'Tis the season for silly ideas

I couldn’t help but notice in December that my WTF? file of silly ideas was getting fuller.

The first, of course, was when we received an e-mail from our dental group alerting us that we had not used all of our dental insurance benefits for the year and advising that there was still time to make an appointment. “Wow!” I said to myself, “I think I’ll go get a laser curettage under anesthesia!”

Unused dental benefits are not like CVS Extra Bucks which reward you for being a regular customer by giving you coupons you can spend in the store for stuff that would actually bring you pleasure. A minor detail is that our insurance only pays up to 50 percent of any dental procedure, so to take advantage of those benefits would actually cost us money (never mind pain).

But silly went into even higher gear when I went to buy more twinkly colored LED lights for our Christmas tree. We’d tried a string of mini LED lights last year and liked them. As it turns out, we are in the minority in wanting lights that twinkle. How can this be? Who wouldn’t want their Christmas tree lights to twinkle? But Meanley’s pointed out that Sylvania’s mini LED twinkle lights are now called “TwinkleTech” and each string comes with a little remote.

I submit that if there is one thing that no house in America needs more of, it’s remotes. Never mind little teeny remotes that easily get lost and are a suitable size to be considered a comestible by one’s dog. I’ve written before about “feature creep,” but this is feature creep run amok. We’re hoping that Sylvania will come to their corporate senses about this, especially after all the nasty letters I plan to write to them under different pseudonyms.

But silly went into overdrive when I was watching a video of Thanksgiving hacks (useful hints) on my favorite YouTube channel. Not surprisingly, most of the hacks were genuinely useful, for example, making your mashed potatoes early and keeping them warm in your crockpot. But then they went off the deep end by suggesting cooking asparagus in a mason jar filled with water and spices in the top rack of your dishwasher.

This just seemed wrong on so many levels. From a practical point of view, my dishwasher takes two hours and nine minutes to run a full cycle. So are the guests sitting around the table starving waiting for the dry cycle in finish? It definitely gets points for novelty and it’s hardly the craziest hack you’ll see on the Internet. But this wonderful site is known for actually helpful hints, this not being one of them.

But then I thought, maybe I’m the one not thinking outside the appliance carton. What about cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner in the dishwasher? This is a throw down, YouTube ladies. I mean, our ancestors cooked over open hearths with far less temperature control than a KitchenAid Power Scrub. The way I envision it is that you put your turkey in one of those oven bags (maybe three oven bags) with some veggies and seasonings and set it on the bottom rack. Your Idaho potatoes could go on the top rack.

Then just keep running the dishwasher for as many cycles as it takes. You may have to start a day early depending on the size of your turkey. Basically you’d get the benefit of slow-cooked steaming from the wash cycles which might produce a really moist bird in combination with crispy skin from the dry cycles. The unknown variable is how the turkey would fare going through a wet-dry cycle about 15 times. Still, I fully expect Bobby Flay to be making a turkey this way next year.

Now, I did say dishwasher, but I honestly don’t see any reason why other non-traditional appliances couldn’t be used as well, like your dryer. So I was thinking that you could mash those potatoes you cooked in the cup rack by plopping them into a Ziplock bag with a ton of butter and thwacking the s*#! out of them on the blanket cycle. Lumps would never survive.

Better yet, if you have one of those fluff features, it would continue to toss them around every 45 seconds until dinner is ready. No need for that crockpot!

Alternatively, if you have a sweater rack for your dryer, you could probably cook one of those sweet potato casseroles on it. Make sure the dish is covered. You would not want those little marshmallows in the lint filter.

So, at this point, I still think the dental insurance idea and the twinkly light remotes were pretty idiotic, but maybe the YouTube ladies were on to something. Could cooking Thanksgiving dinner in your non-cooking appliances be that crazy? After all, someone first thought of Turducken.

— Inga’s lighthearted looks at life appear regularly in La Jolla Light. Reach her at inga47@san.rr.com

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