Fires feel toasty. They're romantic. They're good for s'mores. But have you ever tried cooking dinner over one? More hassle than it's worth (and try not to singe your eyebrows). Enter the handy Magic Cook lunchbox or thermos. Like any lunchbox/thermos, it keeps cold things cold, especially if you add an ice pack. The remarkable thing is that, if you swap out the ice for a special Magic Cook heating pack, it promises to get hot enough to cook a meal inside — no fire required. Sound ingenius? Its creator, Sharon Yu, thought the idea was good enough to bring to the Sharks on Shark Tank. So, how's the Magic Cook doing now, and where can you buy one?
First, let's back up and go over how Magic Cook works. There are basically two containers, an inner one and an outer one. Food goes in the inner container — that's the easy part. It's made of a material that conducts heat and cold. Fine. If you want your food to stay cold, you put ice in the outer container and place the inner container inside it. That also makes sense. But, if you want the food to get hot, you have to put in a special Magic Cook heating pack, which heats up when it comes in contact with any liquid, cooking food without any fire, gas, or electricity.
How does the liquid activate the heating pack and make it hot enough to cook meals? The creators never really say. I know they want to protect their business idea, but I'm sure that the Sharks are going to want to know how the thing really works before they buy into the company. I don't think "magic" is going to cut it when money is on the line.
It looks like Yu would need the Sharks, too, if she really wants to get the company off the ground. The Magic Cook launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this fall, but canceled it. At the time, it only had 11 backers, and it only made $601 of its $30,000 goal. It's possible the Kickstarter was canceled because of Shark Tank, but there wasn't a clamor to invest.
Still, if you think it's a good idea and don't care where the heat comes from, the Magic Cook is available for purchase right now.
First, you can order straight from the Magic Cook website. The lunch box costs $34.99 (plus $24.99 for a refill of five heating packs) and the cup costs $24.99 (plus $19.99 for five packs). They're also offering a Shark Tank deal with 20% off a combo that includes a lunch box, a cup, and heating packs ($85), plus free shipping, through November 30.
Or, you can be lazy like I am and just order it from Amazon. The cup is a little bit cheaper there, too, coming in at the completely not-round figure of $21.18. With the savings, you can go buy some ramen so you'll actually have something to put in the Magic Cook.
Images: Michael Desmond/ABC