Monday, June 25, 2007

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Hot Mate

Product Number: 172
How Much: £3.99
Where can I buy one: JML

I’m not sure if another piece of circular plastic exists that packs quite as much intended functionality as the Hot Mate, but I’d be surprised if one did. Designed to solve all of the little niggles you may have from Microwave use (aside from those of you that feel it’s slowly killing us…) it solves three common problems:

The first is that of heat, or more intentionally the problem of having to remove a hot item from the Microwave without burning yourself. Anyone that has ever eaten a Ready Meal with cheese, or spitting vegetables will be all too aware of this problem and that’s where Hot Mate steps in. Despite the name ‘Hot’ Mate it’s actually designed to be heat resistant which means that no matter how long you leave it in the Microwave, you’ll still be able to touch it without feeling the heat.

The logic behind this is that you can simply slip the Hot Mate under your food, warm it up and then remove it by grasping the Hot Mate rather than your food. This is made easier thanks to two handles on the top of the device which you simply prop up before you cook your meal. When the timer pings you simply grab the handles and remove your food in a heat free way. It works too, and although it can’t stop the odd lump of fat from spitting at you, it’s a much easier solution than grasping the edge of a hot container.

Those handles don’t just act as handles either, because it you flip the unit over it will stand up on them. This neat trick means you can pop two meals in the Microwave at once by balancing one on top of the unit and sliding one underneath. With the ‘handles’ in place there’s just enough room to fit a small Microwave meal underneath or a bag of vegetables if you’re feeling in a healthy mood.

On paper this is great functionality, but there’s a real disclaimer that I feel should accompany the pack in this area. When cooking two microwave meals at once there’s a need to cook the food for slightly longer, so as to make sure both items are cooked. Whilst I could pretend to know why this is (Microwave rays being absorbed by two things = less rays?) what I can’t do is tell you the amount of time you’ll need to add. Although some meals do carry instructions if you’re cooking two things they only apply if you’re cooking two of the same things. Great for frozen mini pizza’s then, but for other products you’ll be left trying to recalculate the timings.

Last of all the Hot Mate also uses its heat resistant powers to act as a handy lid for your food. Good news if you’re sick of baked beans flying everywhere, and once the microwave has done its cycle the lid is easy to remove. It’s not a world defining function but it’s an extra use you may not immediately think of.

With three interesting uses the Hot Mate is a handy microwave gadget. It makes a perfect tray, a handy lid and does the job of cooking two meals well, provided you rejig the cooking times. That’s not to mention its use as a frisbee, cake stand, ornament rack…..

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