Plate Caddy
By: Amy Jacquin

This time of year, many of us eat outside, grab and go. And if you're tired of trying to handle a plate of food, plus juggle utensils and drinks, this product may be good for you!

Schnucks in Cape Girardeau graciously allowed us to use their stocked salad bar to test the Plate Caddy. You get a set of eight for $15 at Walgreens. Makers say you can load-up a plate, yet leave your other hand free to eat, great and enjoy.

We use two of the very thin paper plates, and hook them under three different latches. Then we ask our first Schnucks shopper to give it a try. "Right under here is where you would put your hand, you hold it under there," Amy gives a quick lesson. "And that's for the napkin, right?" the shopper confirms.

She balances the plate, a cup of soda, and a spoon -- without having to set it down! "It's really neat!" she says as she spoons food onto her plate. "I've not seen anything like this before!" The thin paper plates stay sturdy in the Plate Caddy. "Is it hard for you to hold?" Amy asks. "No, because you got your fingers under here," she answers.

we discover that the entire caddy sits easily and firmly on a table, without having to be unloaded. "If you're going to have a party or a family get-together, these would be neat," she summarizes. The only downfall Amy notices is that it's made for smaller plates. If you use a larger-sized dinner plate, it doesn't fit. But most of them are beveled and it would rest on a caddy pretty easily, but it won't latch on.

Our second Schnucks patron gives us a man's perspective. "It would be handy if it did work!" he says, looking at the product. He doesn't hesitate to load-up with all sorts of hard-to-handle food. And even though he's using only two of those very thin plates, they stay solid on the caddy.

But when it comes time to slip the utensils into the slots, the knife falls to the floor. The slot is too big, and the knives slips right through. "Other than that, it works really good," he says. "It's not uncomfortable on the hand because it just kind-of stays on my arm right there." And he's surprised by how easy it is to go from carrying it around, to sitting down to eat. "It's actually pretty solid once you get it set down."

We show one more shopper the Plate Caddy. She selects all sorts of wonderful things from the Schnucks salad bar. And she thinks it's a wonderful, valuable idea. "I think it's real good," she says firmly. "I think it works. Cause I have small kids and everything, so I can take this and hand it to them, and even they can stick their hands in there. And I don't have to worry about them wasting a plate or anything like that. I think it's worth it!"

So do we! We give the $15 set of Plate Caddies an A-.