‘Hands-On’ Eating Can Be Better

June 08, 2010

It’s easy for people who focus on speedy meal prep to carry that momentum into functional, time-efficient eating too.

It’s easy for people who focus on speedy meal prep to carry that momentum into functional, time-efficient eating too. If they paused, however, to be more fully involved in the experience and ‘construct’ some meal components at the table, perhaps they’d appreciate their foods more, have fun, and come up with their own twists on taste and texture combinations.

We’re talking about eating as a really hands-on experience – not just picking up a burger or hot dog, but mixing and matching elements on the plate or in a cup, and anticipating the satisfaction that will soon come. Isn’t a meal or snack, after all, an opportunity to experiment, to converse with someone, or escape from pressures for a short time? By sometimes slowing down, we could relax and refuel our souls while fueling our bodies.

What brought this to mind? Bkoffie, an African coffee shop in Manhattan, sells coffee to go in a cup “that brews while you carry it,” notes the New York Times. Some three minutes after purchasing a cup filled with freshly ground coffee, boiling water and sweetener, the customer presses down a plunging device from atop the lid, using a plastic golf tee. This seals the deal so the cup acts as a French press pot. No time wasted, no quality lost during transport.

Also, The Lempert Report will issue a rating tomorrow on a new product, the Edwards Single Serving Hot Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with Creamy Ice Cream (visit our website Wednesday, June 9, for the scores). It comes in two parts – an ice cream cup and a tray that holds the cake. To make it, a consumer microwaves the raw cake batter for about a minute and then pushes the ice cream (with chocolate sauce and chocolate chips) on top.

These food products are more involved than the Fizzies tablets we carbonated water with as kids. A few other examples of ‘physical’ eating: shell a lobster, dip fondue, mix cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit and granola, top a sundae, drizzle chocolate atop popcorn, create a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and mix cheeses for mac-and-cheese.

We think supermarkets could develop more participatory ideas around regional food favorites in their areas, and help foster family fun for shoppers. Each one that takes off encourages people to think of the stores as a destination rather than as a functional outlet.