Dead Giveaway: Enter to Win!

A little while back, I was ranting about the epidemic of food bloggers giving away free stuff in order to entice people to their websites.

Win a free immersion blender! Win a free sous vide machine! Win a free kidney!

All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog telling me why you love blenders/gummable meat/kidneys and you could win!

To me, it seemed like a dead giveaway that these bloggers had no real substance to them; that they had to resort to bribery to get people to visit their sites.

Comment whoring, I thought. Pure, unadulterated begging. Like a grandmother enticing her children’s children with promises of cookies and savings bonds if they’d just come visit a little more often. Bloggers who might ordinarily receive 10 to 20 comments can find themselves bloated with 600 of them, if the prize is a good one.

And who provides these gifts? Sometimes it’s the makers of said blender/sous vide/human organ products. These bloggers are just grabby, corporate pawns.

I rather enjoyed the view from my high horse.

And then I saw that The Pioneer Woman was giving away an iPad, so I entered her giveaway contest.

Yes, I am a hypocrite. I’d spell it out for you, but it’s already spelled out there, 13 words ago.

Why was it okay for me to enter her contest and look down upon those of others? Well, for one thing, she made her readers work for it by taking a pop quiz, which I loved. For another, she disclosed that the gift was purchased with her own money and offered as a token of thanks to her readers. Oh, and because it was an iPad.

Even though I lost the contest due in part to the fact that I am terrible at mathematics, I enjoyed taking the quiz and browsing a part of her site that I’ve never browsed before. Her giveaway was delivered with good will and good humor. And I like to think it softened me up, just a little.

I looked around at other blogs with giveaways. There were a few that did, in fact, annoy the hell out of me, but I noticed something else– there were people out there whom I respect immensely (and like personally) who were doing it as well.

I climbed of my high horse as quietly and as meekly as I could.

What was my beef with giveaways? Was I mad that no cookware company was sending me merchandise to pawn off to my readers? I think there was some of that in the mix. Was it my issue with shameless self-promotion? There was some of that, too, but my therapist and I have been working on that one for a little while now. I’m sure the reasons are myriad and complicated, but let’s just say that I was feeling more than a little ashamed of myself for being so judgemental.

And I’ve reconsidered.

If you’ve got a product, you might as well promote it. Often times, that product is you– your blog, your image, your brand. If your aim is to attract people to that product, you might as well dangle the shiniest, most valuable carrot in front of people to get them to where they can see it.

So today, I thought I’d finally join that chorus of giver-awayers and do my own, special kind of giveaway…

A Dead Giveaway

Because it’s almost Halloween. Which that means that Day of the Dead isn’t too far off, either. And I just like the sound of it.

The prize? Well, it’s more than likely from a dead person (I have no absolute proof of this. In fact, I can scarcely remember where it came from. Given its approximate age and purpose, I feel I can safely say that it was originally purchase by someone who is either currently dead or is not far of from that Big Sleep some people like to call “Eternal Peace.”

Okay, so do you still want to know what I’m giving away?

It’s a cake comb. Yes, I said “cake” and “comb.” Some people refer to it as a “cake breaker”, but I think that– all gory Halloween talk aside– “cake comb” sound much nicer, don’t you?

Enter to win!

I realize that there are many of you out there who will not put forth the effort to win this beautiful free item. For example, my friend Jennifer has stated that she will never purchase any previously-owned item from a thrift store or online auction site that could have in any way been used to dispose of a dead body. Just how a cake comb could be used in such an activity is uncertain to me, but I’m certain that, if anyone could come up with something, Jennifer could.

However, if you just feel you can’t live without this beautiful, arcane, and slightly menacing-looking, free kitchen tool, here’s how you can win it!

Just tell me why it is you don’t think your life is complete without one of these babies and what, precisely, it is you plan on doing with it. The most fascinating answer gets the prize.*


*Judged by me, of course, because I’m looking for a healthier forum in which to be judgemental.

This entry was posted in Rants and Helpful Suggestions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Dead Giveaway: Enter to Win!

  1. It takes courage to admit you’re a hypocrite. Bravo for that. Now you’ll be a giveaway fool, but a sincere one.
    Put our name in the mix cause there’s nothing better than a cake comb from a dead person. And, we don’t own one yet!

    • Michael Procopio says:

      D and T,

      I think if everyone admits they’re a hypocrite from time to time, the world would be a much wonderful place to live in, don’t you?

      And I am always happy to play the fool, giveaway or otherwise.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Ha! Awesome giveaway. Maybe the best ever. I too looked down upon those food bloggers who did “giveaways” but then I realized that people were sending me things just to give away and I felt I could give back to my loyal readers. Sometimes they are not the greatest prizes, but everyone loves free stuff.

    Now as for this cake comb (of which I have only recently become aware of), that presumably has not been used to render someone less than living, I would of course use it as a comb to brush my puggle. Puggles (pug x beagles) are terribly needy. I can see his little tail wagging already. Than I might wash it and use it to bash up a seemingly innocent cake. Cause that’s what it’s for right?

    • Michael Procopio says:


      Thank you ever so much. I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one!

      I think you scored major points by mentioning the word “beagle”. I’m a complete sucker for ’em– even if it’s only a half breed. Of course, I’m a bit of a half breed myself, so there you have it.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Oh, I’ll tell you why I need one. Because I have five sons. I need all the weaponry, real or imagined, that I can get in my grubby mits. I imagine that I’d look seriously tough with this thing. Well, tougher than I usually look in the pretty floral apron with chocolate bars in the pockets. Unless, of course, I was using it to actually break a cake. There’s always the option of growing while breaking cake. That’d be menacing, right?

    • Michael Procopio says:


      I like your thinking. I am now trying to imagine you looking menacing in a pretty floral apron. Will you wear pearls? Suddenly, a lovely little quote comes to mind:

      “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” — Lady Macbeth

  4. That’s hilarious! I agree that some giveaways really bother me. But more often then not I think people have the same motive that I do, to share something I’ve loved using with my readers and bless one of them with it for free. I didn’t even realized until last month that I can use that to try and drive traffic! Knowing that I’m going to try it, simply because I know my blog helps a lot of people so the more who visit it the better.

    As for the cake comb, I have to honestly say the only reason I’d need it is that my drawer of kitchen utensils I don’t use more than 3-4 times a year is not yet full and I have lots of lovely gadgets that could keep the cake comb good company.

    • Michael Procopio says:


      In your case especially, the more people you can drive to your site, the better. I love what you’re doing.

      Now, as for that cake comb. It sounds as though you are trying to create some sort of Island of Misfit Kitchen Utensils. At least I know the comb would be in good (and unused) company.

  5. laura says:

    Christ I thought I saw cake bomb, which totally had me!

  6. Angela Napolitano says:

    I love the Pioneer Woman’s quizzes too! It’s a great way to do a giveaway. Love the Day of the Dead Giveaway theme. Lord knows I need a Cake Comb! Was pointed to your blog by Sweet Tartlette. Your writing is wonderful, humorous and refreshing. Thank you for spreading your knowledge.

    • Michael Procopio says:


      Thank you very much for those kind words. I’m very glad you came by for a visit. And anyone who’s a friend of Ms. Tartelette is a friend of mine. She’s kinda wonderful.


  7. Stephanie says:

    you. are. hilarious.
    can you add an rss feed button to your site. Please? I’m too lazy to read it through email.
    As for the cake comb…I don’t even comb my kids’ hair…let alone my cakes’. Come to think of it, my cakes don’t have hair.

    • Michael Procopio says:


      Thank. You. Very. Much.

      Funny, I thought I did have an RSS feed on here somewhere. As soon as I figure out how to do that again, I will.

      And it’s more-or-less a good thing your cakes don’t have hair. Unless, of course, it’s a hair cake.

      Now there is an idea I’d like to work on.

  8. Could a cake comb also be used as a backscratcher? Would I be forever pegged as a crazy cat lady if I said I might also use it on Harry and Lenny? Even if the answer to both questions is yes, I’m ok with that.

    • Michael Procopio says:


      If you’re okay with it, I’m okay with it. Frankly, I don’t think either of us would have it any other way.


  9. I have entered giveaways because of the attraction of the shiny object (usually a gorgeous KitchenAid mixer from the Pioneer Woman – and I’m kicking myself for missing the iPad one), but I’ve never hosted one myself for many of the same reasons. But I like your style, Mr. Procopio. Bravo.

    I have absolutely no idea what I’d do with a cake comb. According to Google, I would run the cake comb over my iced cake “and create lovely decorative edges” but it looks like something I might use to detangle my cat’s matted fur.

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Thank you very much, Merry Jennifer.

      I rather like The Pioneer Woman’s giveaways, too. Mostly because they’re just silly and fun and I am a trivia geek. Winnable shiny objects don’t hurt too much, either.

      I find it interesting how many people feel they would use a cake comb for pet grooming.

  10. Ellen Fitz says:

    Well, first and foremost, I would use it to torture Jennifer. What fun! On the more sedate side, I would also use to cut angel food cake the correct way instead of “smushing” it with a butcher knife. (Yes I could use a serrated blade but then I couldn’t complain about smushing the cake, could I?)

  11. Thea says:

    A cake comb! The very thing! And vintage, always a lure. I will comb all cakes I bake from selected cake recipes you publish. Failing that, I’ll rumage around in the Lebovitz book.

    Wait a sec. I see up there a couple pudding recipes and popovers referenced. Direct me to your cakes, sir. Pretty soon I may have a need to comb.

    • Michael Procopio says:


      My cake recipes are few and far between. Now that I think of it, there’s a giant, gaping cake hole in my repertoire. I really must do something about that. And soon!

      In the meantime, I have the feeling David would be pleased to know you are paying a little bit of attention to him. I don’t think very many people ever visit his blog.




  12. Stephanie - Wasabimon says:

    You didn’t say if said blogger was giving away a human kidney or an animal kidney. That makes all the difference, you know.

    • Michael Procopio says:


      For legal and ethical purposes, my lawyer has advised me not to differentiate between the two.

      But I adore you for noticing.


  13. Sean says:

    “I’ve you’ve got a product, you might as well promote it. Often times, that product is you– your blog, your image, your brand. ”

    So why are you not giving yourself away?


    P.S. I don’t want a cake comb. I want YOU.

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Oh Sean,

      That glaring little typo has been corrected, but your sentiments are most appreciated.

      Funny, I feel as though I give myself away every time I open my mouth.

  14. Broderick says:

    I want Michael too… and that martini he’s always holding

    • Michael Procopio says:


      My deepest apologies, but that martini glass I am always holding has the ability to magically refill itself only when in direct contact with my own person.

      However, I’d be happy to make one for you upon your next visit. Refills included.

  15. shauna says:

    I’m with Sean. Can I at least have your comb?

    Okay, so I’ll take the cake comb. Do you think it works with gluten-free cake?

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Oh Shauna,

      I’ve never used the comb on a gluten-bomb of a confection, let alone a gluten-free one. Perhaps we should start experimenting.

      Do you have a recipe for GF Angel Food Cake? If so, I’d love to try it. Only, I won’t have the cake comb any longer, because I will have already given it away.

      I am suddenly filled with sadness. I need to lie down.

  16. Sean says:

    On further reflection, I can see how the cake comb could be used for disposing of bodies, at least in part. In these frugal and green-minded times, the best way to dispose of a body would be to eat it. I’m willing to venture that human flesh is pretty tough stuff, so the cake comb would come in handy as a tenderizer. The prongs would puncture the meat and break the muscle tissue down, much as you do for London broil. It could then be stewed or braised more easily, and made into a tender and delicious stew. You’re welcome.

    I should note that this raises my interest in the cake comb only a very small amount.

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Okay. You would have totally won the damned comb with this comment, but you don’t even want it.

      I think you’re just showing off. Again.

      Please never stop.


  17. MrJackhonky says:

    Um. I would like the cake comb, but not to dispose of bodies. Not to comb my cat’s hair (because if we had a cat AJ would die, because he happens to be deathly allergic to cats) nor my dog’s hair (I don’t have a dog). Not to scratch my back.

    I would like the cake comb for the utterly boring reason that I currently have ~100 egg whites frozen in my freezer and I really need to start making angel food cakes to use them up. However I have not had a cake comb (though cake breaker is probably more appropriate) to appropriately slice up said angel food cake.

    I would also like to point out that there is something slightly Uh-O-Procopio about giving away a tool from a dead person that’s sole purpose is to slice angel food cake. Not devil’s food cake, angel food cake.

    Finally I would like to agree with Sean. If you could just bottle yourself and distribute it amongst us fans and friends, that would be swell. Sean could probably even help out with the sterilizing and canning (well, maybe not the sterlizing, I don’t want a sterile Michael).

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Mr. Honky.

      Your last comment has made me feel extremely self-conscious because I have had a very lazy day and have not as yet showered.

      So what would happen to AJ if he hugged a person who had just hugged a cat? I shudder to think.


      • MrJackhonky says:

        AJ has been known to have an allergic reaction to people who own cats. In fact, our close cat owning friends now know to change their clothes RIGHT BEFORE they leave their homes.

        Also. I hope you have showered since writing that response.

  18. Queen ArtoEat Speaks says:

    I need the cake comb like I need so many kitchen things-the Victorian walnut shaped butter molds that turn out 3 nuts at a time. The English pudding molds that scream dust me. The taco press that I finally used to make Chinese dumplings. One never knows when an item becomes a necessity! Best of all I lust after the bake lite faux ivory handle. I promise to make cakes to use the cake comb and will think of you dear thoughtless~ the giveaway King!

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Wait. A. Sec.

      You have Victorian walnut-shaped butter molds? I know someone (other than myself, who happens to be filled with wonder, envy, and possibility at this discovery) who would probably kill for those molds.

      “Dear thoughtless” <– I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I think I could grow to love that form of address.


  19. Queen ArtoEat Speaks says:

    P.S. We could have one hell of a blog swap going on!

  20. Susan says:

    Michael, do you realize that you are giving away a valuable vintage kitchen utensil? Your cake comb is probably about 100 years old and made out of the very collectible material called Bakelite. Bakelite was the first type of plastic that was invented by a Belgian whose name sounded like Bakelite.
    I think you should keep it. Have it appraised on the Antiques Roadshow and then sell it for a princely sum.

    • Michael Procopio says:


      Now you tell me. I’m sitting here wondering how I’m ever going to pay off my debts and you tell me that I have just promised to give away the very thing that will make me financially secure?

      Now I must decide whether I am to be a man of principle or a man of leisure. I need a martini.

  21. dmmfoodie says:

    I remember my Grandma using one of these. She especially used it with homemade angel food cake. Yes, believe it or not – some people used to make angel food cake themselves. I’d love to win one. Every time I use it – it would remind me of my Grandma who taught me how to make fudge, how to make raisin gravy for Easter ham. And, in an arena that has nothing to do with food – she also taught me how to manicure my nails when I was a teenager the year before she passed away.

    Thanks for being honest about your hypocrite status. Sometimes in the interest of marketing we start looking at things a little differently. *smile*

    • Michael Procopio says:

      I’ve only made Angel Food Cake once in my life. It was for the premiere of Angels in America on HBO. The cake came out light as a feather. However, deciding to frost the thing with heavy chocolate icing was a mistake I shall never make again.

      And I forgot at the time that I even owned an incredibly valuable cake comb.

      I proved to myself wholly unworthy of said comb.

  22. Helene says:

    I love your honesty Michael. That’s a big part of why I really like reading you. I only give away books from author I personally read, know and could benefit my readers or products that I bring home from France. I love sharing a bit of my culture just as much as I like to tell people “Oh I loved this book because blahblahblah and here’s a chance to read it” I hate being in the position of enjoying something and not being able to share.
    As far as free food, cookware, etc…nope, not my thing.

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Thank you, Helene.

      The way I see things, the only time it’s okay do be dishonest on one’s writing is if one is writing fiction. Wait a sec. I take that back. Even in fiction-writing, if the thing doesn’t come from an honest place, it’s just going to ring rather hollow, don’t you think?

      So are you telling me now that you do not want my cake comb?


  23. sam says:

    I was reading all this and then suddenly remembered I did my first blog give away of something I bought with my own money (even though I made zilch from my blog) just because I thought a reader might like it, way back in 2004. That was when blogs were strictly amateur. The winner was Alder Yarrow!

    • Michael Procopio says:


      This is precisely what I’ve learned from looking at giveaways with a less jaundiced eye– some people are giving things away from a good place (their big, blessed hearts).

      I miss your blog posts.


      P.S. See you at Julie’s event? I the photo she’s using of you. It’s gorgeous.

  24. Megan says:

    Hi Michael,

    Great post. I often thought the same thing when I saw giveaways on other blogs, scoffing at their peppy words and cool gadgets. However, perhaps I was jealous/secretly longing for a good giveaway of my own. You have opened my eyes and made me see that giveaways are in fact cool. Especially those from The Pioneer Woman. She’s actually just has her own category of “cool” in this world.

    But enlighten me, what is a cake comb? Do you use it to brush the frosting on your cake? I’m curious, and therefore now want one.

    • Michael Procopio says:

      Without putting PW on a pedestal or anything, I do think she’s cool and her giveaways are like no other.

      Oh, and the purpose of a cake comb is to delicately cut angel food cake, which is something of a lost art these days, don’t you think?

  25. jodi says:

    lost–alas, at the bottom of a huge list of comments, where no one will ever notice that I can kill zombies with “my” handy cake comb, in a many-icepicks at one time kind of way, handily joined into one terrorizing row of sharp pointy things “with” convenient handle.

    Cool post. Hope the cake comb finds a pet-lovin’ home, where it’ll make some small dog happy for years to come. 🙂

    • Michael Procopio says:


      Last, perhaps, but not lost. The cake comb (okay, you’ve just reminded me that I only announced the winner on Twitter and not on the blog!) has found a good home with a woman who promises to threaten her male children with it.

      Wait a sec. You’ve got a zombie infestation? I need to know more.


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