Celebrity Invention: Rachael Ray's Bowl

rachelraybowl2.jpgThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for patentsrichfamous_280(2).jpgSome celebrities aren't just pretty faces. A few of them are also touched with that Yankee prowess for tinkering and invention. In this weekly series, we introduce you to the Patents of the Rich and Famous. And maybe you learn a little bit about how patent literature works along the way.

Inventor: Rachael Ray

Known For: She's that peppy Food Network host who teaches viewers how to cook meals in just 30 minutes. She uses catchy phrases like E.V.O.O. (that's extra virgin olive oil), yum-o, and entreetizer (entree-sized appetizer). Her show teaches convenience cooking, appealing to those who don't have time to prepare elaborate meals by using tricks that speed up the process of conventional cooking.

One of her many tricks: the G.B.--that's garbage bowl. Instead of wasting moments tossing eggshells (or whatever) into the trash, she designates a G.B. for her cooking detritus. And, oh my gravy, does it save time.

Like any good TV mogul, she's branched out since the Food Network picked up her show in 2001. She now has two additional programs, a talk show, and a retail line.

Invented Apparatus: "Bowl"

No, Ray did not invent the bowl. This is a design patent. Unlike utility patents, which protect the functionality of an object, design patents protect the appearance of a product without regard to how it functions. In other words, Ray patented the aesthetic of this delightful uterus-shaped bowl.

Rationale Behind Invention: While the application doesn't specify that this is THE garbage bowl, it's probable that this patent is for the Rachael Ray Melamine Garbage Bowl. Not just made of any old plastic, this container is fashioned from recycled plate pieces, so it's a bucket for scrap, made out of scrap. Very cute.

Off-Label Uses: We know Ray would shudder at the thought of using this bowl for anything but refuse, we bet there's some sicko out there using it for non-trash items. So not yum-o.

Future Directions: If there is one modern trash-related amenity that convenience chefs appreciate, it's the garbage disposal (or garburator for you Canadian readers). Fashion the receptacle with a bottom that attaches onto the garbage disposal of a sink. Once finished filling the bowl with waste, the food preparer can click the bowl into place, allowing the disposal to suck the waste into that magical, noisy black hole.

Read more Celebrity Inventions.

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Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

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