Bluff The Listener



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Our panelists tell us three stories of a kitchen appliance used in a new way, only one of which is true.

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CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell, and here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl. Thank you so much.


SAGAL: We are all about food today. It's like a WAIT WAIT version of "Iron Chef" except the surprise ingredient is a bunch of old episodes.


KASELL: Our task: chop them up and season them until they're bursting with juicy flavor.

SAGAL: We're going to start with a Bluff the Listener story we did in July of 2011, while doing our show at the San Francisco Memorial Opera House.

Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

LORI SPIVACK: Hi. This is Lori from Seattle.

SAGAL: Hey, Lori, gee.


SPIVACK: I'm so excited.

SAGAL: You sound it, and that's great. What do you do in Seattle?

SPIVACK: I own a graffiti removal business.

SAGAL: No wonder you're so happy.

SPIVACK: Oh yeah.


FAITH SALIE: Lori, I feel like your general positive attitude could make graffiti go away.


SAGAL: She'd just smile it off. Lori, welcome to the show. Now, you're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Lori's topic?

KASELL: I know, let's try it with the spatula.

SAGAL: Who says frying pans are just for frying things. Buy two and you've got an excellent set of cymbals. Our panelists are going to read you three stories about everyday kitchen objects finding a new calling as something non-kitchen related. Guess the true story; you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine. First up, let's hear from Faith Salie.

SALIE: Serious chefs know that pizza stones make great crust. Now serious car buyers in Buffalo, New York know that pizza stones make hot buns. That's right; one dealership is offering a free heated seat option by giving away pizza stones to sit on.

Frank Soriano, owner of Soriano Wheels, got the idea last winter when his mother Angela sent him to his sister's with a hot pizza stone. Soriano says, "I was freezing, so I decided to wrap it in a blanket and sit on it. My butt was in heaven." Soriano says his daughter particularly enjoys the pizza seat, as she calls it, after swim practice. Sometimes we hear her sizzle, but it doesn't hurt.


SAGAL: Pizza stones, given away as seat warmers for cars.


SAGAL: Your next story of someone getting creative in the kitchen comes from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: The Nutritious Massage in Ojai, California provides a massage that is also delicious. The client lies on a table while a fruit smoothie is skillfully prepared on top of them. "It sounds crazy, I know," says founder Janet Pelham, "but when you think about it, what better tool than a potato masher to ease tight muscles?"

With the use of a mallet, rolling pin, wire whisk, ladle and even some unexpected kitchen utensils, the massage therapist, working the speed and precision of a sushi chef, crushes, squeezes and chops a combination of fruits selected from a menu, by the client, directly on their bare skin.


POUNDSTONE: "I'm hooked," claims regular client Mary Carter. "I can never decide if I should get the fruit I'd love to drink in the smoothie, or the fruit that feels good. The blueberries sometimes almost kind of pop and then the pressure is like a jolt. I don't really like to drink watermelon juice, but when she rolls it on my back, it's good deep tissue."



SAGAL: Smoothies as massage in Ojai. Your last story of a new use for a common cooking implement comes from Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: People always look a little strange in their driver's license photos. Their eyes are closed. Their smile is too broad. But Mr. Nico Alm of Austria looks a bit off in his photo because he's wearing a pasta strainer on his head.


GROSZ: Mr. Alm isn't donning this comical headgear because he showed up at the DMV after a night of wild, yet efficient, Austrian debauchery.


GROSZ: He's doing it for his faith. A recent Austrian law states headwear is only allowed in official documents for religious reasons. So Mr. Alm lightheartedly told officials he wanted to wear the pasta strainer for his photo because he is a devout and committed member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, who refer to themselves as Pastafarians.


GROSZ: Austrian officials, never ones to pass up an opportunity to not get a joke, have allowed his driver's license photo to stand. Now Mr. Alm wants Pastafarianism to become an officially recognized faith in Austria. And, judging by Austria's history of tolerating different religions, he should be just fine.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Lori, here are your choices. Somewhere somebody is using a kitchen utensil in an odd way. Is it from Faith Salie, pizza stones to warm the seats of cars? From Paula, potato mashers and all kinds of other things used to make smoothies on the back of massage clients in southern California? And, from Peter Grosz, a colander used as religious headwear, officially now in Austria, for Pastafarians? Which of these is the real story of kitchen utensils in the news?

SPIVACK: Are Austrians really that funny?



SPIVACK: I've been Ojai, California.

SAGAL: Yeah.

SPIVACK: I actually got a massage there too, but it wasn't with fruit, it was mud.

SAGAL: Oh, that's tasty.

SPIVACK: So I think that has to be it.

SAGAL: You're going to choose Paula's story because you believe people down in Ojai are paying to have smoothies made on their backs.

SPIVACK: Yes, and because I love Paula.

SAGAL: Well that's very nice.

POUNDSTONE: Well that's certainly a legitimate reason in my book.

SAGAL: All right, well your choice then is Paula's story. All right, well we spoke to somebody familiar with this true story.

ESME NICHOLSON: Nico Alm's choice of somewhat unorthodox headgear is a requirement of his religion Pastafarianism.



SAGAL: That was Esme Nicholson; she's a producer at NPR's Germany and Austria Bureau, talking about the Pastafarian who got his headwear, his colander, officially recognized. I'm so sorry, Lori, but in fact as you now know, your affection for Paula has led you astray.


SAGAL: As it has so many, Paula.


SAGAL: All those brokenhearted people. Peter Grosz had the true story. However, Paula does get a point for seducing you with her loveliness.

POUNDSTONE: Thank you, Lori.


SAGAL: So, thank you so much for playing.

SPIVACK: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


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