Thursday, May 1

Smoothie, Schmoothie

While sitting in my doctor's' waiting room last week I happened to pick up an issue of  MyInternetWebDoctor magazine. Dr. Jake is a camper and hunter, so this issue lurked among other publications with titles such as Outdoor Rx and Field and Stream and Autoimmune Diseases, along with a well-thumbed copy of a book called  Off My Meds: A Journey Alone.

I wouldn't call this issue of MyInternetWebDoctor a recent issue (unless they haven't published anything since 2012) but since it was a magazine with which I was unfamiliar I thought I'd give it a browse.

Inside there was a very compelling article about the myriad common, everyday items that could kill you in an instant, and another about how coffee can both cause and cure cancer. But the one I found most interesting was an excellent story about food preparation devices, primarily because it included a stunning photograph a rather muscular smoothie making machine standing next to the elegantly attractive blended concoction it had wrought. The two of them together looked like a pair of Hollywood stars standing on a red carpet at some obscure, food preparation device awards program.

Let me digress for a moment to say that one of the things I most admire about us Americans is our unique ability to find names for things that don't have names. A "smoothie" might have been called a "squash-ie" or a "mush-ie" but "smoothie" just seems so appropriate and I have to give kudos to whoever thought it up.

My first stop after leaving the doctor's office was the local appliance store and soon I was hurrying home with visions of frothy healthful mixtures in my head.

"Look," I proudly said to my wife as I walked into the kitchen holding up my treasure.

"What't that?" she asked, looking up from her book. "A blender?"

"It happens to be a smoothie maker," I instructed. Then added, in case she didn't quite understand the technology involved, "It's for making smoothies."

"Hmmm. Thanks for explaining that."

 I quickly un-boxed the instrument, glanced briefly at the instructions which were much too complicated and loaded with warnings, and dove right in to making my first smoothie.

I quickly filled the blending vessel with yogurt, strawberries, and ice cubes.

"I think you're supposed to use crushed ice," my wife said helpfully. "Did you read the instructions?"

"I think I know how to make a smoothie, dear," I replied, "and these cubes are pretty small . More like cube-etts, really."

"I don't believe I've ever heard of cube-etts," she said, "but it's your blender."

"Smoothie maker," I muttered as I pressed the "Go" button.

There was a brief whirring sound, followed by a harsh grinding sound, followed by a very long silence sound. I pushed the "Go" button a few more times, but it was clear that the device was no longer functional.

"Sounds like you might have to return it," my wife noted.

Apparently she had forgotten that I do not come from a people who are returners. If, for example, we are in a restaurant and something is brought to our table that we did not order, we just eat it. I once saw my mother eat a children's platter of macaroni and cheese when she had actually ordered a chef salad because, as she put it, "I don't want to make a scene."

So the idea of returning a smoothie maker which I very well may have caused to malfunction was not exactly in my comfort zone. Still, it was painfully clear that something had gone wrong and steps had to be taken.

When I got back to the store I managed to track down the salesman who had sold me the mechanism of betrayal, a man named Dale.

"Dale!" I said heartily, "I have a little problem here."

"What, with the blender?" he said.

"Smoothie maker," I said. "It just stopped working. I'm thinking it may be defective or something."

"Let's have a look." He took it from me, glanced inside the glass container, shook it a couple of times, and said, "Has someone been putting ice cubes in this?"

"Ice cubes?!" I exclaimed incredulously. "Of course not."

He looked again, more carefully. "How about cube-etts?"



It turns out the smoothie got it's name in the 1960's from the California Smoothie Company. The California Smoothie Company is located in Paramus, New Jersey.

No word yet on who invented the cube-ett.

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