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Pierre Berton vs. the Cuisinart

CBC Television convinced journalist Peter Gzowski to front this late-night talk show after the success at the helm of CBC Radio's This Country in The Morning. In 1976, late-night talk shows were new territory for CBC Television, and the show was panned from the start. But Gzowski soldiered on for two seasons, interviewing a host of personalities five nights a week at 11:30 p.m.

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The newest trend in kitchen appliances may spare your knuckles from that old box grater. But there's another danger with food processors, as Pierre Berton learns all too painfully on CBC-TV's 90 Minutes Live. While demonstrating how to slice scalloped potatoes with a Cuisinart, Berton stops the spinning blade with his fingers. Though he is casual about the resulting cut - "It's a mere scratch, just a flesh wound," he says, quoting Monty Python - it's serious enough that Gzowski cuts to a commercial. The following night, Berton returns with two heavily bandaged fingers to face the food processor again.
• Berton wrote about this misadventure in his autobiography My Times. "The critics were reporting that Gzowski's late-night audience ratings were abysmal, but I did not find that true. The night I cut my finger almost in half trying, in my clumsy way, to demonstrate a Cuisinart food processor, every man, woman and child in the country seemed to be watching and tittering. The affair even made the pages of the National Lampoon, which, I believe, thoughtfully presented me as a typical Canadian bungler."
  • The Cuisinart food processor was the creation of Carl Sontheimer, an American inventor who adapted a French industrial machine, the Robot-Coupe, for home use. Its popularity skyrocketed in 1975 and despite a host of lower-priced imitators, its high quality meant it outsold them all.

• On Dec. 3, 1958 Pierre Berton published what would become one of his best-known recipes. Dubbed "A peasant dish for kings," his corned beef hash called for tinned corned beef, a potato, onion, some red wine, an egg and various seasonings. "On Monday morning of this week, seized by an urge I could no longer control, I made myself a mess of corned beef hash for breakfast," the Toronto Star column begins. The recipe was reprinted in a book collection of his columns, Just Add Water and Stir, the following year. 

Medium: Television
Program: 90 Minutes Live
Broadcast Date: March 27, 1978
Guest(s): Pierre Berton, David Steinberg
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 8:30
This clip consists of two separate appearances (March 27 and 28, 1978) spliced together.

Last updated: November 3, 2014

Page consulted on November 3, 2014

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