MIT geniuses throw out the kitchen sink
If there's one thing Digital Slobs hate more than cable- and Internet-service interruptions, it's having to "do the dishes."
CorningWare is our kryptonite.
Nothing takes the wind out of our sails like the faint whiff of yesterday's dinner plates whimpering for our attention from the kitchen sink. Though we'll have to face the caked-on facts sooner or later, it's hard not to look away.
Many Slobs hang out at bars until the lights come up just because we've come to fear what's evolving on our countertops -- after all, if you were sure you saw a Pyrex bowl move as if it had a will of its own, you'd also sprint to the pub and plant your backside firmly on that barstool until the bartender pried it off.
Even when the bitter pill of spic-'n-span duties is coated with compromise, it fails to wash down any easier. When our significant others say "Sure, I'll cook dinner, IF you wash the dishes," it's kind of like hearing them say, "Sure, I'll kill your boss, IF you chop him into pieces, stuff him into a Hefty bag, heave him into the trunk and then drop him into the river."
Fair? Yes. Deal of the Century? Hardly.
While all Slobs (and more than a few Goodfellas) would gladly join me in a support circle, Respectable People would be aghast at how brazenly we bemoan the most basic duty we all owe civilization -- cleaning up after ourselves.
Good point. As usual, however, they mix up a basic need -- good culinary hygiene -- with their affection for affectation: A cupboard full of ceremonial ceramics that fill their family dinner tables.
The only reason many Respectable People got married in the first place was because they got an inside tip their favorite china pattern would be discontinued next season.
For Slobs, on the other hand, the table setting of choice is wax paper -- the hungry man's duct tape, a container system the fast-food industry adapted from hospitals.
The health-care industry grosses $17.4 gazillion a year, and yet every time we get a physical what do we sit on? A few square feet of butcher paper. If it's good enough for our (mostly covered) rear end, it's good enough for Thanksgiving.
Fortunately, when they're not building GPS-enabled, laser-guided salad forks for James Bond, cutting-edge kitchen designers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are trying to bring both sides in the dinnerware wars to the negotiating table.
Kim Zetter reported earlier this month in Wired.com that MIT grad student Leonardo (Mona Lisa was child's play) Bonanni has designed the DishMaker, a kiln-like machine that makes dishes on demand, and then recycles them back down to wafer-like acrylic discs once dinner is over. About the size of a dishwasher, it holds 150 discs and can make a cup, dish or bowl every 90 seconds. The DishMaker is designed to free up kitchen and landfill space, while saving energy via recycling.
Once the kinks are pounded out, the device could also mold a permanent chow-time accord between Respectable People and Slobs, by making dinnerware that's more civilized that a feedbag, and less fuss and muss than a paper plate.
Thank you, MIT. Now, if you could only help us stop feeling like 200-pound flank steaks during our prostate exams.