US 20070051729 A1
A serving container includes a pocket for holding one or more utensils. The pocket can be inside or outside the container. The pocket is formed by a detachably mounted pocket piece that can also include a secondary securing means such as a magnet. The pocket is attached so that the handle of the utensil remains easily accessible to the user.
1. A container for use with one or more serving utensils, the utensils having a serving portion and a handle, comprising:
a container portion; and
a utensil pocket on the container portion for holding primarily the serving portion of the utensil.
2. The container of
3. The container of
4. The container of
5. The container of
6. The container of
7. The container of
8. In a food serving container for which at least one serving utensil is required, the container having an interior, food-holding portion and exterior portion, and the utensil having a serving portion and a handle, the improvement comprising:
a utensil pocket on the container portion for holding the serving portion of the utensil so that the utensil handle is accessible for continued use of the serving container.
9. The pocket of
10. The pocket of
11. The pocket of
This application is a continuation-in-part of provisional application No. 60/714,767, filed Sep. 8, 2005. This invention relates to food containers that are used in conjunction with a serving utensil, including containers such as salad bowls, platters and dishes for serving meats, vegetables, soups, desserts, condiments and the like.
Individuals and the food industry have always sought ways to efficiently serve food without contamination of the food, the container, or any associated serving utensils. Contamination problems can arise when serving utensils are separated from their container. For example, a serving spoon or fork can lay on a dirty surface where the container rests. Another undesirable situation can occur if a serving utensil is handled by someone with, say, a cold or the flu, after which the utensil falls into the container and contaminates the contents of the container with a virus that can spread to others who eat or come in contact with the contents of the container. In other instances, it is desirable to keep the serving utensils separate from the food, to prevent food from getting on the handle of the serving utensil, making it difficult or messy to grip. Another reason to keep serving utensils separate from the food is to prevent the taste of food in one container from being altered by being mixed with the taste of food in another container, should the serving utensils be switched between the containers. It is also desirable to keep the utensil or utensils as part of serving arrangement that includes the serving container.
Various combinations of containers and serving utensils can be seen in the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 269,054 to Hemsteger depicts a spoon holder for a cooking vessel. U.S. Pat. No. 1,607,863 to Betts depicts a combination of a disposable receptacle and spoon for ice cream. Nevertheless, it is desirable to have a serving container with a separate pocket or compartment for one or more serving utensils.
The invention includes a container for use with one or more serving utensils, such as forks or spoons. The utensils have a serving portion and a handle. A serving container has a utensil pocket on the container portion for holding the serving portion of the utensil. At the same time, the arrangement of the pocket and the container hold the utensil so that easy access to the utensil handle is maintained. In such a manner, the container can continually be used for serving.
Other features of the invention include a detachably mounted pocket piece that makes the use of the pocket and the container optional. The pocket piece can also have secondary means to further secure the utensil inside the pocket. Such a means could include a magnet, a latch, a hook, or other types of mechanical fasteners. The pocket piece can also be configured so that it forms a pocket inside or outside the container.
The present invention includes several embodiments, some of which are illustrated by the preceding drawings.
Magnet 40 can assist in securing a ferromagnetic utensil inside the pocket 25. Other types of securing devices can also be used, such as clips and slots (not shown) that mechanically secure the utensil inside the pocket. Such securing arrangements would preferably be placed on the pocket piece 40, but could also be disposed on the interior surface 20 of container 10 or on the tope edge 15. Another way of securing the utensil inside the pocket 25 is to match the utensil and pocket sizes like a matched set, in which the utensil and container would be sold as a pair. The pocket would be shaped and sized to mechanically secure the serving part of the utensil in the pocket. The precise shape, size, and location of the pocket or pockets can be determined by one of ordinary skill to accommodate the desired shape and size of the container and the utensils.
Other possible embodiments of the present invention will be understood by those of skill in the art. For example, it is contemplated that the pocket pieces in