By Don Lindich
Week 23, 2022
Q. I’m planning a road trip in an older vehicle with a CD and cassette player, but no AUX jack. I have a cassette adapter with a mini-plug, but I’ve become accustomed to playing my music from a USB stick in my newer vehicles. Is there some gizmo that can let me use a USB stick through my setup?
-J.K. Oakland, CA
A. You can do this with a car Bluetooth RF adapter with a USB port or TF Card slot. These devices transmit a radio signal to the car radio to play music from a TF Card or your Smartphone’s Bluetooth connection. You select the frequency on the adapter to find one without any interference from local stations, then tune the radio to match. I’ve found the sound quality to be even better than a cassette adapter. If your car has a cassette player it is very unlikely that it also has Bluetooth. As an added benefit you will be able to connect your phone to the adapter via Bluetooth and make hands-free calls.
The adapters I have tested only play music from a TF Card and the USB port is only for charging, but now you can find adapters that play music from a USB Flash Drive as well. If you don’t want to bother transferring the music from the USB drive to a TF card I would look for one of those. There is an adapter from UNBREAKcable on Amazon for $24.99 that looks like a good fit. It has a big microphone for clear phone calls and a high customer rating. Have a great trip!
Outdoor cooking tools: I love to cook and constantly test devices for cooking indoors and outdoors. Here is an old recommendation I have appreciated more as the years have gone by, and a new one for all the pizza lovers out there. I will have a few more cooking gadgets to talk about next week.
ThermoWorks Thermopop Instant-Read Thermometer: The $35 ThermoPop is aptly named because it looks like a lollipop and the temperature pops right up when you use it. I’ve tested “instant read” thermometers that take 5 or 6 seconds to show the temperature, and that hardly qualifies as instant read to me! thermoworks.com
Food Party Outdoor Pizza Oven: If you have ever been drawn to the portable gas-fired outdoor pizza ovens that are all the rage but can be quite expensive, this one is a great value. There is definitely a bit of a learning curve but the results are worth it if you stick with it. Start by making 10-inch pizzas rather than 12-inch pizzas and make a big batch of dough so you can make a bunch of pizzas at once to practice. I make my dough in a bread machine (interesting fact about me, I collect bread machines and experiment making all kinds of bread with them) and used the dough to make calzones and strombolis as well.
Give the oven plenty of time to heat up front-to-back and get it as hot as you can (it can get up to 700-900 F pretty easily) before putting in your first pizza. Don’t put it in too far to avoid burning and rotate it with the pizza peel as it cooks. In about a minute you will have a fresh, hot pizza. The calzones and strombolis were even easier to make.
The Food Party pizza oven retails for $299 and is often on sale for $249 with a checkbox coupon. It includes a pizza stone, pizza peel, infrared thermometer and carrying case.