Title:
Apparatus and method for insulating a food item
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus, and an associated method, for holding and insulating a food item that is too cold or too hot to be held comfortably by bare hands. An apparatus is provided for holding and insulating a food item by wrapping flexible insulating material circumferentially around a food item and affixing the ends. A substantially cylindrical insulating apparatus may be formed by affixing the two ends of a flat piece of flexible insulating material around an object using an affixer attached to opposing ends of the flat piece of insulating material, or alternately, by stitching of a flat piece of flexible insulating material into a cylindrical shape.



Inventors:
Simmons, Jacqueline Michele (Denison, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/520209
Publication Date:
03/27/2008
Filing Date:
09/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jacqueline Michele Simmons (Denison, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Insulating apparatus for holding a food item, said apparatus comprising: a piece of insulating material folded along a portion thereof such that a first side part of said insulating material fits against a second side part thereof; and an affixer positioned at said insulating material to affix the first side part against the second side part such that, when affixed together, said piece of insulating material permits positioning of a food item between the first and second side parts.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the affixer comprises a hook-and-loop type fastener.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the affixer comprises a hook-and-eye type fastener.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the affixer comprises a zipper.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the affixer comprises glue.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the two side parts are affixed by way of traditional sewing methods.

7. A method for insulating a food item comprising: positioning a food item on a piece of insulating material; folding said piece of insulating material around the food item such that a first side part of said insulating material fits against a second side part thereof; and affixing the first side part against the second side part.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the affixer comprises a hook-and-loop type fastener.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein the affixer comprises a hook-and-eye type fastener.

10. The method of claim 7 wherein the affixer comprises a zipper.

11. The method of claim 7 wherein the affixer comprises glue.

12. The method of claim 7 wherein the two side parts are affixed by way of traditional sewing methods.

Description:
In general, the present invention provides a manner by which to hold and insulate a food item. And more particularly, the present invention provides apparatus, and an associated method, for holding and insulating a food item, particularly, a “finger food”, so that a consumer can hold the food item without the consumer's hands or fingers becoming uncomfortably hot or cold.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In today's mobile society, there is a growing demand to make all things as mobile as possible. Food is no exception. Many people need food items that can be carried about with them. Many food items have been created or designed to allow for their carriage with the consumer. Sandwiches, hotdogs, ice cream cones, frozen confections, such as the Popsicle® brand ice pop, and various other food items have all been created to allow a consumer to carry the food item as the consumer travels about. Some of these items are contained in edible “wrappers”, such as bread slices, buns, and tortillas, while others have a “holder” such as the Popsicle® stick.

Many of these food items, such as sandwiches, hotdogs, burritos, and egg rolls, as well as many others, are best if consumed while hot. In an attempt to keep such foods hot, they are sometimes wrapped in aluminum foil. Sometimes, the foil wrapper is so hot, it cannot be held comfortably in bare hands, especially by children.

Many others of these food items are intended to be eaten while cold, or even frozen. With the advent of frozen confections, consumers have developed various apparatus for holding the confections so as to facilitate their consumption. One example is the ice cream cone. It is said that the ice cream cone was invented by an ice cream vendor at a fair who ran out of containers in which to serve the ice cream. So as not to lose out on sales, the vendor took a waffle, folded it into a cone shape, and filled it with ice cream. Thus, the waffle cone was born.

Another example is the snow cone holder. Paper glued into the shape of a cone can be filled with shaved, flavored ice and carried about by the consumer.

Yet another example is the ice pop frozen with a stick, either plastic or wooden, protruding from one end of the pop. The stick allows the consumer to hold the ice pop without the consumer's fingers touching the frozen pop; however, as the pop melts, it may drip down the stick onto the consumer's fingers.

Another type of ice pop is the long cylindrical pop that has no stick protruding from it, but is covered with a thin plastic wrapper. When consumers, especially children, hold this type of ice pop, their fingers may become uncomfortably cold and, at times, even stick to the ice pop package.

What is needed is a type of insulating apparatus that allows a consumer to hold a food item without the consumer's fingers and hand becoming uncomfortably cold or hot.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, accordingly, advantageously provides apparatus, and an associated method, for holding and insulating a food item that is too cold or too hot to be held comfortably by the consumer's bare hands.

In an exemplary, preferred embodiment, an apparatus is formed of a flat, piece of insulating material, so that the insulating material may be wrapped around an ice pop, or other food item, and held in place around the object. An affixer, such as a hook-and-loop type fastener, holds the piece of insulating material around the food item. Other types of affixers, such as zippers and hook-and-eye type fasteners could also perform the task of affixing the ends of the insulating material around the food item.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the apparatus is made of a flexible, insulating material that is sewn into a substantially cylindrical shape with openings at both the top and bottom to allow insertion of an object.

In yet another embodiment, the apparatus consists of flexible, insulating material sewn into a substantially cylindrical shape with an opening at the top, and a bottom consisting of the same flexible, insulating material.

When the uncomfortably cold, or hot item, has been consumed, the consumer can simply toss the apparatus in the dishwasher and save it for use at another time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A illustrates one side of the preferred embodiment of the present invention when the invention is flat.

FIG. 1B illustrates the other side of the invention as shown in FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2 illustrates the same embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, but with the apparatus flexed so as to show both mating pieces of a hook-and-loop type fastener on the ends of the flexible, insulating material.

FIGS. 3A and 3B show an embodiment of the present invention similar to that shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, but with the mating pieces of hook-and-loop type fastener placed longitudinally along the rectangular piece of insulating material.

FIG. 4A illustrates another embodiment of the present invention in which the mating pieces of a hook-and-loop type fastener are attached to the same side of the rectangular piece of insulating material.

FIG. 4B illustrates the embodiment shown in FIG. 3A, but with the insulating material folded and the mating pieces of the hook-and-loop type fastener adjoined.

FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention as used with a long cylindrical ice pop.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

An embodiment of the present invention provides apparatus and method for holding and insulating a food item, for example, a long, cylindrical ice pop, or other cold, or hot item, without the consumer's fingers coming into contact with the uncomfortably cold or hot item. The apparatus is formed of a flat, piece of insulating material that has an affixer so that the insulating material may be wrapped snugly around the food item that is too cold or too hot to hold, and the ends affixed together so that the apparatus is held in place around the object.

FIG. 1A shows an exemplary preferred embodiment in which the insulating material such as neoprene is a flat rectangle 10 with one side 12 of a hook-and-loop type affixer attached to the end 14 of the rectangle.

FIG. 1B shows the opposite side of the flat rectangle shown in FIG. 1A, with the mating piece 16 of a hook-and-loop type affixer attached to the opposite end 18 of the rectangle 10.

Placement of the mating pieces of a hook-and-loop type affixer on opposite ends and sides of the flat rectangle allow the rectangle to be folded circumferentially around an object, such as an ice pop or hot dog, and held into place by the hook-and-loop type affixer.

FIG. 2 shows the same embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGS. 1A and 11B, but with the apparatus flexed so as to show both mating pieces of a hook-and-loop type affixer 12 and 16 on the ends of the flexible, insulating material. One can see how the apparatus is able to be folded circumferentially about an ice pop, or other cold or hot item, and affixed together with the hook-and-loop type affixer so as to fit snugly about an ice pop, foil-wrapped burrito, hotdog, or other food item.

FIGS. 3A and 3B show an embodiment of the present invention similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, but with the mating pieces of hook-and-loop type affixer placed longitudinally along the rectangular piece of insulating material. By placing the affixer longitudinally, the apparatus is adjustable to fit food items of more varying circumferences. The apparatus is able to be tightened around a smaller frozen ice pop, as well as a larger, foil-wrapped hotdog.

FIG. 4A shows another embodiment of the present invention. Here, both mating pieces of a hook-and-loop type affixer 12 and 16 are attached on the same side of the rectangular piece of flexible, insulating material 18. In this embodiment, the apparatus can be wrapped around the uncomfortably cold, or hot, food item, and the ends affixed together with the mating pieces of a hook-and-loop type affixer so that the ends protrude somewhat from the food item, as shown in FIG. 4B.

In FIG. 5, insulating material, such as neoprene, is sewn together to form a cylinder 22 with an opening at both the top 24 and bottom 26 to allow for insertion of a food item, such as a long, cylindrical ice pop 28, into the cylinder of insulating material. The substantially cylindrical shaped insulating apparatus fits snugly around the midsection of the ice pop.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a substantially cylindrical insulating apparatus, not shown, has a bottom made of the same flexible, insulating material. In this embodiment, the food item, such as an ice pop, can be seated in the bottom of the apparatus and moved upward out of the apparatus as the consumption of the ice pop, or other food item, is consumed.

There are many types of affixers known in the art that may be substituted for the hook-and-loop type affixer in any of the embodiments shown herein. Zippers and hook-and-eye type affixers would both be acceptable substitutions for the hook-and-loop type affixer shown in the embodiments of the present invention.

Thereby, apparatus, and an associated method, are provided for holding and insulating a food item that is too hot or too cold to be held comfortably by bare hands. The consumer's hands are separated from the too cold or too hot food item by insulating material that allows the consumer to carry the food item without discomfort from the temperature of the food.