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A Brave Little Toaster, Gluten-Free Matzah, and More Things to Buy This Week

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This post originally appeared on April 16, 2019, in “Add to Cart” — the weekly newsletter for people who love shopping (almost) as much as they love eating. Subscribe now.

Late on Saturday night, I accidentally smashed a mason jar on my kitchen floor. It was just one of the many mason jars I’ve had for years, but I wasn’t that upset about it. They were (relatively) cheap. They’re not that precious. And they’re definitely not as cool as when I bought them eight years ago.

Mason jars had a moment as a symbol of all things artisanal and homemade and a key piece of the restaurant aesthetic that brought us exposed brick walls, Edison bulbs, and a tsunami of Tolix A chairs. A look at Google Trends neatly illustrates their trajectory: The term “mason jar” started rising in popularity seemingly out of nowhere around 2011, peaked in 2014, and has been on a slow decline since.

I could have replaced my mason jars — which I purchased, rather predictably, in 2011 — a few years ago when they fell out of favor. But the truth is, trends aside, they are durable, easy to manage, and tough to kill (unless you shatter them drunkenly on the floor). And given how cheap they are, when they do break, it doesn’t feel like a tragedy. This is, after all, how restaurants shop for glasses, with the exception of the occasional Zalto stem: Buy affordable, durable glassware, and buy it in bulk. And if they wind up in a million pieces, no big deal: No one’s ever cried over a shattered mason jar.

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