Call me crazy, but I'm wary of products that are marketed "as seen on TV." Sure, the Magic Bullet looks pretty tempting at 2 a.m., but I've never actually made the plunge and picked up the phone to order. Perhaps someone was hoping to convert me. One recent day, the Prep N' Pop arrived in the mail. This contraption, which looks like a distant relative of a bike pump, promises to help secure foods while prepping them, thereby making peeling, chopping, and slicing easier, quicker, and safer. Did it completely overhaul my kitchen prep process? To find out, head right this way.
This product, which retails for $16.50, isn't available in stores, but can be purchased via home shopping channel QVC. I used the plastic-and-steel tool while making dinner on a range of fruits and vegetables from onions to apples to potatoes. The Prep N' Pop came with instructions, but it was fairly self-explanatory. It's a simple concept, with a trio of tines for piercing food, a loop for grasping onto the other end with your hands, and a spring in the middle to release the fruit, vegetable, or meat base when you're finished prepping it.
- Because the kitchen tool is designed to hold and secure foods that are difficult to handle, it comes in handy when peeling slippery, easy-to-stain beets, or awkwardly-shaped vegetables (such as corn) right out of the steamer. And the "popping" part is pretty fun!
- The appliance is designed to release foods with the push of a button, so you can peel easy-to-stain vegetables like beets without having to ever touch them. But what about the portion of produce that's obscured at the base? There's no way to properly peel that without removing it from the Prep N' Pop with your hands.
- The same goes for the Prep N' Pop's promise of hands-free onion chopping. What happens when the layers of onion naturally separate? When I attempted to dice an onion using the tool, all I was left with was a heaping mess of unevenly-cut onion pieces.
In summary: As much as I wanted to like the Prep N' Pop, it's simply unnecessary. If you consume a lot of cooked corn on the cob, it might be worth the price. But to flip or slice meat, you're better off using a fork. For those who loathe peeling beets or chopping onions, reach for gloves, and use an anti-odor soap afterward. Hoping to chop faster? Just keep at those knife skills — practice makes perfect.