Ohhhhh fuck you, Drew. Fuck you for even using that click-baity bullshit word in your title. Yes, reader, I am cursing myself out, because as a denizen of the internet I, like most of you, have grown to hate the word “life-hack” and all the crap that comes with it. Most of these things are either basic common sense (If you’re going to jam your dick into a live electric fence… don’t!) or so hyper specific there’s no way any of us would get use out of them (When fucking a Tesla Brand electric fence, try hacking the control box and changing the amount of current by two who-gives-a-fucks to really get that charge flowing). And that’s even assuming they work, which most don’t seem to. But screw it, I’m here, you’re here, and the title has already been posted, so I guess we’re doing this. Here are some (god damnit) life hacks I tried.
Eating a Burger
I was pretty positive that this one was going to be bullshit from the start, but the chance that it might not be was worth taking. If you enjoy a thick burger with lots of toppings, then you have experienced the disappointment of watching all that shit come tumbling out from under the bun onto your plate. And sure, we scoop it up and shove it back in, but it’s never the same, is it? This trick promised to keep the contents in the bun for the whole meal, although I had napkins on hand in case it failed.
This burger eating technique (the mere fact that I typed that phrase with sincerity means we’re doomed as a species, doesn’t it?) centers on keeping force applied equally across the buns so you’re not inadvertently shoving toppings out by pinching one section. Most people eat burgers with their thumbs on the bottom bun and the other four fingers on the top, which does a poor job of distributing force. What this hack suggests is using your thumb and pinky on the bottom bun, while the middle three fingers keep the top one in place. It gives the burger more support, the force is spread out on both buns, and… you know what, it’s a burger, I’m not getting that technical with this explanation.
For all the shit I talked in the opening paragraph, this one genuinely works pretty well. It’s not some perfect solution, you still have to be aware of what you’re doing and adjust your method as you eat, but I have to admit that I’ve put away a few burgers like this with exceptionally clean, non-lost-topping results. It works overall, although you should be prepared for your friends to mock the weird way you’re holding a burger. Also don’t make my mistake and try to explain it’s a new burger-holding technique. It doesn’t make things better, I promise.
I had a sugar free popsicle and felt pretty much the same as after a normal one, so this one seems like bullshit. Truth be told, as soon as I learned booze wasn’t on the “clean eating” scale I recognized this as the demon of Sobriety trying to fancy itself up with yet another mask. Not today, devil!
Squeeze Bottle Pancakes
Back to carbs, now this seems like more fun! And hey, who doesn’t like pancakes? Nobody that’s welcome in my goddamn house, that’s who! Ah, but to have pancakes, you must first mix up some batter, and apparently that was really kicking a lot of people in the ass. Look, I’m lazy, I get it, but good gravy, is cracking an egg into powder really that much of an ordeal? Who needs pre-made pancake batter on hand… unless you’re really hungover. Huh, and just like that, I’m back on board with this concept.
The idea here is that you whip up a bunch of pancake batter, then store it in an old (washed) ketchup or ranch bottle. You can also buy fresh bottles, if you’re some kind of normal person who doesn’t like the idea of ketchup-tainted pancakes. Once you’re ready for pancakes, you just pop open the bottle and squeeze them into the pan. Quick, easy breakfast at the drop of a hat.
Well, pick that fucking hat back up cowboy, because while it does sort of work (anyone who has actually used a ketchup bottle knows those things don’t squeeze perfectly) the bigger issue here is that prepared pancake mix doesn’t have what you might call a “long shelf life” going for it. It has things like milk and eggs in it, ingredients you might recognize as ones that turn bad after enough time. Don’t count on the batter to fix that either, they expect you to cook that shit as soon as you make it. Basically what you end up with is a bottle of pre-made batter that you’ll forget about and will rot in your fridge, because by the time you finally remember it’s there the point where it would have been useful has long since passed.
Cut Cakes With Floss
I think this one is also supposed to work on cheese, but after what happened with the cake I didn’t bother giving it another round. I’ll keep this one short, since that’s how long the idea lasted in the first place: you use unscented dental floss to cut a cake. Wrap it around; pull it tight, and poof: easily sliced cake. Yeah, this one was straight up terrible. I tested this on a cake I was already going to break down for cake balls, and it’s a good thing I didn’t have plans because the floss wrecked that bad boy. I mean it was a crumb-bath, uneven slices, trying to yank my way through the damn thing… it was just not effective in any way. Now I’ll grant you, someone could make the argument that maybe I didn’t know what I was doing and fucked up the technique, to which I would rebut that if it’s such a difficult task to master in the first place maybe the easier life hack would be just use a damn knife. I seemed to pick that skill up way back in the day, no problem.
Put Condiments in a Muffin Pan
I get it, table space is precious at a cookout, so you want to keep shit neatly contained. The idea here is to put all of your various toppings (we came back to burgers, didn’t we?) in the different containers of a muffin pan so it’s all neat and right there for someone to access. This is, eating clean included, one of the dumbest fucking ideas I tried for this blog. So many things are wrong with this “hack”, that I’m not even going to be fancy with it, I’m just going to bullet point some highlights
-Putting things like mustard and ketchup into a muffin pan only makes using them messier. They’re going from squeeze bottles to small containers with plastic knives. That slows everything down and leads to drippings.
-Speaking of slowing things down, get ready for a bottle-neck. Instead of having multiple plates and bottles people can access, there’s just one muffin pan that each person has to pick through one-by-one, building the perfect portrait of toppings to smush under a bun.
-You will run out of shit, fast. The cup of a muffin pan is not very big, so while it might hold enough of the low-rent/weird stuff like capers, there’s no way it has enough pickles, or onions, or any of the other good stuff. You’re going to be refilling constantly as one person after another drains the tiny pan, until you just give up and leave the main supply out on the table like you should have in the first place.
I could go on for at least a page more, but I think you’ve gotten the idea.
Put Bread in Tupperware
If you’ve made a baked good before, then you know there’s no moment like when it’s fresh. Warm, soft, and at the peak of flavor, there’s a reason so many batches of cookies never survive their first hour. But when you come back later, even if they were properly stored, some of that luster is gone. They’re never quite as soft or fresh, and with every bite you know you’re settling for an imitation of the true thing. Putting a piece of normal sliced bread into the Tupperware with them is supposed to prevent that. Like some sort of carbohydrate Dorian Gray painting, it turns stale while everything else remains fresh. I was, to put it lightly, skeptical about this one.
And boy, was I wrong. I genuinely couldn’t believe how well this worked. The bread turned crunchy, yet my baked goods remained soft to the touch. True, you do have to change out the bread when it becomes really dry, but other than that it functions flawlessly. For all the dumb crap I’ve read in these life hack articles, I guess I have to concede that there are a few actual gems lurking about. Just take the advice of the internet with a grain of salt.
Oh, and do me a favor, if you see me lurking around any electric fences, assume I’m working on a follow-up article and hang out for a second to make sure I don’t need to visit the hospital.