Robert Heinlein’s wonderful young adult novel The Star Beast tells the tale of a family pet, an alien, who has outgrown the small town he and his coming-of-age owner live in. At one point, the boy and his beast head for the hills to hide out from town officials bent on destroying the clumsy beast, camping in the forest near their home. As this is set in the future, they’re not stuck with the freeze-dried meals that I know so well. Instead, they feast on meals that heat themselves as soon as you open the package. In the thirty-odd years since I first read that book, I’ve never forgotten those self-heating meals, waiting patiently for the day when science fiction becomes science fact. Well, that day has come.
Actually, there have been self-heating packages before, but this is the first to offer new parents some relief. Imagine being out on the road and your baby starts screaming for a bottle. With the new Yoomi bottle, you don’t have to stop and find a way to heat up the milk. All you do is press a button and wait 60 seconds and, voila, you’ve got a bottle of warm milk. The nice thing about this bottle is that it is reusable — simply put the heating element in boiling water for a while and let it cool to “recharge” it.
The bottle was developed, naturally, by two parents — they came up with the idea, using the almost cliche-ish pub napkin, after their first son was born and tested the prototype on their second. “Yoomi was borne out of our own personal experience of parental worry and frustration during night-time feeds,” said Dr. Shaikh, an engineer. “It’s been a long journey but the most thrilling moment was receiving our first order from a major High Street retailer.” The bottle is now available from British retailer John Lewis.
Mind you, it’s a bit spendy, costing about $35, but no one ever said kids are cheap. If my kids were still in need of heated milk, I think I’d be ordering at least one of these. Of course, prices will eventually come down significantly, but for now, I think there are probably a lot of sleep-deprived, desperate parents out there that will be jumping at the chance to purchase this.
Photo: John Lewis