Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Eggstractor

No, It Doesn't Work Well, but It Can Still Be Fun

Is the Eggstractor and eggsellent product? Will your peeling be over easy, or will the Eggstractor leave your nerves fried and patience hard-boiled?

More likely the latter than the former. The Eggstractor doesn't live up to its promise ... but it might still be a fun gadget for some people.

The Eggstractor is featured in one of our favorite infomercials. It's a simple product - a plastic base into which a hard-cooked egg is situated; a plastic bellows (a cylinder open at one end with accordian-like sides allowing it to be pressed down) that goes over the top of the egg and rests on the base.

According to the infomercial and the instructions, the power of air pressure forces the egg out of its shell. It's supposed to pop out of its shell, which remains on the base, onto a plate placed below, all in one piece and free of shell.

The first thing a new user needs to know is this: follow the instructions exactly. If the instructions aren't followed exactly, there's no chance the Eggstractor will work properly. The egg might explode, or only the yolk may pop out, or, perhaps, nothing at all will happen. And if that's the case, it's the product with egg on its face, but the yolk's on you.

The instructions are precise: place eggs in a pan, cover with water and add a heaping teaspoon of salt; bring to boil and cook another 6-8 minutes. Pour off the hot water and run cold water over the eggs. Then place the eggs in ice water for at least 10 minutes.

To peel the egg, remove from water and tap the small end on the piercer, a small, pointed nub that is on the base of the Eggstractor. You must pierce not only the eggshell, but also the inner lining of the egg. Crack the large end of the egg on a table or counter, then place the egg, small side up, onto the base.

Place the bellows over the egg and onto the base, criss cross both hands on top of the bellows and press.

The instructional booklet says that it might take you a couple tries to get the hang of it, but that "if you follow the Eggstructions Eggsactly, you will be an Eggspert Eggstractor." Not eggsactly. But it is fun trying.

First, when they say follow the instructions exactly, they mean it. We left out salt the first few times we boiled our eggs, and the result was the same each time: Upon "eggstraction," the large end of the egg separated from the rest of the egg, leaving most of the egg peeled but without a top.

We finally realized we were leaving out a step and started using salt. The results improved. But we were never able to get an egg to pop out completely free of shell. All eggs we tried - and we tried many - had at least a little shell remaining on the large end of the egg.

There are other drawbacks to the Eggstractor. Foremost is that there are some people who, because of physical limitations, won't be able to get it to work at all.

We were surprised at just how much force is required to depress the bellows, popping out the egg. We asked our missus to give it a shot, and it took her three tries before she could make it work. We feel that many women and many elderly folks would have a lot of trouble making the Eggstractor work at any level of efficiency, much less peak efficiency.

So why did we say we'd still recommend it in some cases? Well, because it's fun. It makes loud whooshing and popping noises that kids (and overgrown kids) are likely to think are fun. And who wants to peel an egg? Our missus said she could have completely peeled an egg the old-fashioned way in the time it took her to get the Eggstractor to work. But she's a girl. Girls know what they're doing.

Boys, and men who still behave like boys, will get a kick out of the Eggstractor, whether it works well for them or not.

So if you find it at a cheap price, perhaps in a bargain bin or on clearance, it's worth a few bucks to get a few kicks.

The Eggstractor's instructional booklet contains dozens of egg-based recipes, some of which looked quite tasty. It also comes with an egg slicer as a bonus. And as egg slicers go, it was pretty nice.

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