‘I need something that would just hold the sandwich, so I can pick it up, put it down, pick it up, put it down—more like what my tablemates would be doing.’ Small cooking tongs filled the order.
Cindy now has a fork and knife with customized holders. But what about foods that require a pincer grasp, like sandwiches?
“The typical way to eat a sandwich is to pick it up, put it down, and pick it up, numerous times. For me, this process increases the number of times the sandwich can fall apart and require reassembly. So I thought, ‘I need something that would just hold the sandwich, so I can pick it up, put it down, pick it up, put it down—more like what my tablemates would be doing.’” At first Cindy thought of using a “chip clip,” a big plastic clip that can be used to reseal a potato chip bag. But “the chip clip didn’t open wide enough. It was a great idea but it didn’t open. Then I thought of cooking tongs.”
So she started exploring online. She thought—“They would need a locking mechanism, so I can lock the sandwich in. But I couldn’t find them small enough. I searched and searched”—and then she found these super small ones. These tongs are easy to carry around in her purse, grasp a sandwich securely, and have short enough arms to be able to lift the food to her mouth. “These can get the whole cheeseburger in the tongs, and then I can eat around it. With a BLT, the bacon doesn’t fall out. The lettuce and tomato don’t slip out.”
We think of these tongs in the “appropriation” category—using a tool built for one use in an adaptive new way, without the need for a formal new object.