If you are a regular Topless Robot reader, then the chances are that your house is full of action figures, comics, DVDs and Blu-rays and video game systems. That’s not nearly nerdy enough. Part of the benefits that come from living in our current geek golden age is that every inch of your living space can be filled up with reminders of your various pop culture interests if you choose to do so.
Thanks to companies like ThinkGeek and, unbelievably enough, Williams-Sonoma, areas like kitchens that used to be nerd-free zones with the exception of the occasional Great Muppet Caper glass or McDonaldland plate are now just as full of goofy crap as the rest of your home. Again, we live in a glorious time. So for today’s Daily List, we’re going to look at a variety of products that you can use to make your meal prep more fun… as well as shamefully dorky. Head to the kitchen and take a gander at the 10 very nerdy cooking accessories.
10) Super Heroes Cake Pan Set
Over the decades, Wilton has dominated the cake pan industry — yes, there is such a thing — due to their licensing of characters ranging from Darth Vader to Cathy (with the latter’s cakes responsible for more depression than Joy Division’s entire discography). In fact, Wilton’s cake pan output could probably merit a Daily List of their own. But for today’s purposes we’ll be focusing on this release from the 1970s (occasionally available on eBay) that can be used to make either a Superman or a Batman cake. Because the mold is the same for both characters, the differentiation between the pair is made through icing techniques and the use of Mr. Potato Head-esque plastic parts that are placed directly into the cake. This is actually really creepy. One can only image how many birthday parties were ended abruptly due to children screaming at the sight of a decapitated Superman or Batman lying on a plate of crumbs.
9) Pac-Man HotHeads Oven Mitt
Those with chronic Pac-Man fever may want to seek out this potholder the next time they go to cook a roast or bake some homemade power pellets. Released by the pop culture/kitchen goods masher-uppers over at Fred, this potholder seems a tad cumbersome to actually be used practically (not to mention that if your oven is hotter than 450 it might melt and fill your kitchen with the stench of burning silicon and a tinge of sadness). Still, it certainly looks great and if worst comes to worst you could use it to put on an impromptu Pac-Man puppet show while waiting for your pizza rolls to finish.
8) Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Toast Rack
At sci-fi cons in the 1990s, the roster of events would often include an inexplicable performance by a comedian whose entire act consisted of lame genre-based jokes. It’s high time that this bizarre feature is brought back to the convention circuit. Not because I have a hankering for Seasquest DSV jokes, but because it would be immensely entertaining to see some hack mash-up Jeff Foxworthy and Harry Potter to do a bunch of “you might be a Hufflepuff if” gags. For example: If you spend $25 to buy a chrome replica of the Hogwarts Express that exists only to hold toast, you might be a Hufflepuff. Yep folks, there’s an expensive Harry Potter toast rack out there (on eBay, specifically) just waiting for you to fill your empty life with. After all, toast tastes just that much better when it’s flavored by tears.
7) Nerdbaiting Ice Cube Trays
When did ice cubes get so awesome? These days it seems like any self-respecting nerd’s freezer isn’t complete without at least one novelty ice cube tray. The picture above gives you a sampling of just some of the geeky frozen water delivery systems that are available to you right now (you can order trust me, these are just the tip of the, er, iceberg). Especially memorable is the Lego Minifigure ice cube tray which exists purely to facilitate the slaughter of tiny little ice men. Spectacular. Silicon trays like the ones featured here tend to pick up smells from the refrigerator/freezer and transfer it to the ice. If you are the sort of person who tends to be lax on his fridge cleaning, it’s probably best to take a pass on these.
6) Superhero Aprons
It’s a scientific fact that food is more flavorful when role-playing is involved in its preparation. Okay that’s a silly lie. Still, you have to admit that there isn’t a more stylish way to keep cooking grease off of your clothes than with one of the above superhero aprons (well, maybe with these sexy Star Wars aprons, but then you’d probably never get any baking done). There’s way more options available than just the ones you see here, so discovering which apron is appropriate for you might be a bit tricky. As someone who has read The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook, I’d have to recommend that you go with the Spidey one. The dude makes an absolutely killer vanilla cheesecake.
Available in red or white, this 1950s B-movie inspired robot has a hidden ability — to measure your recipe ingredients. Suck it, Optimus. Sold online by Kikkerland Design, Robocup here separates into measuring cups that make him the coolest pseudo-Transformer that will ever grace your kitchen. The cost for this one? $10 measly dollars. You shelled out to see the Bayformers flicks, so you can definitely pick one of these up to give some retro flair to your cooking space.
4) Battlestar Galactica Toaster
Further validating mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Liebniz’s theory that we live in the best of all possible worlds is how nerd-themed toasters are now an entire collectibles industry of their own. Unbelievable. Everyone from Darth Vader to Hello Kitty now has their own toaster available, just waiting to give you heated bread emblazoned with their image on it. The best of these shamelessly geeky toasters is the Battlestar Galactica one you see above. Originally offered at the height of the show’s popularity through the NBC Universal Store’s website for a mere $90, these are now tougher to find than a satisfying ending to the series itself. Zing! There were only 2,000 of these bad boys initially offered – clearly NBC underestimated the demand for toasters that use LED lighting to bring the universe’s most feared killbots to your breakfast table. The good news is that with enough patience one will probably turn up on eBay (just don’t confuse this one with the lesser Caprica model that is currently flooding the auction site’s listings).
3) Star Wars Heroes and Villains Pancake Molds
By now you’ve probably realized that although most of the stuff on this list is cool, it isn’t exactly necessary to own in order to prepare and enjoy your meals. Here’s the exception to this rule. Available at Williams-Sonoma (which also sells Star Wars cookie cutters and sandwich shapers that come packaged in a vintage lunchbox replica), these molds allow you to eat characters and vehicles from the saga. I’m amazed that International House of Pancakes is still in business since these things came out. Seriously, why would anyone ever willingly ingest standard flapjacks when there was a Yoda option available? Mmm, Force-licious. And you can’t have pancakes without spatulas…
2) Marvel Comics Spatulas
Another example of Williams-Sonoma’s commitment to being the hub for nerdy kitchen doodads is their terrific spatulas inspired by Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk. Because these retail for $15 a pop, these are just for Marvel diehards. Which raises a bigger question about these novelty kitchen items in general — how often are they actual used? Do any of you have a Spidey spatula stained with chicken grease or melted cheddar from grilled cheese sandwiches past? Ultimately I guess it doesn’t matter too much how often they are utilized when they look this cool. So get yourself some, if not for personal use then as a silent reminder that your nerdery has infiltrated every part of your home.
1) Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter
Once every generation a product comes along that changes everything and seems so obvious that you can’t believe no one thought of it before. This isn’t one of those times. Unless of course your life revolves around Star Trek and pizza (and believe me, there is nothing wrong with that). In that case, this Enterprise-shaped pizza cutter is nothing less than a kitchenware game changer. A word of warning however if you are thinking about buying this, high cholesterol is a hell of a lot easier to fix in the 23rd century than it is now. So just use some self-control, okay?
Chris Cummins is a pop culture writer and Archie comics historian who has contributed to The Robot's Voice, Den of Geek US, Philebrity, Geekadelphia, Uproxx, and Unicorn Booty. He is the co-producer and co-host of Nerd Nite Philadelphia, and is regularly involved in producing and hosting New York Super Week events. In 2014, Chris began Sci-Fi Explosion, a mix of live performance, trivia and funny clips celebrating the weirdest in science fiction that regularly travels around the United States. He wrote the introductions to the compilations Archie's Favorite Comics From The Vault and (with Paul Castiglia) Archie's Favorite High School Stories. You can find Chris on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.