The Pig Lid pot cover is a steamer's dream, as everybody "nose". Horrible puns aside, this ingenious Otoshibuta is at once a play on words and a handy way to steam food in an oven-top pan.
According to the nice folks at A Rinkya Blog, this pig-nosed circle of silicone plastic is an Otoshibuta, with Otoshi meaning "drop" and Buta meaning either "lid" or "pig". I'd noticed that my wife often drops a pot lid on top of something she's poaching or pan frying to both steam the food and at the same time prevent it from curling or otherwise moving around. An otoshibuta is just a single-purpose, dedicated variation of the humble pot lid.
This particular otoshibuta comes in pink or white, measures 7 inches (17.5cm) in diameter and is made from heat resistant, food-safe silicone plastic. The designers had a little fun with the whole Pig Lid thing my forming a pig's face into the circle of plastic. This isn't just for fun - the pig's twin nostrils act as a convenient place to insert a couple of cooking chopsticks to remove or replace the lid. While cooking, steam can escape through the nostrils - which probably looks kinda funny.
Like so many Japanese designs, Acorn Style's Pig Lid otoshibuta combines multifunctionality to its cute form. Its plastic composition is microwave safe and can take the place of plastic wrap that tends to melt or sag into the food. It also can do double duty as a jar opener thanks to the grippy yet flexible nature of the silicone. Priced at just 1,050 yen (around $11.50) each plus shipping, the Pig Lid otoshibuta is economical as well as practical. Order yours through Rinkya Stores if you're not in Japan.
Editor's Note: The Pig Lid is now available in the U.S. You can find the pig lid and pig microwave cover on Amazon.