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"inflatable" commercially-sold meals

mass-produced low-quality compact food - expands roughly ~double the size as before
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What if food was sold in stores that could inflate when heated? Would work via heat in a microwave pushing air inside allowing it to expand, and could be for most foods including steak. Gross concept and would probably be very airy tasting, but its an interesting idea. I think this is how astronaut food works? but still would be odd having a product like this on shelves - I wonder how much something like this would cost
gonaldgoose, Feb 17 2023

Ballpark Franks https://www.ballparkbrand.com/
THEY "PLUMP WHEN YOU COOK 'EM®" [a1, Feb 17 2023]

Omu Rice - Japan's "exploding omelet" https://www.saveur....ow-to-make-omurice/
[a1, Feb 17 2023]

Air fryer https://www.gocomics.com/shoe/2023/02/18
Again proving the funny pages follow HB [a1, Feb 18 2023]

Pump it up turkey. https://www.youtube...watch?v=Pdd0jUnPz-M
[doctorremulac3, Feb 18 2023]

[link]






       // stores that could inflate //   

       How would you inflate them?
a1, Feb 17 2023
  

       Now that I got the joke out of the way - freeze-dried and other "compressed" foods expand when you add water and cook them. Need I say "baked" or is this idea boiled?
a1, Feb 17 2023
  

       I think its the food that is to be inflated, not the stores.   

       Anyway I have always assumed that filling something with water was different from filling it with air.
pocmloc, Feb 17 2023
  

       // filling something with water is different from filling it with air. //   

       Yes, one involves water and the other involves air.   

       But [gonaldgoose] wants to "inflate" the food (or the stores) just by heating them. WKTE...   

       BALLPARK FRANKS
THEY "PLUMP WHEN YOU COOK 'EM®"
a1, Feb 17 2023
  

       //filling something with water was different from filling it with air//   

       You sound like one of those dry, untrustworthy air breathers to me.
Voice, Feb 17 2023
  

       Y'know, I didn't really read anything past the first line. Let me think for a few seconds about how a microwave might push air inside of food for it to expand....   

       thinking .... thinking ...   

       Nope, can't picture how that would work. And that's not how "astronaut food" works either.
a1, Feb 17 2023
  

       A little water in a flexible space will turn to steam and expand it. They do that with omurice in Japan. Unfortunately when the heat goes the omelette collapses.   

       Edit: oddly I can't find any references to it online so you'll just have to trust me.
Voice, Feb 17 2023
  

       Kinda of like a souffle then? Puffs up when you heat it, falls in when it cools off and/or when you cut it open? Although a good souffle shouldn't collapse, the egg proteins stiffen it up a bit.   

       LOTS of foods expand when heated, nothing new there. A microwave oven that could push air into most foods, even steak, seems to be the novelty [gonadlessgoose]'s idea.   

       And [Voice], of course I trust you!
a1, Feb 17 2023
  

       Excellent! Let me tell you about a prime piece of real estate left to me by my great aunt Marsha (God rest her soul)...
Voice, Feb 17 2023
  

       No I disagree, the idea is not the microwave, the idea is the food.   

       I admit, I breathe air a lot of the time. But that shouldn't affect my ability to critique this idea using logic and facts.
pocmloc, Feb 17 2023
  

       // idea is not the microwave, the idea is the food //   

       Guess I'll shred these sketches of a bicycle pump hooked up to the back of the oven (sigh).   

       How about a steak with a valve in the side? Presta or Schraeder? If a microwave cooker is still anywhere in the process though they'll need to be made without metal parts.
a1, Feb 17 2023
  

       Do you prepare inflatable food in an air fryer? (link)
a1, Feb 18 2023
  

       [+] just because this is good HB fare, but I just remembered a SNL skit about this. (And no, I'm not doing that obnoxious "BAKED! YOU MUST TAKE THIS DOWN IMMEDIATELY!" thing, just a fun link.)
doctorremulac3, Feb 18 2023
  

       OK here's how this could work in practice. The food item is produced in super-thin sheets. One side of each sheet is sealed with something like wax glaze, or gelatine, or yacht varnish, or similar to make an airtight surface. These two sealed faces are glued together along their edges to form a kind of airtight packet.   

       Now for the clever bit, a slender capsule is inserted inside before sealing. This contains some substance that is solid at room temperature but which sublimates at microwave temperature. Or perhaps just a gelatine sachet of water.   

       When you pp this super-thin steak into the microwave and put it on full power, it will only take a few minutes for the microwaves to boil the water or whatever in the sachet, which escapes through the sachet's meltable lining, and so increases the air pressure inside the food, puffing it up like a pillow.   

       Serve and enjoy.
pocmloc, Feb 18 2023
  

       So, many foods have a high percentage of water. Freeze drying food removes the water, leaving the food roughly the same size/shape but much lighter. It can rehydrate somewhat quickly because all the pores in the food are open for water to get in. Standard drying of food, makes it lighter AND causes it to shrink, but tends to make it hard to rehydrate because there is no space for water to flow back in. If we use a system like [pocmloc] proposed, it might be able to puff the food back up as the steam expands, but it will be very dry. Getting the food back into a rough facsimile of the original would require much more water, and defeat the purpose, unless of course the water is added by the end user. So, microwave the food using sensor mode till it gets a certain margin above boiling temperature, indicating that all of the water embedded has flashed to steam, expanding the pores in the food. Then add hot water that was heated separately which will flow through the pores to make the food marginally palatable.
scad mientist, Feb 19 2023
  

       Very good [scad] but we are talking at cross purposes here, you seem to be suggesting taking an original steak and compressing it down so that upon inflation it returns to its original size. I am talking about taking the original steak and cutting it into two or three half-sized pieces and then expanding each quarter or third so that it is inflated to the size of the original. Yours merely sounds gross, mine also has the benefit of ripping of the customer.
pocmloc, Feb 19 2023
  

       Popcorn. You're thinking of popcorn.
AusCan531, Feb 22 2023
  

       Hot dogs that puff up when they're boiled is an odd phenomenon. If you didn't grow up thinking that's how they're supposed to be you would mistrust them. If you did grow up thinking that's how they're supposed to be you would mistrust any non-puffed hot dog.
Voice, Nov 23 2023
  
      
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