Friday, February 10, 2012

Tubular Food And Its Disadvantages

When I am Grand Vizier of Creation, things will be different. Not necessarily better. But certainly different.

There will be blood.

Among the first to go up against the wall will be the packaging genius who devised the tubes that ready-made dough comes in.

You know these tubes. They’re all blue, for one thing – the original company that came out with them made them blue, so all the knock-offs make them blue. They range from six to ten inches long and 1.5 to three inches in diameter. Inside there can be anything from pizza crusts to cinnamon rolls.

And they are wrapped in paper.

Theoretically, you pull on a tab way up at the top of the tube, peel the paper back to reveal a seam in the cardboard tube, press on the seam and – POP! – out comes your dough, ready to be spread or arranged or whatever it is you were planning to do with unbaked dough and please do NOT leave me any further suggestions for use in the comments as I sincerely wish to sleep soundly tonight.

In practice, however, it always turns out differently. And this makes me channel my inner Andy Rooney, which is yet another reason why it is a good thing I have a blog, since otherwise I would be ranting and raving out on the streets about this stuff and then either large men in white suits would take me away to a place that hands out medication by the funnel-full or smaller men in blue suits would make me run for office, neither of which counts as a good time in my book. People expect this sort of thing on a blog, though. And since I rarely post cat pictures, this is what I’ve got.

You’re welcome.

In practice the first thing that happens is that the paper rips into tiny shreds, leaving you with no tab and an unopened tube of dough. At that point you have three options. The unsatisfying but likely more proper option is to pick slowly at the remaining paper until such time as the seam is revealed. The more satisfying and crudely effective method is to stab the tube with a sharp object as if you were a new nurse at the blood bank until you locate the seam, leaving the tube bruised and leaking and full of holes but your mission accomplished. The way more satisfying but generally counterproductive method is to beat the tube with a mallet until it and everything within a three-foot radius has to be scraped into the trash can and you go out for fast food because by now dinner is very late and you are starving and you would gladly eat a bucket of lard on a bun (“I’ll have a Number 4 with a Diet Coke, please”) and eventually you do this often enough to die of poor nutrition but you die with a smile because dammit you taught that freaking tube a lesson.

But let us assume that you have chosen either options A (paper) or B (sharp object) rather than the more satisfying C (mallet). You then press on the seam. Nothing happens. You press again, harder this time. Still nothing happens. You grip the tube with both hands, imagine that it is the neck of the troll who made fifth grade such a misery for you, and squeeze.

There follows a gelatinous roar.

Eventually the air clears, revealing a scene worthy of a Roadrunner cartoon with you in the Wile E. Coyote role, standing there amid total devastation with a quizzical expression on your face and your hands holding a tube-shaped piece of empty space.

There follows a prolonged internal debate regarding whether it would be more cost effective to hose down your entire kitchen or simply move to a new house. Eventually you decide that you do not care.

Nobody has ever, in the history of the world, actually consumed the contents of one of those tubes. For all I know they’ve stopped even putting actual food in them and simply fill them up with sticky foam for you to scrape off of whatever surface it lands on when you’re done with them.

When I am Grand Vizier, things will be different.


John the Scientist said...

Dude, your wife's a chemist. We open hard-to-handle, often times explosive, containers all the time. Why the hell are YOU dealing with this? :p

While I share your frustration with the pull tab detaching before doing its duty, I'm generally able to get the thing open with one stab of the butter knife. Perhaps you need to take some lessons from your hunting friends? Opening one of these tubes is a piece of cake compared to gutting a deer without slitting the intestines. Besides, I want to hear the horror stories. :D

Speaking of horror stories, next time you're in NY, we'll have to go visit the Asian Grocery so I can show you the stuff I have lines up after Janiece and Anne respond to Nathan's and my last "gifts" to them.

Nathan said...

Mmmmmmm! Could you imagine if duck tongues and bull pizzles came in exploding blue tubes?

This is an absolute WINNER of an idea!

David said...

@John - one of the joys of being underemployed is that things like shopping and cooking end up in my court. Mostly I like it. I can open them with a knife, and occasionally with just the paper, but sometimes I want to drag out the mallet and go to town on them.

That would be an interesting expedition, next time I'm in NYC - I'll look forward to it. :)

@Nathan - I can imagine it. And now I need to lie down. ;)

Random Michelle K said...

Pshaw. I know what the real problem is.




hank_marvin said...

Your post is amusing. I've never come across that sort of packaging in the UK. I can understand what you mean though. We have a lot of plastic wrapped stuff which can take an age to get in to and more than likely ends up with blood everywhere after using a knife and inevitably failing.

John the Scientist said...

Michelle, when you have kids and a tight schedule, you will try all sorts of stuff that's not supposed to happen in real, civilized life. Pizza and rodents aren't supposed to mix either, which is one of the reasons Chuck-E-Cheese sells beer. (Says the guy with 2 elementary aged kids who still has never set foot in one [knock wood]).

David said...

@Hank - Welcome to 4Q10D! And count your blessings that those tubes have not migrated to the UK. They are evil.

Those foods don't belong in tubes, but John is absolutely correct that you find yourself doing a lot of food-related things with kids that you never thought you would stoop to back when you had time of your own (bagged salad? seriously?).

My daughters went through their Chuck-E-Cheese phase and have now outgrown it, thankfully. I would amuse myself by looking at the rat-related artwork on the walls, especially the one designed by someone with no knowledge of baseball and/or statistics - it was a magazine cover with the rat holding a bat and a big headline about how he was "Batting .100!"

Lawsey, that's only halfway to the Mendoza Line.

John the Scientist said...

Well, from what I hear, the pizza is only batting .100. So maybe it was an honest artist with a sly sense of humor?

beatrice in Paris said...

I laughed until I cried. Thanks for sharing.

Tom said...

David, I'm sorry you have such trouble with a particular modern labor-saving device. I, myself, love Great Big cinnamon rolls, with lots of gooey icing, which happen to come in packaging such as you describe. I have to date never had problems opening said packaging, and have always been successful in producing scrumptious edibles from such.

It would seem you should start teaching others how to open such packaging, because, you know what they say, "Those who can, do..."

(evil grin)

David said...

@Bea - you're welcome!

@Tom - what do you think this post was doing? There are three methods for opening those tubes: A) paper, B) sharp object, and C) mallet. Get with the program! ;)

Kim can't believe my difficulties with these things either. What can I say? The material world and I have ... issues.

Rufus Dogg said...

There is a special room in Hell for food packaging designers! Milk cartons that have those plastic tabs, "resealable" bags of shredded cheese and other such crap, plastic bags for steam-able vegetables, bacon packaging, those foil packs of cream cheese and my all-time favorite, the plastic caps on 20 oz soda bottles... When did they get smaller and tighter??? They must pay passively aggressive recovering Catholics extra to crank down on them. Half the time, I have to get a pair of channel locks from the tool chest to open them; the other half I live with the bloody, scarred palms.

Ok, done ranting. Like you, I'd better stop before the men in the white coats or black SUVs come calling. When I'm next in WI, let's share some cheese curds. You can open the bag :-)

David said...

I have a pair of channel locks in my kitchen for just such a purpose, actually. I thought it was just me.

Next time you come through Wisconsin, drop me an email at the address on the left side of the blog. I'll provide cheese curds and a pair of garden shears. :)

Mike said...

Now I remember why I hate these tubes and have stopped using them altogether. Thank you.