Monday, 4 March 2013

Couch Potatoes

In my freshman food policy seminar we've been talking lately about all the insidious ways the food industry designs and markets new products. Mostly junk food, convenience food and products purporting to confer health benefits. We agree in general that they're addictive, designed to make you overeat, and they are ingeniously advertised to trigger a wide array of emotions including fear, guilt, lust, competition. I thought it would be fun to have the students design their own products. They came up with things like snortable powdered soda for budding coke fiends, a men's weigh loss product in the form of hot sauce that contains parasitic nematodes that eat your food while inside you. I love that one. But another really hit home. It was one student's idea inititally but we all sort of ran away with it.

So, imagine a food designed to be hand held, to eat in front of the TV, on your computer, while gaming. It looks exactly like a small potato, and more or less is. But inside is a full savory meal. The potato is already mashed and within there might be turkey and gravy, roast beef and onions, ham and cheese. They're shelf stable until microwaved, in an ingenious egg carton like container, so you eat several and they can be placed on a table without rolling away. Maybe a four pack. Great for parties too, because a finger food. I was about to make a prototype this weekend, but then hesitated. DO I make it in an actual scooped out potato, so it would be more or less like a stuffed baked potato? Advantage: your hands stay clean and it looks exactly like a potato. OR do I make a potato shaped croquette and deep fry it? Crunchier exterior, but hands a little greasy. And making sure they don't collapse might be a problem. But the latter sounds tastier.

What do you you think? Couch potatoes with the skin or without?

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