Fried Chick Pan
“It pains me to say this but . . . Brilliant!” Those are the words of Tim Sonefelt after seeing the Fried Chick Pan idea. He seldom likes any of my ideas so this MUST be a good one.

Before I explain the idea, I want to share why I call it a “Fried Chick Pan.” In the south, we fry food. If it’s good, it’s fried. This idea is so good it must be fried.

It began when I was searching for an easy way to load about 35 sponge balls into a chick pan. I was able to do it, but always pinched my fingers and it was a struggle to keep the balls from getting caught between the gimmick and the lid. As I was brainstorming possible solutions, I wondered if a tube of some sort would work. My first attempts failed, but I went back to the tried and true cutting mats from Dollar Tree. I’ve used these for MANY projects.

Dollar Tree sells thin plastic cutting boards, two in a pack. (Figure 1) One sheet is needed to load the balls. I cut a piece of foam with a small hole to hold the chick pan lid upright for loading. (Figure 2) The foam was just a piece of scrap from an old cushion. The foam is not necessary, but it made it easier for me to keep the lid still while loading the balls.

Place the plastic sheet in the lid and hold it together at the top with the left hand. (Figures 3 & 4) Use the right hand to fill tube with balls. (Figure 5) Magic by Gosh super soft sponge balls are used for this production. Balls need to be wet for maximum expansion.

Place the load cup upside down into the plastic tube and push down with right hand. (Figure 6) Keep the plastic tight around the load cup so all the balls slide down smoothly. Continue to press down load cup until it connects. Plastic sheet will open up as cup is pressed into position. If all steps are performed correctly, not a single edge of a ball will be visible around the edge of the load cup. This method prevents catching fingers in the gimmick during set up. It also prevents edges of balls snagging under the load cup and preventing a tight fit. At least 35 to 40 two-inch super soft balls, will fit in the chick pan using this method.

A similar method could be used to load a larger dove pan. Tape two or more sheets of plastic together to make a larger tube. Assistance may be needed to hold the plastic tube in place when working with a dove pan.

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