Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Food Spirograph

Why not use a spirograph modified to accept sauce tips to decorate food?
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You guys have seen those expensive chefs preparing meals and decorate plates with those fancy looking sauces in intricate patterns... What if you don't have such talents? Use the Food Spirograph! Just trace the pattern, apply constant pressure, and watch your sauce form patterns you wouldn't DARE eat! :-D
kschang, Jan 20 2002

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       I would love beautiful saucy food, yes. However, when I apply sauce to food, which is very seldom, I prefer to make fun animal shapes or happy faces.   

       Magna Doodle used to have stencils, I believe. Could we have Food-a-Doodle?
nedroid, Jan 20 2002
  

       A squirt bottle with demi glace and a toothpick is all you need to make those beautiful "intricate" patterns in the food, but, if you really wanted to go all out, I suppose this would work--for the sauce part. The thing that this idea doesn't cover, but which is a very important part of great looking food, is the intricately prepared garnishes: the chiffonaded parsley, the perfectly squared chives . . . .
bristolz, Jan 20 2002
  

       When I was a kid, I always thought the Spirograph was kind of hard. For me the little plastic thing in the center always seemed to slip gears with the plastic ring around it. (Certainly there must be some more technical terms for these things among the Spirograph mathematicians.) The result was a messy pattern, or sometimes I'd end up drawing on the kitchen table.   

       I like the idea of spilling fancy sauce all over the kitchen table, though, so here's your croissant.
sera, Jan 21 2002
  

       Art-A-Matic was a scatterpaint companion to my Spirograph, Sheer luck would make something palatable looking using A-A-M.
thumbwax, Jan 21 2002
  

       Pinning the annulus (that's what I think the ring is called, sera) to the top of the food might be a bit difficult. If you had a frame above the plate holding the annulus, what would stop the wheel (planet?) from simply falling through? Maybe the syringe nozzle could be attached (though allowing for rotation) by some sort of snap fitting to the wheel. If the teeth were very wide it wouldn't be too difficult.

You'd also have to be fairly judicious with which ratios you chose. I remember sometimes pretty much wearing through the paper before returning to the starting point. 47/96 would be a disaster - you'd as well just throw a bucket of sauce over it.
Gordon Comstock, Jan 21 2002
  

       Huh, huh, huh, you said "annullus".   

       Ahem. I like the idea of having a snap fitting to the wheel. And as long as you're going to do that, you might as well motorize the whole thing. Set everything up, feed in the sauce, press a button and whiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrr -- instant sauce pattern!   

       Again, tremendously messy if done incorrectly, but I like that sort of thing.   

       BTW, does anybody else remember those plastic stencil disks you could get with a bunch of unconnected lines, but if you pinned the disk to the paper at the center, and filled in each line at the right location, it would make a picture? I remember having a set with Disney characters. You could do that with sauce, too.   

       Not that I ever cook, actually. I hate cleaning up after myself.
sera, Jan 21 2002
  

       And tremendously messy if done _quickly_. With a pen-based spirograph, you could draw pretty fast (unless you used the football shape with the ruler shape, or something like that), because the ink transfers to the paper by contact.   

       But with a sauce-based spirograph, the sauce would have to fall a few inches before contact with the food. This means that you're pretty much just slinging sauce around, and the faster you go, the more area the pattern would cover.   

       Also, the final pattern would depend on a lot more factors than just your gear ratios, shapes and offsets--you'd need to consider the distance the sauce falls, its viscosity, the pressure applied to force the sauce through the nozzle, and the speed at which the planet traverses the rim of the annulus. So if you were, say, drizzling raspberry sauce over a few pieces of apple pie, your patterns probably wouldn't be symmetrical or consistent without a lot of practice.
Guncrazy, Jan 25 2002
  

       I sailed over the sea of Google, searching high and low for what I sought.
Having satisfied myself that what I required could not be found there, I turned my ship to The Bakery and, at a speed even quicker than a glance, found an island from the past, with a large stone monolith atop a windswept cliff, proclaiming my idea to be redundant.

Croissant though, with suitably intricate jam application.
kaz, Jul 31 2010
  
      
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