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New Hobbies

So far this has not resulted in bruises, grazes, or death, but there’s always time:

Those aren’t convention quads – that would be too sensible, and I already have a cheap pair of those … somewhere in my house – but these:

Skorpion Skates

Skorpion Quadline Street Skates

My justification is that they’re commuter skates and there’s a 1 mile commute between my station and my workplace, but my actual reason is “WHEE!”

It’s amazing, they’re like skateboards for each foot and they look so stupid and I fell into a hedge today.

There’s a glorious circularity to this. It was windy, I clutched the Resident Australian nervously by the hand as she wandered along with a large Canon camera around her neck, occasionally snapping photos when I wasn’t clutching at her. I was wearing skates that strapped on over my shoes.

Basically the same as a couple of decades ago, when I clumped along Plymouth Hoe for a few hours in the wind and an anorak, Fisher-Price skates over my shoes, and my mother occasionally taking photos with the (analogue) Canon around her neck.

Sunnier today, though.

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New Print All Over Me

New products on my POAM account:

Click through to see in more detail

The shoes are only available for a very limited time, though. Hurry hurry!

Filed under: content: artwork, , , , , , , , , , ,

Packetsu Part 2: The Linkening

Wait, more on Packetsu?

Yes, more on Packetsu. Trawling through invention listings at frightening o’clock in the morning has gifted me with a number of discoveries, which either make the business of packetsu more feasible, or fit into the general theme.

This printer recycles plastic bottles. Perfect for cheap packaging. You could even print your own Packetsu containers at home with downloaded blueprints.

Edible cupcake wrappers. Edible wrapping is a definite factor in Packetsu. It reduces waste and means you’re getting more food for your money!

Plastic which biodegrades in two weeks. Again, perfect for comparatively guilt-free Packetsu packaging.

Edible anti-bacterial film. Absolutely 100% perfect for food wrapping in Packetsu, especially for meat or fresh veg components. Could be a real game-changer in terms of fresher elements in Packetsu, and you can eat it so no waste!

And staying on the theme of edible packaging – edible water bottle!

But how will you eat your packetsu concoctions? Why, with edible spoons, of course!

And then I Blue Petered it:

The stock pot (left) has since been replaced with an Oxo cube as they dissolve more quickly, although in general powder would be best.

The stock pot (left) has since been replaced with an Oxo cube as they dissolve more quickly, although in general powder would be best.

Another packetsu experiment: fish stock cube, vegetable stock cube, dried smoked squid, dried seaweed, soy sauce (in a fish-shaped bottle because there's a theme).

Another packetsu experiment: fish stock cube, vegetable stock cube, dried smoked squid, dried seaweed, soy sauce (in a fish-shaped bottle because there’s a theme).

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BurgerBurger, A Concept Brought To You By Insomnia

Everyone is, I assume, already aware of the bitter burger battles. Waged between ones’ friends, the apparently ceaseless and bemusing as hell wrangle over In ‘N Out vs Habit burger joints has spilled out of California where it belongs and spread to encompass Five Guys, as typified by a spread in A Popular Marvel Comics Title which had Clint Barton and Spider-man squabbling about the relative burger benefits. Even a Kiwi friend of mine has pitched in, blurting that Murder Burger is the best selection of additions to a patty of minced meat that the planet can offer.

I’m growing kind of tired of burger chains. Years ago I was briefly excited by the first Byron Burger place, because the burgers were genuinely a cut above the usual glurge, and Hache’s gourmet burgers are worthwhile, but since then everything has either been “okay” or “why are you wasting my time with this rubbish”, and nothing has lived up to the hysterical Twitter hype.

Recent months have seen the aforementioned spat movement into comics, a disappointing visit to the much-lauded Shakeshack in Covent Garden, and a report from Delightful Boyfriend that Five Guys was “nothing to write home about”. I’ve quizzed the sparring Californians (North vs South, of course) and the Kiwi and the other burger noisemakers and much to my perennial disgust have discovered that none of them are even arguing about the burgers.

They’re arguing about the “fixings”. The accoutrements. About Animal Style. About beetroot. About sauces. About, in short, Not-Burger. Personally when I’m squandering precious calories on burger, what I care about is the burger, but this kind of meat puritanism is, I am assured, the province of Beard Hipsters With Stupid Tattoos Who Care Too Much About Cow Lineage.

This suits me, as but for the shocking lack of testosterone and agricultural college qualifications, I am a Beard Hipster With Stupid Tattoos Who Cares Too Much About Cow Lineage.

Tuesday night my brain/melatonin levels hadn’t quite recovered from the rigours of a week on night shift being disappointed by the national press in exchange for coins, and I was awake between the hours of 1am and 5am inclusive, pondering the nature of existence and, repeatedly, burgers.

Pop Up London

A thing has happened in recent years, to my city.

The rents have turned into the kind of deranged joke that boggles the fucking mind and which ought to be left on April Fool’s along with ideas like “UKIP Majority”; it’s murdering Chinatown, done away with Food For Thought (a forty-year-old vegetarian restaurant in Seven Dials), and will probably hasten the end of Soho if property developers and Crossrail don’t nail the coffin shut first.

Because the denizens of this rat hole are historically enterprising and inventive people, we’ve gotten around the impossibility of renting a permanent food-making space without being an actual nation with our own GDPs each, and done it by acquiring an unceasing flow of pop-up eateries.

Here one day, gone in about three months, they rock up in warehouse spaces and converted double-decker buses, in food stalls and markets, out of the back of cars, on scooters. The foodie militia. The concept corps. They’ve come and they’ve pushed Gloucester Old Spot sausages with silly names and vegan brownies that you can only find once a month and everything has a tie-in blog and half of them have an app and all of it requires more organisation than someone like me can muster.

On the one hand, I applaud wholeheartedly the response to the rent bullshit and the problem of money in this city (the problem being almost all of it is in the hands of complete pricks); there’s an adventurous feeling in blundering through rows of stalls in an alleyway in search of comestibles new, a victorious pioneer sensation in uncovering some new delicious vendor. However – and I realise this is very fuddy and non East-London of me (because I don’t live in East London) – sometimes I want to eat the same thing twice.

I’d like to be able to take a leisurely approach to eating, or take an occasional visitor to the metropolis out for dinner to somewhere I know is good and have it still be there. Leisurely is, now, expensive. Haste is cheap. Well, cheaper. This is, after all, one of the most expensive places on earth.

Frustrating though the pop-up scourge occasionally is, it is exactly the right low-risk climate for what I have in mind regarding burgers. Maybe the space in Granary Square that recently hosted the Winter Sun bar.

Mongolian Barbecue, Tiger Lil’s, Have It Your Own Bloody Way

It seems to have gone out of fashion now, but about ten years ago there was a time-slot approach to all-you-can-eat buffet cooking. You took your bowl, you dumped whatever you wanted from a vast line of options into it, and you left it with a cook, who either shovelled it across a hot plate with massive flat knives at the Mongolian Barbecue, or pranged it about a wok at Tiger Lil’s. You gorged yourself, and you went back for more as many times as you physically could in your two-hour time slot.

The possibilities were endless. Customisability at its height, the choice economy in glorious food formation. I think I put on about three stone in one evening.

BurgerBurger; Hipster Pop-up Meat Heaven

The background laid, here is the brief:

I want a fully-customisable, assembly-line burger place that focusses on the meat. I want to be able to go in and make my selection from a variety of bowls of naked mince (lean, fatty, extra lean), of different meats (beef, pork, ostrich, kangaroo, llama), of different breeds (longhorn, Hereford, Highland), to different amounts (small, medium, large, custom-charged-by-weight). To be able to set how much egg is used to bind it (or what egg substitute), what is added to the patty (onions, capers, chives, spices, chopped garlic), then select how I want it cooked (rare, medium, well done, basically-steak-tartare, cinderblock, no-thanks-just-bag-it-i’ll-cook-it-myself-at-home), then a bun (plain white, wholemeal, granary, ciabatta, brioche, gluten-free, tortilla, no thanks), then hot toppings (egg, bacon, portabello mushroom), then cold toppings (salad leaves of several types, tomato, gherkin, cheese of several types, beetroot, pineapple, cucumber, whatever). Then take the damn paid-for construction to a sauce table for eating-in (ketchup, relish, mustard, mayonnaise, djionnaise, that disgusting liquid cheese people like, ranch, salad cream, hoisin) or squirted in before it’s dumped in a bag.

I mean you can go somewhere else for fries. Get your stupid can of Coke from the fridge. But I think it is a bit weird that there’s all these Exciting Burger Chains that are fixated on fixings, crazy about chips, mental over their milkshakes, and not one of these fuckers that I’ve seen has taken the obvious, sensible route of ensuring their burger is brilliant before they start plastering it in everything else. Where is my red-centred tennis-ball of Special Cow Parts?

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A Little Tootle On My Own Trumpet

I’m sure it is gauche to link to one’s own reviews but I am equally sure that I don’t get many reviews and this one is lovely:

Brown Bread, Boys, reviewed by Laura Munro.

Brown Bread, Boys is available to buy on Lulu.com and Amazon.

Filed under: books, content: links, content: review, , , , , , ,

Experimental Cooking Jive

A couple of days ago, I adapted an online recipe for “Sprite Zero Cake”, and pushed one of the resulting very springy, slightly bready, slightly sticky but perfectly acceptable cakes onto Delightful Boyfriend. The man in question inserted one into his face hole and declared it “all right”, because boarding school has destroyed his taste forever and what it hasn’t broken his staggering addiction to hot sauce has pretty much finished off.

Then I told him what was in it (no butter), and what I planned to replace next time to reduce the calories further (sugar replaced with sukrin), to which he made a face and said “It sounds pretty joyless to me.”

I believe I said something curt about him enjoying it before he knew what it was, but really the fun in these things is at least as much from the challenge as from the food itself.

On that note, welcome to further adventures in Teaching Myself To Cook. I’ve included some experiments, which I probably could just have looked up online, but as I prefer to find things out for myself by doing them, that didn’t happen. If you’re more reading-oriented these might be useful, I don’t know.

Raspberry & Vanilla Sugar “tea”.

I bought some raspberry powder on a whim a while back and it has made a sterling flavour addition to yogurt, fromage frais, and occasionally cream cheese ever since; I bought vanilla sugar on an even bigger whim and it makes terrific icing.

Night shift requires no further tea after about 4am in order to be able to sleep, and while I have decaf tea sometimes I want something hot that doesn’t even pretend to be tea. I hate herbal teas because they invariably taste of cardboard (pro-tip: stop bulking up your tea bags with hibiscus seeds, you asshats), rather than what they smell of.

Chiming with the Packetsu philosophy, I dumped 1/4 of a teaspoon of vanilla sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of raspberry powder into a sachet and while the end result contained a certain amount of flavoursome sludge at the bottom, it was delicious and hot and tasted of raspberries and the sludge yielded another half cup.

Flour?

I acquired a sack of gram flour because I’d heard it contained fewer calories than wheat flour (which it does, marginally) and nowhere seems to sell it in smaller quantities than “sack”, so after a lengthy period of suspicion and indolence I have begun experimenting with how gram flour (made from chickpeas) holds up against wheat flour.

The major discovery was that gram flour takes up water much more effectively so you don’t need as much, or you end up with a very sticky dough. The obvious is that gram flour isn’t as elastic as wheat flour and it doesn’t rise as much, but makes a surprisingly good flat biscuit.

gram/wheat flour mix base with cumin, spinach powder, garlic, and black pepper.

gram/wheat flour mix base with cumin, spinach powder, garlic, and black pepper.

That by the way is a quail egg, to give you an idea of scale. This was a 2/3rds gram to 1/3rd wheat base, and the end result – cooked for about 15 minutes – was a firm, snappy biscuit rendered a little softer where the tomato paste was.

The results of further experiments with flour:

I had a hypothesis and I colour-coded my baking with food colouring. REAL SCIENCE.

(PINK)

Oven pancake (1 tsp gram flour, 1 quegg, 1 tsp milk, baking powder,
to scale up to a hen egg/suitable quantity of egg substitute use 1
tbsp instead of tsp) would make good topping for something but not
good base, a bit rubbery.

(BLUE)

plain gram flour base (1 tbsp gram flour, baking powder) does not
need much water – less than 1/2 a tsp – and needs to be spread
smoothly like a paste not a dough onto the baking tray/muffin hole.

(YELLOW)

gram/wheat (2 tsp gram, 1 tsp wheat) needs more water (1.5 tsp) and
rises more, is rougher on top than the plain gram flour, with less
water might make a serviceable dough.

All need salt.

I made a second attempt at pizza base dough:

you can make perfectly serviceable dough balls with gram flour
instead of wheat flour – a little denser but not perceptibly. (i
coloured the wheat flour with spinach powder this time to differentiate from the gram).
needs a different water ratio – 1 tbsp of gram flour takes 0.75 tsp of
water as opposed to 0.5 of a tbsp with 1 tbsp of wheat flour – but
you get a nice dough from that which makes 2 x mini dough balls
(then just scale up i guess) and also if you squash it flat and fry
it briefly in a reasonable amount of oil for a very short time on
each side: chapati.

The exchange there is from emails to Scientist Friend On Hiatus, who is also vegan and gluten-intolerant, and therefore likely to be interested in ways of making food that don’t egg or wheat.

Yesterday I made Traffic Light Mini Naan, coloured with spinach powder, tumeric (and garlic), and paprika. I remembered the salt. They were fantastic.

Baking Fail

Having succeeded in the Accidental Biscuit Pizza Base (which was pretty nice and a good way of eating pizza), I decided to have a go at some Deliberate Biscuits using a similar recipe. Wheat flour, gingerbread spices, and Stevia to replace sugar.

Let me say this: don’t do the thing with the Stevia. Use a sugar substitute intended for baking. What I got were rock-hard and all the spices had granulated into dark spots. I mean, they tasted okay, but they were very much not biscuits.

Parting Shots

Spending a lot of time on slow nights at work reading recipes which are of an increasingly paleo/gym lunatic variety, trying to find a balance between “author is mad and just listing health benefits no food can actually bestow” and “food is actually four million calories and being described as healthy because an apple looked at it once”, I wandered across some recipes for treats and the like which didn’t have the restraining factor of “I am trying not to consume more energy in a day than the ISS uses in a year”. Most of them, which might previously have appealed to me, now look thoroughly gross. Or, as described to a friend:

after changing my eating habits a lot of the things that I
previously considered delicious now taste greasy and disgusting (i
can’t actually say this on most social media for fear of being
yelled at for… changing my tastes? being entirely non-judgemental
about what everyone else is eating? i don’t know, but man people
will yell if you express a preference that is out of line with
theirs)

Which means that whenever someone talks about what a chore it is to replace, for example, Reese’s with raspberries, I just find myself a tiny bit alienated… and a tiny bit worried that if I mention preferring raspberries I’m about to get shouted at for being “smug”. I know there are people who will bang on and on about the benefits of eating nothing but raw food (I grew up with a borderline orthorexic); but the immediate response of “liar” or “smug cunt” to “actually I like X” is one of those modern tribalist things I really don’t understand.

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Origami Clothing

The main themes of my stupid unintended design week are of course convenience, portability, and “why are you so obsessed with travel gear, you never go anywhere”, the latter of which is a question revolving to a certain degree around a permanent fear of homelessness. [Solutions which aren’t, alas “more social housing”]

Back in my more venturesome days, when I had the flexibility, Young Person’s Railcard, and high number of friends at different universities that made it less imprudent to abandon things at a moment’s notice and get on a train to wherever for the privilege of getting drunk and sleeping on someone’s floor, I packed absurdly light. My major concessions to hygiene were to stuff into the pockets of a very large pair of Cyberdog trousers a pair of clean pants, a toothbrush, and some deodorant. Admittedly during the same time period my major food group was “vodka” and the major export of the State of Del was “bad decisions”, somewhat linked to that particular foodgroup.

On the occasions that I’ve needed to take a change of clothes anywhere more recently I’ve been wildly indignant about how much space the wretched things take up, requiring me to do things like “bring a suitcase” on planes or “have a bag with me” when I don’t feel like it. The Cyberdog trousers, with their crisp-packet texture and eight enormous pockets, are long dead.

Exploration into the world of garment bags and packing assists along those lines has been fruitful but insufficient: while I like being able to mash an outfit into a small case and chuck a series of small cases into a bigger bag, I feel more can be done, and the existence of the cases themselves seems cumbersome. After five years at boarding school and various wildlife camp weekends (I am a cool kid, a very cool kid) I’d say I’m relatively adept at wrangling clothing into the most efficient configurations, but sometimes you really do not WANT to spend time turning each t-shirt into a spiral with a balled-up pair of undergrunts in the middle.

T-shirts are also the least of my worries. They condense down small. They compress logically. They’re made of jersey, which is cooperative in the “taking any shape without being a nuisance” stakes.

Recently I bought a Matador, because I live my life on gift and gadget websites and have been misguidedly given control over my own finances under the shaky idea that I am in some way a responsible adult rather than a poorly-contained bundle of impulses who, by the way, bought 7 books on T E Lawrence in under 3 minutes last week. Who allows me to have a debit card and why?

The relevance is this: the Matador is a very thin water-resistant nylon blanket with fold lines and an attached pouch. Condensing down to the approximate size of a wallet, it spreads out to cover enough ground that two adults can comfortably lie down on it. This is, of course, magical. And also enticing. Thin, light, water-resistant fabric which is already shown to take up less than no space and to weigh nothing – I’ve been carrying it in my pocket for a couple of weeks and it’s a damn sight lighter than the wallet full of USB drives, spare change, and soy sauce bottles I insist on keeping in the hip pocket.

Also, attached pouch.

I’m hoping that, if I can get my hands on some of this fabric, I’ll be able to replicate this level of compression and convenience as a pair of trousers, or at least shorts. In the meantime, I intend to test the idea with jersey, since I’ve got some knocking around and, unlike everything else that’s come up in Oops It’s Design Week I Guess, I CAN sew and design clothing. CAD and 3D printing may be beyond me. Dehydrating and powdering food definitely are. I can’t fund a housing project. But I can probably make a pair of shorts with one pocket that is an inverted storage pouch, perfect for flipping the whole garment into, yanking on some drawstrings, and transforming “fuck, my clothes are everywhere” to “I have a couple of small bundles that will fit in my jacket pocket” in seconds.

But why stop with these shorts? I mean, shorts are wonderful, and I want these to exist in lightweight fabric for reasons besides convenient folding (why are all the shorts I want to buy made out of fabric that is apparently intended to make me sweat to death when every summer it gets above 30C now? I’m English! I can’t handle hot weather! Or cold weather! Or weather!). BUT.

I think there’s scope for a wider range of products. A whole line of origami travel clothing, designed to be shoved into itself and carried with immediate ease, or with a secondary function, and these people clearly already agree with me. See?

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I promise I’m not going to call this “Productsu”

“Productsu” is just the name it has in my notebook.

If you’ve been following this disjointed series of design/concept posts, you’ll have noticed a certain theme besides the letter “P” (which I am about to ruin in the next post anyway). Packetsu and PodLife and indeed to a certain degree Balb are focussed on philosophies like “I don’t have a lot of space” (I live in a one-bedroom flat in London with two other people and my kitchen is roughly the size of a toilet cubicle), “shit could be more convenient than it is”, and “I am going places a lot”.

I spend a frankly unhealthy amount of time looking at travel/camping goods for design purposes, as generally speaking if you’re going to lug something around with you to work (liable to be plunged into the joyless state of eight hours outside of the normal operating time of shops, it’s not like you can just pop out and grab something) it’s better if that thing is small and convenient and tessellates comfortably in the bag you have chosen for its ability to be carried three miles first thing in the morning. Also it shouldn’t be heavy, because three miles, first thing in the morning, after working all night.

This has led to some interesting and useful discoveries and some experimental purchases, most of which have a limited shelf life but are handy while in use. One thing that pains me, though, is the aforementioned bag.

Bags are kind of annoying. I mean, they’re flexible and useful but effectively they’re just a sack you hurl things into in order to lose them. They try to rectify this by having the odd pocket here and there, but that’s just a miniature bag for you to lose smaller things in and forget about as and when.

Also, bags are kind of a discrete unit: you can’t really make the bag smaller to fit the situation, or if you want to take something out and not have that turn into everything slopping around the bottom of a whole even bigger, more empty sack, where you still can’t find anything, and everything is deeply annoying, and stuff shifts around while you’re walking, which is no good for transporting delicate things, and you get thrown off balance if you decide to run anywhere.

You want smaller for your less stuff, you have to buy a whole other bag, which will come with its own set of inconveniences and annoyances. This is some serious stone-age technology. We really have not updated the situation and while I gather that it’s a case of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” —

Bags, man. They’re sort of the least worst solution to the “I need to carry shit” situation.

Packetsu to Productsu

While I was mulling over the possibilities of Packetsu (remember: I work night shift, this is the kind of thing that happens to your brain), it occurred to me that a system of discrete units which can be put together to create something else would work in other areas. For, say, travel. For transporting food and electronics and books and suchlike to work every evening, for example.

I thought wouldn’t it be neat if anything you bought – a top (as they do sometimes in UniQlo and American Apparel come in sealed bags), an iPod, a wallet, a pair of flipflops – really, anything… came with an option to purchase it in an object-fitting water-proof/resistant nylon pouch that exactly fitted the thing. Perhaps padded, for more delicate stuff, but overall the kind of small tough thing you could later roll up and pop in a pocket. And what if that pouch had various attachments/attachment areas that allowed you to, for example, connect it in a number of configurations with any other pouch, as many as you liked, until you had a roll or a mat or a tube or a belt or whatever, and what if every since pouch also had the ability to connect a carabiner or a keyring or some clip on/off straps for over the shoulder or rucksack carrying, or a wrist loop?

And what if you could buy all that shit separately, the way you can buy individual shelves for systems in IKEA?

And what if you could buy waterproof wrappers for when your roll of bags needed protecting more solidly from the elements? And what if you could have stiffer, more durable pouches for more rugged travel? A place for everything, everything in its place, everything transportable via as many ways as is convenient. Heck, have an individual lipstick tube bag. Have a small make-up case bag and wear it like a bandolier. Have each component available separately. Have “Bag/Not Bag” options of any given product. Make life easier, more convenient, and make me spend less time trying to play bag Tetris with a paperback and a travel mug and a fucking umbrella every time I want to get access to a packet of crisps.

Please.


 

Edited to add: An option a little like this but of course without the product-tie in exists. Modular luggage is a step in the right direction, but not far enough!

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Book Bragging!

A break from Inadvertent Design Week, which will continue with Productsu (shut up) and Origami Travel Clothing, to let you all know:

Between the Shores, an anthology in which my story Vine is featured (under the nom-de-smut “Melissa Snowdon”), and which is live on the Kindle Store, is also in the top 100 Books & eBooks for the tag “Bisexual”

Why not buy a copy, and help it to stay there? If you prefer your book in paper form, the publishers have put a discount code on the Createspace edition for you:

You can also tell your fans about a special Createspace discount code we’ve created: 5MQV88KN will take $2 off each book.

I’ll leave the final word on this with the publishers again:

The anthology is now available as an ebook and paperback at many websites, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. A complete list of retailers is available on our blog.

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Concept Design or Philosophy? Packetsu!

Another instalment in what’s turning into Design Week, this is going to be broken up into three sections because it kept expanding and expanding. Whether that’s a sign of a great idea or merely an obsessive mind is up to you.

First things first:

What’s with that name?

It’s a stupid name, I agree. Mainly it stuck because I came up with it in an Itsu, where everything was something-su, and the Resident Australian started referring to my bag full of packets of things as Packetsu, and habit is habit. A better name will, I am sure, occur to someone else.

Yes, but what is it?

Bearing in mind that I have a powerful fascination with the following things:

  • exact measurement of food/calories
  • tidy, exact packaging
  • choice

and that the majority of retailed food items do not manage to allow any of these three things, it occurred to me in the process of making my rice cooker that many instant noodle and rice and so on products could be hugely improved upon by selling the plain item on its own and then selling separate flavour and embellishment (dried beef, dehydrated vegetables) packets cheaply and individually, to allow people to both pick their own flavours on a whim and also mix and match. Choice, you see.

It then occurred that this didn’t really need to be limited to flavour: different sizes for different diets. Multibag buys.

Sounds a bit packaging wasteful.

Except now of course there are endless options for low-impact packaging which makes that concern rather less of an issue. You can make compost with those extra layers, or eat them, or reuse them. The individual packets work well for vending machine culture – endless variations and one slot to dispense them. Preparation pots sold separately, but cheaply. Just add hot water.

Where do you see this going besides the supermarket aisle and the vending machine?

Well they’re terribly convenient in those aspects. Why not corner shops? Why not move on from the savoury rice and noodles and stir-in pasta salads to fresh, vacuum-sealed produce in individual serving sizes (80g bag of peas, vaccuum sealed. Pull the strip to perforate, pop in the microwave. Three veg bags, one potato bag, some fish fillet: a proper meal in the microwave at work with whatever sauces and seasonings and combinations you want instead of the three flavours previously made up by the supermarket cold food section). Why not introduce wallet-sized sachets for emergency spicing-up of snacks at eminently reasonable prices?

Remember that this revolution is already expanded from “just noodles or rice”: The Food Doctor sell couscous pots. Various diet companies have put out bean-chilli pots of the “add hot water” variety, and Itsu do famously delicious massive pots as well as their little crystal noodle ones.

Move on from the savoury to the sweet, even. Muller Corners, hot chocolate sachets, astronaut ice cream, popping candy paper sachets, porridge pots (with dried milk, so all you need to add is water) – the rudiments exist already, and only need to be rejigged to really sell the “mix and match”, “individual”, and “durable” aspects across them all. Porridge can be altered with the substitution of powdered soya milk or similar for the vegan option. The “add your own toppings” deal is already the staple of deli counters and ice-cream bars and the philosophy can be expanded easily into take-away or assemble-yourself.

So the idea is: tiny packets?

Ah, but also a choice between a) specialised containers or b) one all-purpose container: “fill the multi-purpose to the GREEN line with water” etc.

Of course there’s also the possibility for themed containers/cups (Hello Kitty? Rilakkuma? Movie tie-ins?), children’s lines… folding silicone ones for camping…

Tiny packets and containers?

You make it sound so unfulfilling! There are so many options! It’s so convenient! You could go batshit and have raspberry powder and soy sauce and coconut and beef on your tapioca and no one could judge you for it.

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