Thanksgiving Patents - Part 2: The Well-Dressed Bird

The following is the second installation in a multi-part series exploring innovative and unusual patents that could help make this your best Thanksgiving celebration ever!

* * * * *

I salute those of you who read my previous blog, The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner: Step 1, and decided to try your hand at catching your own bird this year. For the rest of you planning to go the more conventional route of picking up a bird at the local supermarket - I can't blame you! Either way, step 2 in the series is for everyone planning to feast on a turkey or other large bird this Thanksgiving holiday.

No doubt many of you have heard of the smoking jacket; that sophisticated remnant of the Edwardian era. Traditionally, men who indulged in the use of tobacco donned these jackets for the specific purpose of smoking. Well, it seems Elsie A. Simmons took a look at this elegant practice and cried, "fowl!" Personally, that's the way I'd like to think Simmons came up with her Cooking Jacket . It's sexy! The truth probably goes something like this: Simmons was tired of serving her family dry turkey meat every year for the holidays and came up with this easy method for roasting a juicy bird. But is it really that easy?

The Cooking Jacket for use in cooking large pieces of meat, turkeys, chickens, roasts and the like, or United States patent 4942809, looks like a large mesh hammock with handles designed to enable the turkey or other piece of meat to be retained in a jacket structure and easily lifted from the cooking pan, pot, vessel or the like. This way the turkey is roasted in its own juices, and since none of the juices are lost it is easy to use the juice for gravy, etc. Sounds good right? Sure. Except how do you pull that big, juicy, greasy, oven-roasted hot bird out of that bag? And for that matter, how do you keep all those juices you (the bag?) have worked so hard to salvage from spilling out all over the place? After all, the bag is made of soft, malleable, mesh-like plastic, not strong, sturdy and leak-proof stainless steel. But I digress.

People who want to make household chores easier and succeed at the expense of making another chore harder to perform always amuse me. In 1990 Simmons officially gave us an obvious, if not all together practical, substitute for the turkey baster. Unfortunately, the turkey baster, or "old reliable" as I like to call it, in most cases is dishwasher safe, hence easy to clean, and really easy to store. The Cooking Jacket, by comparison just looks harder to clean and more cumbersome to store. In fact, there's a good chance it's not even dishwasher safe! Oh no! Could it be that the jacket is disposable? Maybe. But there again reusable "old reliable" wins out because it is cheaper to own and much more eco-conscious. Reusable or disposable, where do you keep large plastic sacks, or a box of them, in your kitchen? Oh well, you get the picture.

No stranger to housework myself, I applaud every effort to make these mundane duties more efficient. But if there's one thing I've learned over the years it is that there is really only one way to make housework easier and that's to pay someone else to do it for you!

So this year I am going to put this bit of tried and true wisdom to use by ordering my holiday dinner from a local supermarket. I'll pick it up, bring it home, and serve it in my own dishwasher-safe dishes, platters, and bowls. After dinner I'll put my guests to work clearing the table and loading the dishwasher while my husband and I, basking in our post-delicious meal someone else cooked for us glow, enjoy a nice little cigar out on the patio.

Be sure to log in often. You won't want to miss the next installment of patents guaranteed to make this Thanksgiving your most memorable ever!

Elizabeth Valeri
Patents Writer


Nov 15, 2007
by G (not verified)

The Well Dressed Bird

I agree with the assesment that the jacket doesn't seem to provide any actual benefit to the finished product nor to handling and cleaning. I wonder what the inventor was thinking on this one.