Thursday, June 21, 2007

reflection reflecting

Being a manufacturer in 2007 involves constantly looking over your shoulder as it seems everyone wants to tap into your market. Sadly this doesn't mean that the competition has developed a new innovation and raised the bar in the product category. No that would be what we call the good ole days of competition. In today's world manufacturers respond to the success of someone else's product by copying the product design as closely as possible. Legal or illegal, moral or not it happens to everyone that tries to design and sell quality, original products. We deal with knockoffs of our products all the time, but rather than dwelling on the followers we just keep doing our best at designing fun products for the open fire.

Funny enough it doesn't stop with products. I just found out the other day that a website dedicated to recipes had taken a bunch of our pie iron recipes and posted them on their site as their own. They even grabbed an introductory paragraph from our catalog. It was thanks to Rome pie iron fan, Shannon from Cincinnati who clued me in -

"...while looking online for some recipes (cause I’m having a hard time finding YOUR Pie Iron Recipe cookbook…) I came across this website, and while looking over the site something looked VERY familiar to me. As I mentioned, I’ve looked thoroughly over your website and I really liked the first paragraph of this page, (the campfire snack/memory paragraph). When I was looking on the above recipe site I realized that they have the same paragraph on their site. I didn’t know if that passage was written by someone at your company and thought I would bring it to your attention…just in case."

Now of course I don't think this is a huge deal, but it's more of an issue of principal. If you're going to print my writing verbatim then just have the courtesy of crediting and linking. Actually I'm only bringing this up on the blog as my emails to the webmaster have all bounced back as undeliverable. Just having one of those "gotta get it off my chest" moments.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Best Campfire Food: The Jaffle

Who am I to argue with that headline? Brie Cadman at the literary lifestyle website Divine Caroline tells of her experience with the Jaffle Iron and offers up this delicious savory frittata recipe.

The Savory Jaffle

One loaf of sliced bread
Scrambled eggs
Grated or sliced cheese
Turkey, ham, pepperoni slices
Pizza sauce
Sliced tomatoes
Grilled mushrooms
Grilled peppers
Butter or oil


Line a slice of bread with ingredients of your choice. Top with other slice.
Coat the inside of the jaffle iron with butter or oil. Squeeze sandwich into jaffle iron and close, hooking latch at end of wooden handles.
Place in fire over coals, cooking for about two minutes each side. Undo the jaffle iron and cut into quarters or halves.

Read the full article

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dangerous Book For Boys - the pie iron chapter?

For the past few weeks I've been talking about how excited I am about the Dangerous Book For Boys (see the promo clip here) which is a real training manual for getting kids out and playing the way I remember doing it. Building tree forts, rock collecting and just generally being adventurous. So what a surpise it was to receive a letter from Brad Shane the other day that was totally in spirit with the book. In the letter he recounts his boyhood wanderings and how pie irons played a part.

"We lived in Ashville NC when I was a boy. In the summer my pals and I would had off into the woods with our good old 22's in hand ready to live off the land like Davy Crockett or Dan Boone.

Sad to say you can't do that anymore today. We'd take a pie iron - can't say if it was one of your's but it was something big like your panini. It was a big one! We'd always take some cornmeal or biscuit mix with us and have us some feast if we'd get a rabbit. Sometimes we'd only get birds but we'd take him, gut and pluck him, chop off the head and feets. Throw in a little lard and bake it on the fire. Not much better life for a boy. And I feel sorry for the ones who can't even think back to those days."

Friday, June 1, 2007

Marshmallow Tree On The Food Network

Be sure to check out the new Rome product that has been the talk around the campfire. The new Marshmallow Tree will be featured this saturday night on the Food Network's program, "Gotta Get It." This is part of a weekend grill out special for the network and we're thrilled to be a part of the fun.

About the Marshmallow Tree:
Simply stated, it's a 40" long metal roaster that curves and bends like a tree branch. The tree easily cooks up 10 marshmallows at a time and is a true conversation piece.

If you're familiar with Rome, you already know that we make a huge variety of forks. Seriously - look at our collection and you may wonder - is there room for another fork in the product line? Well I don't know - I'd say there's plenty of room for new forks if we stick to the fun category. Obviously a fork needs to be utilitarian, but when I developed the Marshmallow Tree I stepped back and thought - Ok let's do something really fun this time and not even think about price point and how much space it takes up on a store shelf. Pretty much just forget about the business side of the equation and just develop it from the hip. So here we have it - The Marshmallow Tree is out and people really seem to responding to it.

You can find the Marshmallow Tree in national retailers such as Gander Mountain, Dunham's Sports, Bass Pro Shops as well as a wide variety of independent retailers. A listing of stocking dealers and mail order sources is available here.

Rome's Marshmallow Tree on Gotta Get It Schedule
The Food Network

June 02, 2007 10:00 PM ET/PT
(repeat) June 03, 2007 1:00 AM ET/PT
(repeat) June 09, 2007 5:00 PM ET/PT
(repeat) June 10, 2007 6:00 PM ET/PT

Read more about the Marshmallow Tree in the Salt Lake City Weekly.

* photo source fromt he Problem Solvers catalog