Mike Baxter (top) works in a foundry in northern Michigan -- and he's an inventor. Sometimes when he's working on the line, his thoughts wander:
"It’s like sitting in a room meditating by yourself. You can just sit there and think," he says.
One thing Mike thinks a lot about while working is his first invention -- The Popcorn Ball:
"I have a notebook full of ideas. This is my first," Mike tells Dan in this week's episode. "My goal for my next 30 years of my life is to make five different products that all do a million dollars in sales or better."
But Mike's not there yet. He ran through his family's savings getting his product off the ground. Now he's just about breaking even. And he's not the only person in this week's show who's poured himself into the pursuit of a dream.
"I lost my gall bladder. I actually sacrificed an organ for this project," says Eric Zimmermann (below left), inventor of a new eating utensil called Trongs.
This week on The Sporkful, it's our first ever Holiday Gift Guide! We talk to the creators of three food inventions to learn what it takes to turn a million dollar idea into a new way of eating, drinking, or cooking.
To invent Trongs, Eric and Dan Ferrara (above right) had to eat a lot of chicken wings.
"I actually wound up getting gall stones – presumably from eating greasy food," Eric says. "It was worth it."
Plus, we'll hear from the mother and son (below) behind something called Wine Condoms. Yes, it's pretty much exactly what you would imagine.
"We wanted to make the most uptight wine snobs smile," says Laura Bartlett (below, with her son and business partner Mitch Strahan). "I think we've done that."
Listen in to the full episode to learn how you can get special discounts (only for Sporkful listeners!) on ALL THREE of those food gadgets.
Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:
- "Mars Casino" by Jake Luck and Collin Weiland
- "When You're Away" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Horn In The City" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Private Detective" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
- "New Old" by JT Bates
Photos: courtesy of Mike Baxter, courtesy of Laura Bartlett, and by Ian Stroud