Face it, we've all been there: your ice cream's too hard but microwaving it is just too dicey a proposition and waiting for it to soften at room temperature is... arrgh, it's ICE CREAM, who can wait?? Yes, we know it's kind of a First World Problem but last time we checked, Japan was part of the First World and so are you, constant reader, sitting comfortably in front of your iMac enjoying the wonders of high-speed internet. All that's missing is a nice dish of ice cream but...
“You can't eat it when it's frozen solid,” commiserates Japanese architect and designer Naoki Terada (left), “But if you wait, you might wait too long and it turns into liquid. All this frustration, all this calculating. It had to stop somewhere!”
And indeed it has, right on Terada's doorstep as a matter of fact. Terada, working at TAKATA Lemnos Inc, devoted himself to soothing the heartbreak of Frozen Ice Cream Firmness Frustration Syndrome and (cue heavenly choir) he's come up with a 15.0% solution!
Just to clarify, “15.0%” is Terada's 100% solution: his set of heat-conducting ice cream spoons goes under the name of 15.0% because Japanese regulations state that ice cream must contain at least 15.0% milk solids and “we wanted our brand to share the image of ice cream.”
The spoons are forged from solid aluminum, which has a thermal conductivity of 237 W/mK. That sounds impressive so we'll just leave it at that. Instead, we'll relate that Terada has created three distinct variations on his super-spoon:
Grasping your spoon tightly in your sweaty and impatient palm, dig into the overly frozen ice cream or sorbet (pronounced "SOR-BAY", you peasant) and watch amazed as heat from your hand is conducted down the spoon and into the ice cream... or imagine it, if you don't happen to have infrared vision.
Of course, you could just run a regular spoon under warm water before digging into your pint of premium Häagen-Dazs like a hot knife through butter but, like, the kitchen's over there and I'm already settled into my favorite chair and the game just started and... y'know how it is.
Besides, the tried & tested warm water technique won't impress your snooty (snotty?) fellow one-percenters like a set of polished aluminum (aluminium?) 15.0% spoons will, and not because they're all shiny and pretty like Stimpy's too-tempting red button.
Oh no, they'll be impressed by the steep price you paid for the sublime privilege of using them: a very cool 3,150 yen (around $39.25) each. They may not be Silver Spoons but at least they're priced like 'em. “Oh Belvedere, more ice cream for my friends and I, and make sure it's overly chilled!” (via Japan Today, Rocketnews24, and Know Your Meme)
UPDATE: Instead of these heat conducting spoons, only heated ice cream scoopers are available in the U.S.