The OXO Ground Beef Chopper is part of our daily family ritual

My day begins with a tour of the kitchen in my cinder-block home high atop the peaks of the Hollywood Hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, checking that all is in order. In my house, each family member has a drawer in the kitchen, and it is my job to make sure the contents of the drawers are in order. It's not complicated. I open and close the drawers and cupboards and make sure the utensils and cooking ware are in their proper positions.

I often pause to pick up the OXO Good Grips Ground Beef Chopper to admire its craftsmanship. The long handle is made of a brilliant whorled plastic that I have mistaken for amber on numerous occasions. Among its many features, the most outstanding are three narrow blades of a chemical composition unknown to me, which undoubtedly could pierce through armor and steel as if it were paper. But the blades are famous for their curious ability to cut through ground meat, inflicting a bizarre wound that engineers have named "The Rift."

I hold it carefully, awed by its ethereal glow. The technology from which it originates is more advanced than humans can comprehend, and I long to keep this tool for further study.

I will later return to the kitchen to prepare the OXO Good Grips Ground Beef Chopper for its journey to the table. I will place it carefully in the center of the table, where all five of us will observe it like pilgrims before the Holy Grail. My youngest son will attempt to grab it, but I will block him with my left arm. I will raise the chopper ceremoniously above my head, and my children will grasp their hands together in a sign of praise. I will then bring it to my lips and kiss it violently. We will then all chant in unison:

Bless this, our beef chopper.
Bless this, our ground beef chopper.
Bless this, our ground beef chopper,
forever and ever.

I will then place the chopper on the table between my youngest son and me. The first squabble will commence.

My first son will reach for the chopper as ritual demands, but I will push him away. My second son will go for the chopper next, but I will push him away, too. I will then use the chopper to cut two large hunks of ground beef. We will all sit down together for a family luncheon of whole-wheat toast, eggs, and cut beef.

After lunch, my wife will force me to go to the supermarket to buy a new spoon for my youngest son, who has left his original spoon at a friend's house. I will use the car to drive to the parking lot of Ralphs, my favorite grocery store. I will open the door and let my youngest son run in first, which is his favorite part of the trip. (My wife and I disagree on whether such indulgences spoil our children, but we remain civil during such discussions.)

From this point forward, the trip to the market will be a familiar story. My son will run down the aisles, singing and laughing. He will steal a chocolate bar from the shelf, and I will lecture him sternly. He will promise to return it, but I know he will not. My wife will then say to me, "Do you want to deal with this now, or do you want to deal with it later?" I will tell her I want to deal with it later, but I never deal with it later.