancake at a time - thanks!

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Given how much spoiled food I seem to throw away, and how many hunks 'a meat sit irreparably freezer burned in my freezer, I've always been partial to the FOOD SAVER

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Given how much spoiled food I seem to throw away, and how many hunks 'a meat sit irreparably freezer burned in my freezer, I've always been partial to the FOOD SAVER

I am crazed to own this thing, my husband goes nuts every time I mention it! Not the cheepie kind, the really expensive vacuum the air out version...its $129 on air, $149 at the kiosk at my local mall, a very sweet Pakistani man who sells all the mail order stuff for a slight mark-up.

I rotate my freezer pretty regularly, but it s the space saving aspect that appeals to me..I am way overdue to get a stand up freezer..I should have years ago, and now one kid is off to college, I'm thinking less food anyway, and such hectic sports schedules...yada, yada! My upstairs freezer is filled with ice, eggo waffles, raviolis and pierogis, ice cream and cold packs..someone always gets hurt around here. My downstairs fridge is filled with wine and beer in the fridge, fozen meats, a few vodkas, and extra ice in the freezer. I could fit in so much more if I had the food saver instead of the ziplocs and saran! Oh, I covet that thing...one day, I'll drink a bit of wine, see the commercial, and order it. That's how I became the proud owner of "Time Life Singers and Songwriters " eight CD set..simply the greatest possesion I own! I'm never loaded at the mall, so I never flash the Amex and buy it from the Pakistani guy!

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Forgot to add, that I have a friend who is a chef, who swears by his rotisserie cooker, like the ones sold on TV infomercials. He says the chicken is hard to beat by any other home roasting preparation.

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I'm partial to the infomercial touting a line of flexible-blade cutlery. They keep saying "Do you realize how much money you waste every year buying pre-cut and pre-sliced food?"


"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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Why are British/Austrailian accents so prominent in these infomercials? I guess they are better than those American Testostorone Screamers that hawk edged weapons/sporting memoriabilia. LOL

I have to admit, I'm a real sucker for that Wok infomercial. And I already own one!! LOL

Mike

{Proud owner of the worthless Titanium-coated Ginzu chef knife :rolleyes: }

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I used to have a Food Saver and it worked so well that my parents took it for their own use. I have a brother who goes salmon fishing a few times each summer and the salmon has to last sans freezer-burn until next fishing season. I haven't bought a new one for myself because I'm still trying to convince myself that I don't need the one with the jar attachment.

Asians have been using something similar to the AirCore for a few years now. The best Chinese chicken soup I've ever tasted was made in one of those thermal pots. BTW, I think it's the "comedy" team The Mommies that do the AirCore informercial. Anyone remember their sitcom from about 8 years back or so?

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Yes, it's them. Indeed, the 20-piece set is called the "Mommies set."

http://www.themommies.com/

http://www.comforthouse.com/comfort/aircore.html


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The commercial is only so-so, but I spotted another "As Seen On TV" device which actually seems kind of clever:

pastapro1.gif

Pasta Pro: Boil, drain, sauce, toss and serve in the same piece of cookware.

Plotnicki will hate it! :biggrin:


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I often use one of these things for pasta draining:

s4242459-2m.jpg

I believe the technical term is "pour-off sieve." More sensible than a dedicated lid because it works with all your pots.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Ron Popeil is a genius as a "good hearted"snake oil salesman. I think the first product of his I saw was the POCKET FISHERMAN. It looked like a flattened small bleach bottle, and had a little fold out plastic pole end, with the tackle fitting in compartments in the handle.

A couple of other thoughts. Is it just me or does he sort of look like an over the hill '70s porn star? It's his dress, demeanor....his So. "Californianess".

Lastly, I've always noticed a bad scar on his upper lip. I've often wondered if either a pocket fisherman hooked him real bad, or perhaps one of his inventions got the worst of him?? :laugh:


Edited by Kerouac1964 (log)

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t-fal now has a frying pan with a red dot in the center. the dot glows red when the pan is "at the perfect cooking temperature." :unsure:

if it gets dirty, i'm sure you can oxy-clean it with Orange Clean, using "the power of real orange oil." :unsure:

http://www.t-falusa.com/products/thermospot.html

http://www.t-falusa.com/images/4U/thermospot.swf


Edited by tommy (log)

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Ron Popeil, isn't he the person, who started the practice in infomercials of not actually giving the price of the product. So a $240 item for example, he would say 'it's just 6 easy payments of $40.' He's even guested on The Larry King program(CNN) & profiled in People magazine.

I think manufactures actually pitch ideas to him, so Ron could sell their product on television. I remember him for his infomercial many years ago, selling to bald people(or people losing their hair), with his lotion product that promised substantial hair growth again. It was disguised, to have the look-and-feel of a real television talk show. And it included a bonus gift, if people ordered soon(every infomercial includes bonus gifts nowadays).

-------------------

Steve

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Pasta Pro: Boil, drain, sauce, toss and serve in the same piece of cookware.

I've seen a lot of that one too. Confusingly, there's a competitor's ad immediately before or after, and the ads looks near identical. They do like to fill the pots to capacity. (Obviously no pasta chefs consulted.)

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Pasta Pro: Boil, drain, sauce, toss and serve in the same piece of cookware.

I've seen a lot of that one too. Confusingly, there's a competitor's ad immediately before or after, and the ads looks near identical. They do like to fill the pots to capacity. (Obviously no pasta chefs consulted.)

and i love the way they suggest that you'll be cooking lobster dinners and whatnot. retirees all over the country are plunking down 40 bucks thinking that they'll suddenly become better cooks. so sad.

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I remember him for his infomercial many years ago, selling to bald people(or people losing their hair), with his lotion product that promised substantial hair growth again. It was disguised, to have the look-and-feel of a real television talk show.

SteveW --

I've seen that hair hawking too. :laugh: I think Emeril uses it. :wink:

Popiel (or some other competitor) would talk about how incredible it was then he'd shake the can, and get volunteers from the audience to come down, and he'd "Spray on" their new-found hair right on the spot.

Then, that Blonde, and quasi-sexual object lady-sidekick (the one who mouths incredibly insightful comments :blink: ) would tell the painted on subject they were all sexy and wonderful looking with their new hairdo.

20 yrs later and some poor terrified-to-be-bald-in-public guy has probably been sending in his money every 30 days to that clown to get that hair paint. :wacko:

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Popeil is the master. My wife ordered a ShowTime Rotisserie. We cooked three chickens. They all tasted steamed, not roasted. The door keeps the moisture trapped inside and this makes for juicy but rubbery meat. We packed it up and sent it back.

I always wondered what the preface "Euro" had to do with anything. The "Euro-vacuum", the "Euro-Cooker" "Euro-cleaner", etc. What the hell do people think the Europeans know about making this crap that adds some kind of cache to them?

Chef tony sells the hell out of the Miracle Blade, though. I love the pitch at the end with the suit. Tony says, "wait, I'm not finished..if you order now, we will include, at no extra cost, the full tuition for your child's MBA at Harvard, a 50 foot tiled in-ground swimming pool and a lifetime supply of condoms--PLUS another Miracle Blade for your friends, or for Jason to use on Halloween.

The informercial is an art form unto itself.

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So what about QVC, HSN, and Shop NBC. They're 24hr a day infomercials. The guy on ShopNBC who has been hawking the same computer for 2 1/2yrs with $2000 worth (worthless) of software for $1599, amazing. Did you ever notice the count of how many units they've sold? It always seems like 5-10,000. these companies must do more business than Microsoft an GE combined. :laugh:


I'm a NYC expat. Since coming to the darkside, as many of my freinds have said, I've found that most good things in NYC are made in NJ.

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We like the Flow-bee (sp?) commercials best, but not enough to call whatever number with our credit card number for four low monthly payments of whatever.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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