"I sometimes wonder whether the people who design things ever get to use them. I often feel this way about magazines and books." File picture.
I sometimes wonder whether the people who design things ever get to use them. I often feel this way about magazines and books. It’s trendy to design pages of black print on a grey background, for example, which might make a pretty pattern, but is hard to read.

Sometimes the layout artists decide to use white type on a yellow background. This might be pretty and legible to people with excellent eyesight, but to myopic readers it’s just a blob of yellow. They might as well have left out the print and saved the writer’s fee.

Somebody gave me a sort of cushion intended to save electricity in the kitchen. You’re supposed to bring your pot of stew, or soup, to the boil, then switch off the stove, place the cushion on top of the pot and leave it to cook slowly in its own stored heat.

It’s an ingenious idea, apart from the fact that all saucepans have a handle in the middle of the lid. The result is a pretty cushion that sits far above the actual pot lid and allows cold air to circulate between the lid and the cushion.

If the cushion had an indentation in the middle it would fit the pot snugly. Luckily the device is a convenient size to use as a missile when I want to stop my cats shredding my furniture. It goes whizzing through the air in a threatening manner and is too soft to hurt the cat.

Maybe by the time the cats have finished savaging the cushion, it will have developed a suitable indentation to accommodate a pot handle.

Then there’s the matter of recipe books that don’t lie flat when they’re in use. I have one or two cookbooks that have to be held open for reading.

If you are familiar with kitchen drama you will know there are times when both the cook’s hands are coated in pastry dough or dripping with marinade. This is the time you need to consult the recipe book to remind yourself whether you need one egg or two. But the book has snapped shut, so you either have to go to wash your hands or guess the quantities.

Publishers should forget about printing in cabbage green on a tasteful background of pumpkin yellow. Some cooks actually read.

Last Laugh

A woman sat in the doctor’s waiting room while her husband was having a medical examination.

Eventually the doctor appeared and and said quietly to the woman: “Mrs Bloggs, I’m afraid I don’t like the look of your husband.”

“Neither do I,” she said, “but he’s quite good at doing odd jobs round the house.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus