The holidays are a stressful time for most people, largely because families are a stressful thing for most people. All the people who share some of your chromosomes and often drive you crazy come together, force you to dress up, act polite, and answer the same questions about how school’s going dozens of times. Through it all, you’re torn between your two best entertainment options: watching your cousin play video games or trying to figure out how old that great-great-something–or-other slumped over in the corner is.
When it comes to holiday gatherings, it seems the only respite we get from the awkwardness and anxiety is food. So if your relatives have put you under enough stress leading up to that day, relieve some tension with whimsy (or revenge) in mind. Here are food-related-event-preparing gadgets, sorted by what kind of weird relative would be most apt to use them.
For your nerdy cousin
Edge Baking Pan, OMGWTFBBQ Apron, PC Toaster Bay and Handheld Germ-Eliminating Light
We all have some mega-dorks in the family bloodline. LARPers, mouth-breathers, techies and anyone voluntarily majoring in math sneak into your gene pool. These gadgets will satiate their weird obsessions and produce something you can both enjoy together. First, put all their unnecessary chemistry knowledge to use with the Edge Baking Pan ($39.95), designed to use conductive heat to make every brownie a perfect edge piece. Or, humor them (or entice them to leave the computer for long enough to cook you something) with the OMGWTFBBQ apron ($14.99) and hope to score some l33t baked goods, or keep it simple and let them whip up a grilled cheese (and blog about it) with the PC Toaster Bay ($29.99). Then, for your after-cooking cleanup, simplify things with the Handheld Germ-Eliminating Light ($79.95), which employs technology I didn’t know we had yet. Rather than cleaning your kitchen/counter/utensils, you can use UV light to sterilize everything. Just be sure you don’t make each other radioactive or something.
For the weird, macabre, or goth uncle (who surely married into the family)
Anyone with an interest in the bizarre, including that slightly left-of-center uncle of yours, would appreciate Fetal Bites. No fetuses are harmed in the making of these cookies; it’s simply a cookie cutter in the shape of curled up little pre-baby. Most people don’t have very discriminating tastes about cookie shapes, but this one might just be extreme enough to make sure there will be enough passed over in the course of a family meal for the slightly wacky in-laws to enjoy. Plus, the decorating opportunities are endless. Shudder.
For your aunt, the divorcee
Nothing makes family gatherings more exciting than that spiteful, disillusioned cynic who spent all of last year whining about her husband and will spend this year, buzzed, ranting to you about never trusting a man. My instinct is usually to keep her away from sharp objects whenever possible, but perhaps she can put that pent-up frustration to good use in the kitchen with The Ex ($69.99), a knife holder shaped like a person. Set this baby somewhere prominent and make sure no one slips up and asks when Uncle Billy is showing up.
For your meathead big brother
The Jumbo Jerky Works Gun
The term “meathead” usually refers exclusively to a value of sports knowledge over actual knowledge, but in my unavoidable encounters with these characters, I’ve found that there lies an inextricable link between this personality trait and rampant carnivorous urges. This is the only type of person I could imagine would be able to make any use of the Jumbo Jerky Works Gun ($19.99), which looks like a caulk gun but instead spews long lines of seasoned meat, perhaps the perfect snack for Thanksgiving day football.
For your anal-retentive grandmother
The Condiment Fork and Frozen Smiles Ice Tray
Some grandmas are badasses. Some grandmas are comically old. And then there’s the TYPICAL grandma, who loves order and tidiness almost as much as she loves lace doilies. The woman probably has a heart condition, so make her life a little easier with the most anally-retentive (and of course, low-tech) meal-preparing tools possible. If she’s making jams, allow her the simple order afforded by the Condiment Fork ($6.00), allowing different toppings to have their own, paired serving utensil (we all know how much they love matching). Or make her feel really at home with ice shaped like dentures ($10.00).