The Fondoodler sounds like a sex toy for circus clowns, and it promises some carnal pleasure and a few laughs.
It also promises warm, gooey cheese.
After five minutes alone with the Fondoodler, a handheld machine that is able to melt cheese at the touch of a button, I knew I’d found my kitchen gadget of the year.
Its inventors, Lucas Lappe and Avi Bajpai, came up with the idea after they used a hot glue gun and wisely wondered, Why doesn’t this exist for cheese?
With the Fondoodler, I dripped melted rivulets of cheese onto anything edible—and a few things that aren’t. I personalized nachos with just the right amount of cheese and attempted to write my name in Monterey Jack. Gingerbread houses are passé with the Fondoodler in my kitchen—I’d rather eat saltine huts. In addition, this gadget helped me appreciate that melted processed cheese, aside from being delicious, has properties similar to cement.
In a year dominated by technology-heavy food gadgets, the Fondoodler stands out for its simplicity. It doesn’t need a Wi-Fi connection. There isn’t an app. It’s connected to nothing, and my Nest can’t turn it on. There is a website, but even that’s pretty basic.
The Fondoodler will be used about as often as most other kitchen drawer gadgets, such as the strawberry huller or cupcake corer, but your usage rate will increase if you have someone under the age of 17 in the house, who will get endless amounts of joy squeezing squiggles of gooey cheese onto crackers, tortilla chips, slices of salami and, inevitably, the dog.
(And believe me, this is the first thing dogs will buy when they finally evolve opposable thumbs and get Apple Pay.)
To road-test the Fondoodler, I assembled in my kitchen a group of 10-year-old testers, a couple pounds of cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar and Velveeta) and a large bag of tortilla chips.
The kids watched rapt as I stuffed the removable tube with cheese, inserted the cheese plunger and loaded the tube into the pusher. We readied the tortilla chips and let the gun warm up for the required three minutes. Then, with a few clicks of the trigger that ratchets the cheese pusher along, silky, annatto-hued strings of cheese were on their plates.
Those without joy in their lives (or deprived people on the Whole30 diet) may ask if the Fondoodler is necessary. Sure, a microwave, a stove, even a candle can make melty-melty cheese with little hassle. What these life-sucking cranks need to understand is that the Fondoodler isn’t a kitchen gadget that’s going to make your life easier, like the Cuisinart or a vegetable peeler, but it offers something 98 percent of other kitchen gadgets can’t: fun and warm cheese.
As a viscous orange blob of cheese oozed out of the nozzle, one of my testers summed up the power of this electric cheese extruder: “This is true happiness.”
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