MashTop

In April of this year I posted an article proposing the concept of a novel range of mashed potato based take away outlets, arguing that it was more healthy and offered greater choice than traditional burger, curry and fish & chips franchises.

I even attempted to differentiate my idea by suggested a slight change in the packaging of the take away product by proposing a circular polystyrene container.  However this change is not radical enough.  It still has the unpopular use of a one time wasteful box.  So I set about attempting to find a solution to appease environmentally minded people.

I found a solution to this by merging two traditional take away ideas – Fast food and ice cream.

I propose the uniquely novel idea of a brand new food product which I have called The MashTop.

The Mashtop complete
The original concept for a MashTop showing the edible cone cut away revealing a tasty sweet internal treat

The basic concept is a scoop of mashed potato atop an edible wafer cone.

With the mashed potato top additional elements can be added to complete a tasty meal such as the use of frankfurters shown in the adjacent close up photograph.

Other toppings could include slices of various cooked or processed meats or even fish fingers.  Samples are shown within the banner photograph above.

Carrots, baked beans or sprinklings of peas could be vegetarian options or even be included with the meats.

Toppings could include peppers, gravy or selected sauces.

The other novel concept, which really sets this idea apart from what is already available, is the hidden sweet treat internally held within the cone.

The large photograph shows a filling of red jelly with chunks of dark chocolate and a Malteser plug.  But many other mixes could be added such as illustrated by the banner photograph.

Other sweets could be utilised such as Smarties, Jelly Babies, chocolate raisins or maybe healthier options like apple, orange segments or grapes.

The major benefit of The MashTop is the complete lack of environmental waste because the toppings, internal contents and the ‘container’, the wafer cone itself, are all edible.

Additional benefits include ease of use, convenience, the ability for customers to select their own choice of fillings and being quick enough to prepare to be called fast food.

As the original designer and so first user of this concept I am uniquely qualified to report on the success or otherwise of this concept.

For the purpose of this article I simply used products that are easily available at large supermarkets and I used no more ‘cooking’ than boiling a kettle.

I used a freeze dried potato mash option and warmed the frankfurters by emptying the water from a tin and adding boiled water.

With more effort in a full kitchen fresh potatoes could be peeled, boiled and mashed but the end result would look little different.

Because I like the way I prepared the food I was personally satisfied with the taste and texture of the mash based topping.

It was as easy to eat as a classic ice cream and didn’t spill anywhere.

The interaction between the mash, frankfurters and the room temperature cone was admittedly a bit unusual because this is not the normal way of consuming food.  However it was perfectly acceptable.

The only change I would make is a thicker wafer cone as the moisture from the mashed potato was easily absorbed around the cone perimeter.  This would be less likely the quicker the product was consumed.  Alternate thicker, stronger cones were not available in the supermarket that I used.

The internal treats were lovely as expected and no such differentiation between the cone and sweet filling was experienced.

When reselecting a different more substantial cone I would also seek a larger size.  The standard small cone wasn’t able to accommodate much filling and the mashed potato based topping was only a small meal.  Ideal for a snack between meals or for children but probably not enough for a main lunchtime meal.  Maybe cone size options could be offered at the retail outlet.

Overall I feel the product has serious potential as a new fast food option.

A complete meal in a take away cone.  Two courses, no waste

Do you like this idea?  Perhaps you have some comments.  The idea is not patented and therefore free to use.  Try it.  Enjoy it.  Sell it.  Sell millions.  Make millions.  Thank me later.

And finally if you think I haven’t also thought of serving other fast food meals such as burgers in a wafer box then you really don’t understand the breadth of my inventiveness.  Another great idea, just dropped in as an afterthought?  You’re welcome.

Author: Vince Poynter

The header image is a compilation of eleven photographs showing the concept of the MashTop product, along with the author holding one of the cones, taken by the author and his wife on 23 Sep 2017
The additional image is a close up of a cutaway MashTop, taken by the author on 23 Sep 2017
I had the idea of mashed potato based fast food outlets a few years ago but only publicly posted this as an idea in April 2019
The idea of the MashTop was fully developed by me by 2017, as can be seen from the date of the photographs. This article is the first WordPress airing of the idea, it was initially published on my web site under http://vinceunlimited.co.uk/mashtop.htm on 11 July 2019. Had I created the article immediately and not spent ages updating my web site as a vehicle for such thoughts I suspect that by now there would have been a sea change of fast food container use and as a result there would be no plastics found in our environment, Polar Bears would have been brought back from near extinction and David Attenborough would be having a nice quiet retirement. For this delay Mr Attenborough and all Polar Bears I am sorry

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Ring-o-Mash

I seem to come up with several ideas including many for businesses across many sectors.  Occasionally my mind has to bat them off because they come at me so furiously at times.

And they appear suited to a variety of places but the best need to be sustainable.  After all, in commerce, why sell one of something to someone when there are options to sell and resell and resell all over again to customers.

The best business example of this is of course the food industry.

But the food industry is as mature as a stock of forgotten Stilton.  And often as impenetrable as a stock of forgotten Edam.  However I must stop these silly cheese based analogies to concentrate my best business brain cell on finding a chink in this already well developed market.

So let’s take a look at who does best here.

The most successful must be the high volume, massive turnover, big brand supermarkets.  Unfortunately to take on these giants would take a lifetime of hard work originating from a small base and this is where my forte falls unfortunately short.  By about thirtee-nyne.

The next most successful food based businesses must be the big brand burger and chicken establishments and it is here I see a possible way to sneak a crack into the firmament.

You see these fast food emporiums concentrate mainly on the meat part of the meat and two veg combo.  A burger outlet will mainly offer burger and fries or burger with salad or even burger alone.  The chicken outlets do the same only replacing the term burger with the phrase fried chicken.  And the Asian variants do the same this time invariably leading with the curried meat.  Even the original fast food outlet in this country leads with fish and whatever.

What is missing is the option in these places to vary the ‘meaty’ or ‘fishy’ bit.  So, I think it’s time to lead with the chips.

I could propose a chips shop, offering chips with fish, chips with burger or chips with chicken, all within one establishment.  But chips are as unhealthy as fries so let’s drop the whole frying thing and offer a simpler, basic potato option.

My proposal is to start a chain of take away food outlets with the emphasis on the potato.  And as jacket potato outlets already exist and new potatos are inconsistent and have a habit of rolling all over the place I suggest trying the mashed potato option.

Imagine a smart new food outlet headlined by a healthy, tasty mashed potato choice.  With a variety of additional side extras from meats like burgers and chops, via sausages to curries and stews.  Plus a variety of vegatable choices such as peas, carrots, beans etc.  All topped as desired with butter, black pepper, gravy or sauces.

Mashed potato is simple to produce, there are automated potato peeling machines, and cooking is a simple boiling and mechanised mashing procedure.  The product can even be mass produced in a remote location, freeze dried, easily stored and transported then enlivened by simply adding boiling water.

To further identify this idea from other more established branding and presentation I envisage that mashed potato based take aways should be offered on a circular platter with the non-mash options added within the circle.

Ring o Mash take away
An illustration to show how a take away serving of a Ring-o-Mash, served with sausages and peas, might look.  Note the unique circular design of the polysterene container

This design would help with containment of any looser items such as peas and for liquids such as gravy during transit.

Additionally the design has some familiarity, resembling the classic rice and curry presentation and allows for simple mixing prior to consumption.  In fact the brand Ring-o-Mash was inspired by such a take away design concept.

This concept would be unique, tasty, healthy and could be marketed as suitable for vegetarians, vegans, followers of halal choices or those with allergies.

Setting up a business like this would be relatively simple.  As a basic cottage industry it could be started from home, providing you have a working kitchen.  And on a more industrial scale the concept could be expanded or franchised.

And the best bit is that it is premiered right here.

So are you looking for a new business idea?  Do you have the skills to set this up?  The necessary food hygine certification?  The kettle?  If so please feel free to go for it.

I only ask that you show credit where credit is due by acknowledging me as the person who came up with this idea.  And for about 3% of turnover when you are established in more than three counties.

And a free lunch on Wednesdays.  Because I love mash.  Covered in sprinkled cheese.

Author: Vince Poynter

From the Ideas and Food sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 16 Apr 2019
The header image is an original sketch drawn by the author to illustrate how a new mashed potato outlet might look on the high street
The additional image is an original sketch drawn by the author to illustrate how a ‘ring of mash’ take away meal comprising mashed potato, sausages and peas might look if presented in a uniquely designed circular polystyrene take away box

Cucumber Campaign

From the vinceunlimited Blog dated 6 Feb 2011

At first all the cucumber aficionados reading this will be salivating at the thought that there is to be a Cucumber campaign.  No doubt the thought of selfless promotion of their favourite green cylindrical vegetable will drive them wild with excitement.  But this campaign is to reduce their use.  I hate the things and I am fed up with them turning up uninvited in my sandwich rolls.

For the last few years we have been constantly droned on at to eat more healthily and my relatively recent contribution is to engage full on with the salad world.  Well, when I say full on I don’t mean the whole banana.  I don’t relish radishes, crave cress or press for peppers but I have taught myself the art of enjoying a little bit of lettuce, providing it’s not masquerading as that rocket/garden weed nonsense.  And I have always liked tomato and egg so with a bit of proper food [i.e. meat] I can handle a salad sandwich from time to time.

The trouble is the purveyors of such delicatessen insist on chucking as much ingredients into their wares as possible and this usually includes an obligatory slice of Cucumis Sativus.  No doubt using two thin slices of this cheap creeping vine pod appeals to their sense of value but for me it’s strong flavour just stains the rest of the sandwich and puts me off purchase.  And don’t go telling me that they hardly taste of anything as they are 90% water because if that is the case don’t bother adding them in the first place.

My main issue is that nobody really likes these things.  My misses claims to like cucumber but not once have I seen her purchase one for snack consumption.  Despite the easy natural packaging no one eats a cucumber in the street, such as happens with apples and bananas for instance.

You may think why pick on the cucumber?  After all in a similar way the tomato is not universally appreciated yet this is added to salad rolls for presumably the same reason and people don’t eat them in the street.  The answer is in the design of the tomato.  It may have the same convenient outer packaging as a cucumber but it packs a surprise squish inside rendering it impossible to eat anywhere except leaning over a sink.  So totally unsuitable for street snacking.  And to reinforce the positives of a tomato it adds a new and exciting colour to a salad sandwich.  Cucumber’s just ape the green of the lettuce that’s already there.  Plus I like tomatoes.

So lets ditch the cucumber.  The most pointless addition to a sandwich ever.

Apart from sweetcorn of course.  That nasty little cancer gets everywhere.  Try buying a salad or pasta snack in your local supermarket and there it is.  Little yellow bits of stinking pus-pebbles ruining every dish and impossible to remove without tweezers and a sieve.  Tastes even stronger and twice as sickly than crappy cucumber.  And for some reason always added to otherwise delicious tuna offerings.  What is this stupid fish/corn-cob relationship based on?  As far as I know nothing in the natural world that David Attenborough has ever enlightened us about despite an almost obsessive annual BBC series on the subject.  I adore tuna.  Tuna is good for me.  Sweetcorn makes me puke.  Why stop at Tunacorn?  Why not just go the whole hog and pointlessly insist on adding dandelion leaves to every smoked salmon slice?

Or better still why not make things simpler?  Sandwiches, rolls, baps, tacos, submarines and pittas should only contain one ingredient.  An obvious main ingredient, such as the meat, or for those vaginatarians say an egg.  Then also on display at the same point should be the personal add ons, such as lettuce, tomato and [if you really insist] cucumber, sweetcorn and dandelion.  The user could add these extras at will and build a sarnie to their precise taste and health requirements.

Yes, I am aware that the Subway sandwich chain already take this approach but why not our local supermarket, corner shop or garage forecourt?

Lettuce start the Cucumber Campaign today.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Opinions section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 29 Aug 2018
First published within the Blog on 6 Feb 2011

Kangafood

Had a late lunch with the wife’s family to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday.

We made our now seemingly monotonously regular trip to The Otter at Otterborne.

Personally I always see a typically dingily lit Public House with grimy floor and facilities and a smattering of unwelcoming angry looking bar locals.  However, the in-laws only see the back restaurant and seem to like the food.

Here the Otter does well and surprisingly serves a quite exotic menu.

Often I’ll order the Ostrich Steak but like so many other things today this was off the menu.

The waitress offered kangaroo, which I jumped at.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Food section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 30 Jul 2018
From an entry in MyDiary dated 18 Jan 2010
First published in the vinceunlimited.co.uk website in Mar 2010

Coloured Chocolate

Colourscrumptious

For years my favourite colour was brown.  Even now I cannot decide on a suitable replacement.

Red seems so obvious and more interesting colours like burnt orange are too obscure and would mean I would spend all my time explaining why I chose that hue.

But brown is considered so bland.  It is the colour of the country when all the lovely greenery gets trampled and the washed out colour that multiple shades of plasticine turn to when mixed.

Mind you, real fresh conkers are the most beautiful tone…of brown.  And brown is the colour of chocolate, one of the best discoveries man ever made.

Chocolate is traditionally brown presumably due to the natural colouration of its main constituent, the cocoa bean.  But most other foodstuffs can be coloured so why not chocolate?

And I know by now you are probably screaming at the screen that white chocolate is as common as the Milky Bar Kid in a top ten list of cheesy, spectacled children in TV adverts.  But one alternative, sickly option is hardly a rainbow of choice.

Why can’t we buy red, blue or even purple chocolate?

Why isn’t a Terrys Chocolate Orange orange?

Terry's Chocolate Orange
A Terry’s Chocolate Orange.  The rare brown version

Kids would go crazy for the new hues, tempting them back into a snack that has been increasingly sidelined due to the modern obsession with skinny [I think chubby oiks are like that due to lack of exercise more than bad diet].

So Cadburys, Nestle, Terrys et al get your cochineal out and colour that choc.

Incidentally, I’ll know when my idea has fully matured.  Not when I can get strawberry chocolate in red but when I can specify my own shade.

And at that point I’ll choose fresh conker.  A gorgeous mix of browns.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas and Food sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 5 Jun 2018
First Published:
 Version 2.03 in Apr 2006

Food For Thought

Continuation of the posting of early ‘blogs’ from the vinceunlimited website

I purchased a Pot Noodle from Tesco today.

This is not a regular thing now but I used to have one or two when they were first introduced.

This quite unremarkable fact would have gone unreported, even in my detailed blog, other than the fact behind me in the queue was a chef.  I knew this fact from his dirty, white, wrap-around top and silly check trousers.

He saw my Pot Noodle and I could see his mind visibly sighing.

He was buying a pile of fresh ingredients and I’m sure was about to produce a masterclass in scrumptious eating.

My sad fast food option was clearly letting the side down.

However, I did think that if this chef was clever enough to have thought up the concept of my humble snack he wouldn’t be in Tesco now looking down his nose.

It tasted delicious.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 26 Apr 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 21 Sep 2005
The photograph shows the author tucking into a Pot Noodle and was taken around 1985.  It was added to the website on 26 Apr 2018

Pod 016 Ingreedyents

Tah Dah! Another episode of the ingenious podcast from the stables of the vinceunlimited branding corporation.

In this audio log Vince gets bored and dissects the detailed ingredients list on the back of a packet.

Any resemblance to reality must of course be tempered with the historic facts previously issued in this series.

But fun all the same.

Just press play to enjoy this latest podcast written and performed by Vince because if you just sit there staring at the screen it won’t do it for you.

This podcast was produced by Vince on a harpsichord using the Blackberry Playbook email App. If you wish to receive this podcast series automatically you are indeed a sad case.

Pod 016 Ingreedyents