I am the family cook. My technique is essentially one cleaver + 1 pan + a lot of inventiveness. In the remote past I read some recipes. We’re all alive, so I surmise the boy is doing good.

I make good soups and have a blender – had a blender. The damn thing packed up a week ago after decades of loyal service. It was so old it was made of metal and glass. The replacement seems to be made of recycled yoghurt cartons.

Like most modern stuff, the new food processor is overengineered, and, even though intended for the kitchen, seems targetted at teenage boys masturbating in their bedrooms. It comes with 200 attachments for functions which are incomprehensible even when explained slowly. When the occasional glimmer of light appears, I think only: someone really wants to do that?

In my cellar I have a box of useless parts that I retain only on the principle of one-day-they’ll-come-in-useful. They have the merit of being fully interchageable.

There is an instruction book. It is an inch thick and mostly comprises details of the models I didn’t buy, in languages I don’t speak. Possibly the food processor has an integral radio and DVD player (this is a wild guess) but only in the Japanese model. A designer with wit and style would include a camera that takes clandestine pictures of the user and posts them on the Internet. Maybe it does? How would I know?

Unread instruction manuals and unused parts reflect the sadness of human aspiration. In another life we could read and use them.

Glancing over the instruction manual I feel a haiku coming on.

Suddenly I can speak Japanese.