Sunday, January 03, 2010

As Seen on TV - Chinese Style

For most of my days, I have been occasionally been amused by, but never actually purchased, some of the infinitely useful and reasonably priced gadgets "as seen on TV". The Flowbee hair cutting system, the Chia Pet, the Thighmaster, OrangoGlo appealing as they can be when you are sleep-deprived and nursing an infant at 3:00 a.m. I've managed to avoid dialing that 800 number.

While shopping this past Christmas, however, I somehow fell under the spell of a product so magical, so obviously useful, and so adorable, I just felt that it deserved a coveted place under our Christmas tree.

I stumbled upon it while shopping with a friend at a large Toys 'R Us in the New Territories. Even Geoffrey the Giraffe has managed to set up shop here in Hong Kong. While strolling through the "Fun Cooking" section while my friend was looking for plastic food for her kids, I spotted a large, green contraption that looked like a marble run but was, actually, a complicated slide that doubled as a noodle cooker. You placed your bowl of steaming hot broth at the bottom of the slide, put your pile of rice noodles at the top and poured your boiling water over the top, setting the noodles off on a fun-filled journey toward the soup bowl, and eventually, you stomach. It was 2.5 feet in diameter and stunning in all its glory.

But that's not what I bought. Really, in a three-bedroom apartment, I DO NOT have room for any type of playground equipment for our food.

What I did spot however, was the Pack Sand Maker.

How could I say no?? Such cute sandwiches...such fun for the children...such joy I would bring to their boring little packed lunches.

Egg salad! PB&J! Even chopped up ham and shredded cheese! The possibilities were endless.

Plus, we'd be able to make croutons in the shape of hearts and flowers from the extra bread after we roll out our happy piggy sandwich shapes. Cause, you know, we used croutons so often!

With school starting up again tomorrow, we began to experiment. Darcy opted for egg salad and made it herself. Lucas, always a traditionalist, chose peanut butter. It was clear that we'd have to buy squishy, crustless bread to make sure we could "seal" the edges. Here, in Asia, this bread is everywhere. We even managed to find the wheat version, rather than the Wonder White style that brought back memories from the 70s. According to the directions (suprisingly in English, even!), just line up the guide on the bread, fill it up with your choice of filling...

put the second piece of bread on

And it should look like this

Ummmm, ours? Not so much. They looked like this

Our poor little faceless piggy, oozing peanut butter. Tsk, tsk, tsk. No one seemed to surprised that our new Pack Sand Maker was not churning out the pristine little piggies as shown on the packaging. A family of cynics, that's us.

So, it's now sparkling clean and packed up, ready for the next second-hand sale.Or maybe a small visiting friend who wants to dig out the playdough.

And this is the lunch for tomorrow.

Maybe unsuccessful, but oh, so entertaining.


Debra said...

Hilarious --- you obviously had too much holiday time to kill. We made ginger bread houses with real rooves involving stacked lady finger biscuits (Ulker)and 2 Christmas cakes (marzipan and white icing with holly leaves) and spent a lot of time practising formation wave boarding along the Bosphorus (kids - not Dave and I - although he would have if he could even stand up on the damned thing). Same issue - ex pats abroad at Christmas - what else to do?!!

Pip said...

Very amusing. Love the step-by-step picture guide to making the defective sandwiches! The fanciest I've ever got with the kids' packed lunches is to cut the crusts off :-)

Rachel said...

Love your blog. So many interesting stories from around the world.

I just started this travel blog for women and I'm collecting photos from women travelers like you. Submit a photo of yourself in an interesting place in Istanbul or Hong Kong and some tips for other women travelers who are going there, and we'll link back to your blog.

Visit our blog: and get in touch at:

Looking forward to hearing from you,