Israeli Products of the Week / 3 Cool Kitchen Contraptions

Each week, Haaretz spotlights Israeli designers and their creations; this week our focus is fun for foodies.

“Teatime” generally brings to mind a refined affair involving some freshly steeped English Breakfast or Earl Grey accompanied by finger sandwiches, crumpets or scones – not a mini mission involving submarines.

Israeli design firm Ototo has helped change that with its “tea sub,” a bright yellow, submarine-shaped silicone tea infuser that transforms the act of sipping a cuppa into an unexpected underwater adventure.

Switching up everyday experiences is what drives designers Ori Saidi and Daniel Gassner: Their firm’s name, Ototo, means “any minute now” in Hebrew and reflects the surprising magic that might happen at, well, any given moment.

So when teatime next rolls around, open the submarine’s hatch, drop in some loose tea leaves and away you go… Periscope and life preserver not included.

NIS 49 (about $14); find retailers at Ototo's website

Photo by Studio Dan Lev

It’s no secret that parents often need to persuade their favorite fussy little eaters to have some breakfast or take just one last bite of dinner. Sometimes they look for creative ways to make the meal itself more appealing, from cutting toast into “soldiers,” pretending an airplane is delivering a spoonful of peas or, my mom’s old favorite, shaping a lump of mashed potatoes into a flower.

Designer Avihai Shurin has created a device for Israeli design studio Monkey Business that makes eating at least one food – eggs – more, um, eggsellent. His silicone cast, called Sunnyside, turns your average sunny-side-up egg into a shining sun on a fluffy cloud. Just pour the yolk into the circle, let the egg white spill over into the rest of the shaper and cook until ready.

Garnish the plate with cheese stick figures or broccoli trees, and pray that your kids are too busy admiring the edible art to notice they’re eating their veggies. Also good for adults who are still kids at heart.

NIS 35 (about $10) at Shurin's website

Photo by Studio Dan Lev

In Israel, meals often end with a final feat: No, not a last swipe of hummus, but a quick swipe of a toothpick, to get pesky food remnants out of one’s teeth. Restaurants often place dispensers on their tables, and people frequently stock them at home as well – something that designers Itay Laniado and Inon Rettig picked up on. Their forest toothpick dispenser transforms the wooden sticks into a “tree trunk” capped by a verdant crown; flip it and the tree distributes one toothpick at a time – bringing new meaning to the term “the giving tree.”

NIS 39 (about $11) at Monkey Business

Photo by Studio Dan Lev

Have a suggestion for an Israeli product of the week? Send an email to haaretzproducts@gmail.com

Studio Dan Lev