Title:
Food covering supports
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An assembly is described for supporting a covering above the surface of a food item to prevent the covering from contacting the food item. A support pin having a shank and a support head is releasibly held in an upright position within a pin receiver in a pin mount. For assemblies placed within the periphery of the food item, the mount may have a base and a vertical column with a shank receiving bore extending upwardly from the base. Another pin mount for assemblies placed around the periphery of the food item has a horizontal foot with a distal end and an outer end, and a vertical leg extending upwardly from the foot outer end, the vertical leg having an outer side opposite the foot and a pin receiving opening adjacent the outer side of the vertical leg.



Inventors:
Burke, Joseph (Kure Beach, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/258312
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
10/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24B3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060065263Programmable cooking applianceMarch, 2006Barritt
20070151477Hearth pad heat barrierJuly, 2007Walker
20090090349Pan in pan heaterApril, 2009Donovan
20090095279Full and Partial Oven Rack AssemblyApril, 2009Ambrose et al.
20080141999SOLAR HEATING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF FORMING A PANEL ASSEMBLY THEREFORJune, 2008Hanken
20080060634Coated griddle bottomMarch, 2008Blum
20070209656Vapor Heating Type Cooking ApparatusSeptember, 2007Lee
20070039603Windscreen for backpacking stovesFebruary, 2007Lindsly et al.
20090107477Steam Oven System with Steam GeneratorApril, 2009Frock et al.
20080223266Wood fired boilerSeptember, 2008Brazier et al.
20070181118Ceramic bushingAugust, 2007Bruno et al.



Primary Examiner:
CHAN, KO HUNG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACCORD MASON PLLC (GREENSBORO, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An assembly for supporting a flexible covering above the surface of a food item to prevent said covering from contacting said food item comprising: a) a pin having a shank with a lower end and an upper end, and a support head extending outwardly from the upper end of said shank; and b) a pin mount having a base and a pin receiver, said pin shank lower end being vertically insertable into said receiver.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said support head is circular.

3. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said pin mount has a base with a lower surface and a column with a bore extending upwardly from said base, said pin shank being insertable into said bore.

4. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said pin mount base is an elongated base with an inner end and an outer end, said pin receiver extending upwardly from the outer end of said base.

5. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said pin mount includes a vertical leg extending upwardly from said base, said vertical leg having an outer side and a pin receiver adjacent the outer side of said vertical leg.

6. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said receiver includes a plurality of vertically aligned shank receiving holes.

7. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said pin receiver is centrally located on said base.

8. The assembly of claim 8, wherein said shank and said head are formed of a single wire rod.

9. An assembly for supporting a flexible covering above the surface of a food item to prevent said covering from contacting said food item comprising: a) a pin having a shaft with a lower end and an upper end, and a support head extending outwardly from the upper end of said shaft; and b) a pin mount having a base and a vertical column with a bore extending upwardly from said base, said pin shaft being insertable into said bore.

10. The assembly of claim 9, wherein said mount base and column have a circular cross-section.

11. The assembly of claim 9, wherein said base and said column have a common axis.

12. The assembly of claim 9, wherein said base and said column are a single molded plastic piece.

13. The assembly of claim 9, wherein said pin is a wire rod having an upper end forming said head.

14. An assembly for supporting a covering above the surface of food to prevent said covering from contacting said food comprising: a) a plurality of support pins, each pin having a shank with a lower end and an upper end, and a support head extending outwardly from the upper end of said shank; and b) at least one pin mount having an elongated base with an inner end and an outer end, and a pin receiver above the outer end of said base.

15. The assembly of claim 14, wherein said mount includes an upright leg extending upwardly from said base outer end said upright leg including an outer side with a pin receiver adjacent said leg outer side.

16. The assembly of claim 14, further including a second pin mount having a base and a pin receiver centrally positioned on said base.

17. The assembly of claim 14, wherein said pin mount is formed of a single strip of metal.

18. The assembly of claim 14, wherein said pin receiver includes at least two vertically aligned holes.

19. The assembly of claim 14, wherein said pin receiver includes a shank rest.

20. The assembly of claim 14, wherein said pin receiver includes a first segment extending outwardly and downwardly from the upper end of said leg, a second segment extending inwardly and downwardly below said first segment, and a pin rest extending outwardly below said second segment, said first and second segments including vertically aligned shank receiving openings.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an assembly for use in supporting a removable, flexible covering above a prepared food item to prevent the covering from contacting the upper surface of the food item.

(2) Description of the Prior Art

Prepared food items are frequently stored for a period of time or transported to a location different from the place they were prepared. To preserve the freshness of the item and for sanitary purposes, the food items are often covered with a flexible removable covering, such as a sheet of plastic or aluminum foil. However, the surfaces of numerous food items, e.g., iced cakes and pastries, casseroles, gelatin molds, etc., tend to stick to these coverings, resulting in damage to the structure and appearance of the food item.

The prior art includes various proposals for avoiding this problem, generally directed to placing some type of spacer between the food item and the covering. For example, toothpicks are often stuck into the food item with the covering being placed over the upper tips of the toothpicks. However, this solution has several defects. First, subsequent removal of the toothpicks will necessarily damage the surface of the food item at the point of removal. Second, the upper tips of the toothpicks may penetrate the covering, allowing the covering to contact the top of the food item. Finally, the toothpick may break, leaving a portion of the toothpick in the food item, potentially harming the consumer. U.S. Design Patent No. 502,631, issued Mar. 8, 2005 to the present inventor illustrates the ornamental design of the cooking pin that can be used instead of a toothpick, thereby eliminating penetration of the pin head through the cover and the risk of breakage. However, there remains a need for a means to support a protective covering above the surface of a food item without inserting the support means into the food item.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Generally, the present invention addresses this need with a mounting assembly comprised of a support pin with a cover support head or cap and a downwardly extending shank or stem in combination with a pin mount having a shank receiving opening to support the pin in a vertical orientation. For most applications, a plurality of pin and pin mount combinations will be used.

The support pin head may be integral with or formed separately from the pin shank. For example, the shank can be formed of a straight length of wire rod having its upper end bent to form a head transverse to the longitudinal axis of the pin. The head can be of different shapes. For example, the head can have a circular, triangular or rectangular shape. Since the pin is inserted into a preformed opening in the mount, the lower tip of the pin is preferably blunt to avoid the risk of sticking the user. Different size pin shanks and pin heads can be used depending on the size and type of food item to be covered.

The mount is generally comprised of a base that is designed to rest on the same surface as the food item, e.g., a plate or platter, and at least one pin receiving opening to releasibly hold the pin in an upright position with the pin cap spaced above the pin mount. Pin mounts of different constructions may be used depending upon the manner in which the assembly is used to support the cover over the food item. That is, some assemblies may be placed in the center of a group of food items, such as iced muffins on a platter, so that the support pin extends upwardly within the periphery of the food item. In other instances, pin mounts will be positioned so that pin mounts extend upwardly at spaced locations around the periphery of the food item.

When positioning support pins within the periphery of the food item, a suitable pin mount may include a base having a lower surface to rest on the food item support surface with a pin receiver in the form of a column having a vertical bore extending upwardly from the base. The bore cross-section will be approximately equal to the cross-section of the pin shank so that the pin is releasibly insertable into the bore. For greatest stability, the bore is centrally located above the base, e.g., the base can have a circular cross-section with the axis of the bore extending through the center of the base.

When positioning support pins around the periphery of a food item, a suitable pin mount may be comprised of a horizontal foot or base with an inner end adapted for insertion under the food item and a vertical leg or column including a pin receiver with a pin receiving opening extending upwardly from the outer end of the foot. This pin support embodiment may be L-shaped, with the horizontal foot, vertical leg and pin receiver being formed of a single strip of material, e.g., a bent stainless steel strip.

The pin receiver is preferably on the outer side of the vertical leg, i.e., the side of the vertical leg opposite the horizontal foot and away from the food item. In a preferred embodiment, the upper end of the vertical leg is turned outwardly and downwardly to form a pin receiver that includes at least two vertically aligned holes for receiving a support pin shank. The pin receiver may be of different shapes. For example, the receiver may be comprised of a first segment extending downwardly and outwardly from the top of the vertical leg and a second segment extending downwardly and inwardly from the lower edge of the first segment, with the first and second segments including vertically aligned pin receiving holes.

When covering a food item resting on the surface of a carrier, e.g., a plate, tray or platter, one or more pin mounts are placed on the carrier surface and support pins are inserted into the pin receiving openings of the mounts so that the heads of the support pins are spaced above the upper surface of the food item. A flexible covering, e.g., a sheet of plastic food wrap of the type sold under the trademark SaranĀ®, is placed over the tops of the pins and wrapped around the periphery of the food item carrier. Due to the present assembly, the covering can securely fit over the food item without the covering coming into contact with the food item to damage the icing or other sticky surface of the food item.

When covering a plurality of discrete food items or a food item having a central opening, the mount can be placed at the center of the carrier or otherwise within the periphery of the carrier so that the covering is supported near its center. When supporting the covering over a single food item such as an iced cake, L-shaped mounts of the second type described above can be used, with the horizontal feet of the mounts being inserted beneath the food item so that the vertical leg extends upwardly alongside the food item with the pin receiver being on the outer side of the vertical segment. Preferably, a plurality of mounts are spaced equidistant around the food item. The shanks of support pins are then inserted into the pin receiving openings of the mounts and a cover is placed over the tops of the mounts and around the periphery of the carrier.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a support pin.

FIG. 2 is a top view of a support pin.

FIG. 3 is a side view of a support pin.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a pin mount.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a pin mount.

FIG. 6 is a section side view of a tray of iced muffins with a cover supported by a support pin and the pin mount of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a side view of an iced cake with a cover supported by a plurality of support pins in pin mounts of the type shown in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, terms such as horizontal, upright, vertical, above, below, beneath, and the like, are used solely for the purpose of clarity in illustrating the invention, and should not be taken as words of limitation. The drawings are for the purpose of illustrating the invention and are not intended to be to scale.

FIGS. 1-3 illustrate a typical support pin 10 forming a part of the present assembly. Pin 10 is comprised of a shank 12 with a lower end and an upper end terminating in a head 14 formed by bending the upper end of shank 12 into a circle positioned transverse to the longitudinal axis of shank 12. It will be understood that head 14 may be of different configurations depending on the ornamental effect desired, so long as the head has a sufficient surface area to prevent penetration of the overlying cover.

FIG. 4 illustrates a first pin mount 20 comprised of a base 22 with a central upright column 24. Column 24 includes a central vertical bore 26 for receiving shank 12 of pin 10. Base 22 and column 24 may be formed as a single piece, e.g., base 22 and column 24 may be a single molded plastic piece. Base 22 and column 24 are shown as cylinders in the preferred embodiment with base 22 having a cross-section substantially greater, e.g., about 3-6 times greater than the cross-section of column 24, which is believed to provide the optimum stability and use of materials. It will be understood, however, that the bases and columns may be of different shapes and cross-sectional configurations. For example, the base and column may be integrally formed as a truncated cone with a bore along the vertical axis of the cone. Pin mount 20 may be formed of various materials that will not harm food items, e.g., plastic or a metal, in particular stainless steel.

FIG. 7 illustrates a second pin support 30, which is an L-shaped support used to support pins along the edge of a food item. Support 30 is comprised of a horizontal foot 32 with a distal end adapted for insertion under a food item and an outer end, and a vertical leg 34 extending upwardly from the outer end of foot 32. Leg 34 has an inner side toward foot 34 and an opposed outer side, and an upper end. A pin receiver 36 extends downwardly and outwardly from the upper end of leg 34 and is positioned adjacent the outer side of leg 34. Receiver 36 includes an upper pin receiving segment 38 extending downwardly and outwardly from the upper end of foot 34, a lower pin receiving segment 40 extending downwardly and inwardly from the lower end of segment 38, and a shank rest 42 extending downwardly and outwardly from the lower end of segment 40. Segments 38 and 40 include vertically aligned pin receiving holes 44, with rest 42 being positioned in line with the common axis of holes 44.

As illustrated in FIG. 6, support pin 10 and mount 20 may be combined to support a flexible cover over a group of iced muffins. As shown, a single mount 20 is positioned in the center of the tray. It will be understood, however, that a plurality of mounts and pins assemblies may be used depending on the size of the tray and number and nature of the food items.

FIG. 7 illustrates the positioning of a plurality of mounts 30 and pins 10 around the periphery of an iced cake resting on a plate. Foot 32 of each mount 30 is inserted between the lower surface of the cake and the plate, with shanks 12 of pins 10 being inserted downwardly through holes 44 in mounts 30 so that the lower ends of pins 10 rest on pin rests 42. A flexible cover is then fitted over the heads of pins 10 and around the periphery of the plate.

Certain modifications and improvements will occur to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the foregoing description. It should be understood that all such modifications and improvements have been deleted herein for the sake of conciseness and readability but are properly within the scope of the following claims.





 
Previous Patent: Portable cooking grill

Next Patent: Cooking device