The Friends That Picnic Together Should Bricknic Together

You know what's annoying? When you finally get all your friends and/or loved ones together for an outdoor meal and you realize that nobody can eat the same thing. There are ethical dilemmas. There are food allergies. There are special aversions. But now two Dutch product designers have concocted a solution: the Bricknic. Which is sort of what it sounds like—a brick that can be used for a picnic. Core 77 alerted us to this exciting development.

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Here's how it works: Everybody gets a hollow clay Bricknic Brick, which they fill with whatever food they want to eat. (The Bricknic is capable of baking, steaming, and even frying, depending on how much water or oil you put in.) Then you put the Bricknics on the grill, on the stove, in the oven, or if you're feeling truly communal and Kumbaya-ish, turn them into an outdoor oven by stacking them around a firepit. Time passes. Everyone has a nice time bonding around the fire. And then they open up the bricks and get a meal of half-cooked, half-burned ingredients. Ha, ha! Just kidding. Everyone gets a nice, hot meal that's exactly what they wanted. The Bricknic can apparently even be used to bake cakes for dessert.

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Timm Donke and Leif Czakai invented the Bricknic as part of their thesis project at Design Academy Eindhoven. (A third collaborator, Nathan Fordy, isn't part of the Bricknic business.) They were, they write on the company's website, "inspired by the age-old process of brick firing in East Africa." They liked how this turned cooking into a community enterprise.

The Bricknics are made from natural clay by the German cookware manufacturer Römertopf. They are not cheap: a basic brick is $57.10, while the higher-end black brick goes for $71.40. But they last a long time, and every order comes with three recipes, and Bricknic throws in a full cookbook with every order of two or more. It seems like a natural activity for corporate team-building this summer. Or, you know, just hanging out. Because, really, there are few things that make you feel closer to people than sitting with them around a campfire.

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