August in Singapore doesn’t mean as much as in the west. Equatorial living means that it’s hot and muggy, with humidity in the 80+ percentile, just like every other month in the tropics. What August does bring is two critical events in the Paleoporean household; the anniversary of our wedding, and Mrs. Paleoporean’s birthday.
Being that I tend to fall flat in terms of gift giving – I can never think of anything good enough, Mrs. P has simple but very specific tastes, and since we spend so much time together outside of work, sneaking off to get something incognito is a huge undertaking, I was determined this birthday to really knock her on her ass with the unadulterated power of a truly amazing gift.
Enter the Sous Vide Supreme Demi. If you aren’t aware of sous vide cooking, it is a method of preparing food where you vacuum seal said food, usually meat, in specially made plastic bags, then submerging them in a moderately hot, temperature controlled water bath for up to 48 hours. Long story slightly less long, you don’t break down the proteins, and the food comes out perfectly, evenly, majestically delicious. Complex flavours explode in your mouth like gastronomical fireworks.
Mrs. P has been drooling over the luxurious look of food porn worthy steak, chops, chicken and other sous vide-able animal parts for many, many months. We’ve visited local suppliers to gaze at the machine, ogled lustfully at the various sous vide paraphernalia with all the longing of hormone stricken teenagers and discussed the options a multitude of times. Unfortunatly, as with all things in Singapore, that shit is freaking expensive. In Canada, a basic model Sous Vide Supreme Demi will run you around $400.00CND. In Singapore, they cost in excess of $1000.00SGD.
Thinking I’d be a smarty-pants, I carefully sourced a Canadian supplier that would ship to Singapore, enlisted my always helpful mother to use her credit card as they wouldn’t accept my local Citibank card, and used the fastest, and therefore most expensive shipping option. I was so excited I almost pee’d my pants! Ok, not really, but I was looking forward to actually, finally surprising my wife with something she actually wants.
Finally, the day arrived. UPS delivered it to our place, and I opened it up in front of Mrs. P, a bit early for her birthday, but what the hell. She laughed, she cried, she jumped up and down. At last, I’d done something right! She was all smiles that entire evening, and I have never felt more accomplished in my gift giving endeavours.
The following evening, we decided to try that bad boy out. I carefully read through the instructions, found a socket adaptor, plugged it in, turned it on and…snap; a puff of smoke and the smell of melting wires, and the most expensive appliance I have ever purchased, the most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased outside of vehicles, was fucking dead.
I had read, somewhere, a long time ago before I actually arrived in Singapore, that they use a different, most importantly higher, voltage here, and that using western appliances requires a separate transformer to protect against the stronger signal, but it’s been several years, and I had totally forgotten about it. Fuck did I ever just fuck up.
The last few days have been beset with an almost constant stomach ache, deep feelings of regret, and calls back and forth to essentially useless local repair shops who have never heard of the sous vide and have no idea how to fix it. The manufacturers of Sous Vide Supreme have offered no help, and told me to just purchase another one, no surprise there I guess. The two local suppliers, who price gouge with abandon on such items, refuse to touch it, since I didn’t buy it in their store – fuck you very much Totts and Sia Huat for being completely useless.
Now I’m stuck hoping and praying that the original supplier, the very gracious Golda’s Kitchen Supplies in Canada will allow me to return the item for repair, charging whatever fee they feel like charging me.
Sometimes life fucks you, and sometimes you fuck yourself. Right now, I’m getting a bit of both, and I assure you it is not a comfortable sensation.