In a 2004 trend report for a client I identified silicone as one of the most important materials of the future. Able to withstand temperatures of 600 degrees farenheit, Silicone can be used to bake in, lift hot food or pans from the oven, and just in general protect one from heat….in some cases even cool things.
Its use in applications has come a long way since 2004 as evidenced in a review at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago this week of three different companies with 3 different applications and thus ideas on how silicone can be used. I am not here to say which is best only to say we as consumers are in fact the winners:
BODUM using their French coffee and tea press technology but in a stainless steel mug meant for on the go, has wrapped a section in silicone in place of a handle or a cardboard wrap so you can hold the mug comfortably in spite of the heat from that steaming, delicious hot and fresh cup of coffee or tea. Just add course coffee or tea, then hot water, secure the lid, wait four minutes, push down on the plunger and you've got a totally fresh and yummy hot cup of coffee or tea ready to travel with you. Who needs Starbucks? The silicone band is available in a range of fun and timely colors where it's easy to choose one that matches your personality. For more information or even to purchase (available in June) visit Bodum's website at Bodum.com.
Next on the list is ISI North America, the originator of the Orca Mitt introduced in 2004 as a silicone oven mitt. Able to resist high temperatures, the Orca Mitt let you take hot pans and dishes straight from the oven without feeling a bit of the heat, but it was its flexibility as well as its color intensity that captured the imagination. With designers on the task, ISI North America introduced at this year's housewares show the Flex It Set. Using that same flexibility and a thinking man's designer, ISI created a measuring cup set that can be squeezed so you can pour the ingredients into your mixing bowl or pan. Simple, huh? But it's really coming to grips with what silicone is capable of besides withstanding high temperatures. Haven't we as cooks been humbled more than once by the inability of being able to pour directly from the measuring cup into the other thingy? Well, here's our answer.
They've applied that same thinking to a set of "prep" and mixing bowls. There is a grip on the bottom of each bowl that holds it steady but when you pick one up you can squeeze it as well to form a spout, easily pouring what you've mixed into that next container. Coming in intense and fun colors for the kitchen, red, blue, green and white, what's not to love? For more images and more about how the Flex It Set works visit ISI's website at ISINorthAmerica.com.
Last on this list, but far from least, is Fusion Brands. These items come from two quirky but thoughtful designers, Anna and Kraigh Stewart, who understood the usefulness and creativity of silicone as a material along with the new demands on cooking at home while needing to keep things fun. Enter the Ice Orb, a vertical ice cube tray that can keep tubs of dip or spread or a bottle of wine chilled while looking pretty cool itself at the same time, the Foodloop and the Foodloop lace…both silicone, the first is a wrapping tool, the second a trussing tool and both withstand high heat…..hey, with this group a video is worth a thousand words. Time to visit their website, Fusionbrands.com , to get the gist of this creative couple who have only just begun to create.