Disturbing technology: the defrost-o-plate

A few years ago, my dad bought a mad thing from JML (they advertise on TV and their slogan should be “we sell weird shit for your house”). I dubbed it the defrost-o-plate: it claimed to defrost food in record time, without heat. Bollocks! I cried. My dad showed me it in action. I bought one for myself.

My defrost-o-plate (I’ve no idea what it’s officially called) is a rectangular metal tray, painted matt black, with a half-dozen grooves in it (although as the photo shows, there are other designs out there). You don’t need to heat it up, it has no power source, it doesn’t seem to be made of anything unusual, and it is clearly of human origin: the feet fell off within days. And I have absolutely no idea how it works.

I tried an experiment: I got two ice cubes and put one on the defrost-o-plate, with the second ice cube on a normal plate. After half a minute, the normal-plate ice cube was starting to look a bit shiny; the defrost-o-plate cube was a puddle of water. If I leave a couple of steaks out to defrost, they take a few hours; on the defrost-o-plate, half an hour.

Naturally, I think it’s a great thing – but my complete inability to work out how it does its magic is driving me daft. There are lots of sites offering defrost-o-plates on the net, such as this one, but nobody tells you how it actually works. So I’d like to turn this over to you, as you’re all much smarter than me. How can a bit of metal perform such magic? Is there a scientific explanation, or is it witchcraft?

//update, December 2012

Thanks to Ken Kimberling, we’ve tracked the super magic defrost-o-plate down – the one I’ve got is here on Amazon.

//update, February 2013

Thanks to Greg Gann, who’s sent me some more product links. He says:

I’ve read your page (numerous of times) and there are a variety of different thawing trays out there. There were the thin ones (I think most people see) that sold for $20. And there was the “Thaw Master” which was thicker, sold my Mr. Food, and they sold for $40.

I noticed some of the people commenting on your post were looking for some, and I’ve came across the thicker, faster, Mr. Food trays and have them for sell at the same price of the thinner ones…$20! (50% off!)

I have silver ones here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/221161604053?ssPageName=STRK:MESOX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1559.l2649

There is no difference in the colors, it’s a matter of the material. Therefore the thick ones work faster because of the thicker material.