Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Isn't Always Better....



Everything these days is supposed to be newer and better, but most new stuff only lasts five minutes. Gadgets have moved on so much in the last fifty years. I wrote last week about my fabulous new Scooba, which is as I write this washing my kitchen floor. Well this week I want to write about something that was a new gadget long before I was even born.

The picture is of my Cake Breaker. It belonged to my mother, and to her mother before her. Manufactured by a company called C J Schneider Manufacturing Company in Toledo, Ohio sometime in the early part of the last century, this little gadget is one of the most well used things in my kitchen. It “slices” cakes beautifully. You simply insert the cake breaker where you would slice in with your knife, on both sides of the slice of cake, and then the slice lifts out perfectly – even if you are slicing a really ornately decorated cake. The insert reads “Simple as 1-2-3 Cake Breakers by Schneider. A remarkable table accessory that breaks cake in even, beautiful potions, free from crumbs, leaving the most delicate frosting or filling intact.” Talk about truth in advertising – that is exactly what it does – and has been doing in my family for the last seventy years.

I did a bit of research on these cake slicers and it turns out they were fairly widely marketed in North America. In fact, I even found a few on eBay, although how anyone can bear to part with theirs I have no idea. I have to confess I really feel that is what is missing these days - companies that make things that do what they say they will and that last for longer than a couple of years.

At the risk of sounding very old fashioned, I do think we could learn from the good old days quite a lot. We need well built things that last, especially in this market, where money is tight and the economy is fragile. Sadly, I’m not sure that is going to happen on a wide scale any time soon. Never mind, at least I’ve got my cake breaker to comfort me!

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