One less appliance to buy
February 27, 2018 10:48 AM   Subscribe

 
The comment section on TFA is... something to behold
posted by halation at 11:00 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


You know, my father really wanted one of these but because of reviews like this, he hadn't gotten himself one. I took the opportunity to get him a cheap one for Christmas, figuring it was an excuse for his curiosity to be sated, and not to feel like he wasted money, and I wouldn't care if he didn't like or use it, as it was just a cheap gift.

While I was visiting, we made fried green beans (amazing), french fries of various tuberical origin, onion rings, and more that I'm now forgetting. Every few weeks since then, he's sent me pictures of various meals he's created using it (fried fish tacos, etc).

That said, I understand the review's hesitance to recommend - if you have a convection oven and patience, you can get similar results - but for a small device that can make crunchy snacks in a healthier fashion, it's really not bad.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:01 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


I use mine all the time, cooks things quickly and crispy-like. Roasted Brussels sprouts are the killer app IMO.

That said, I have a $50 off-brand one and probably would not like it nearly as much had it cost $200. I think these will be a worthwhile thrift store find in a few years.
posted by substars at 11:04 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


The comment section on TFA is... something to behold

Frying, metafrying and its commentary: a land of contrasts.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:08 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Based on this article (which is now 8 months old, and I think now the general experience in the field is coming in way more approving than Wirecutter was) I just bought a countertop convection oven rather than an air fryer, but comparing my results to the couple of AF groups I joined on Facebook, those fryers are moving air much faster than either the one I got (which is an xl version that will hold a 9x13 casserole dish, or make 18 slices of toast at once) or any full-size convection oven I've ever used, plus some of them go to 475 where almost all countertop ovens cap at 450, and as such it's much easier to get a very crunchy result with an appropriate amount of fat (some, not very much, but it needs to be evenly applied) and coating.

I'm not sorry I went the route I did, because the bulk cooking options in my oven are way better than all but the extremely expensive very large air fryers, and I also have lots of experience oven-frying and can pull off what less experienced cooks can do with the little air fryers. But, like, if my parents wanted one I would totally encourage them because it's safer and easier than doing it in the oven.

I can see the general appeal for sure, if you have no other convection oven. I cooked swai fillets from deep-frozen in 20 minutes last night, which is not how it goes down in my big non-conv oven, it was done so fast I had just sent my husband off to amuse himself since I was late starting dinner and then had to go get him because dinner was ready.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:11 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


From the comments: "This air fryer won't take up excessively room on your kitchen counter, looks keen and offers awesome incentive for cash. You can flame broil, cook, heat and sear with it, and the last it truly sparkles."
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:13 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


I think these will be a worthwhile thrift store find in a few years.

Right next to the Instapot. And the Foreman Grill. And the Vitamix.
posted by Dashy at 11:14 AM on February 27 [21 favorites]


Jessica Helmer doesn't have a lot to say, but when she does, it's about air fryers.
posted by Naberius at 11:20 AM on February 27 [8 favorites]


substars: I use mine all the time, cooks things quickly and crispy-like. Roasted Brussels sprouts are the killer app IMO.

Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

No, seriously. If ever there was a thread where sharing recipes is not just okay but actually on-topic, this is that thread.

DESCRIBE THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS PROCEDURE, CITIZEN.
posted by tzikeh at 11:37 AM on February 27 [48 favorites]


hmmm - my fave sushi restaurant does the most wonderful tempura brussel sprouts ...
posted by mbo at 11:49 AM on February 27


Huh, I was just wondering if I should buy an air fryer this weekend. Timely.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:50 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Air Friars are also terrible to clean, and take up inordinate counter space. Cannot recommend.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:54 AM on February 27 [15 favorites]


I read this so wanted to test our convection oven out with some oven-fried chicken. Maybe I used a bad recipe or had poor timing but the crispiness was not anywhere close to my expectations. Can anyone share some techniques about getting these superior convection oven results?
posted by emkelley at 11:55 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


I need to try the brussels sprouts ASAP. My family loves the air fryer and thinks I should be using it much more. Pro-tip: use a spoonful of duck or goose fat instead of oil for whatever you are cooking in it. I don't really get the argument about using your convection oven - I have a lovely oven and I am cooking stuff in it all the time. That's exactly why I need the air fryer on the side for cooking other stuff for which there is no room in the oven. Also, if I'm alone some night, it's faster and simpler than heating up the oven for a small portion. IMO, it's best for cooking vegetables, including potatoes. Like the article says, its not very good for stuff with batter on it. If I want to bake cakes, I prefer the oven.
posted by mumimor at 11:55 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


In the space of this thread I went from never having heard of an air fryer, to smugly deciding that this is yet another ridiculous thing that people don't need, to desperately craving air fried Brussels sprouts. Thanks Metafilter!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:57 AM on February 27 [46 favorites]


DESCRIBE THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS PROCEDURE, CITIZEN.

I've never air-fried them, so I'm not 100% sure on this, but... you can get some pretty crispy brussels sprouts in a regular old hot oven. 450 degree oven (convection ovens really shine here, but I get by with my older, crappier, non-convection-y one), get a cookie sheet, put your sprouts on it, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper and a teensy bit of (SECRET INGREDIENT ALERT) balsamic vinegar, and swish 'em around until everything's coated roughly the same. Into the oven for 15 minutes, pull 'em out, and then stand impatiently near the stove, burning the crap out of your mouth every few minutes as you try one after another before they're cool enough to eat. You get a nice crisp from the small amount of oil + high heat, and there's no fidgety one-use appliance required
posted by Mayor West at 11:58 AM on February 27 [34 favorites]


My partner is an experienced cook and seems to love the air fryer she was gifted. Uses it all the time. If she likes it, there must be some merit to it. I'll have to ask her when she gets home, but I suspect the answer is something to the effect of: much more convenient for simple meals than firing up the oven, and cooks better than the microwave. Plus, it's great in the summer when the oven can overpower the air conditioner in our small house.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 12:02 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


My in-laws use their for re-crisping leftover restaurant french fries, and it works remarkably well.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:06 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Can anyone share some techniques about getting these superior convection oven results?

The easiest shortcut is to use panko, crushed crackers/cereal/chips/pork rinds or other sharp coating, rather than a soft flour dredge. You need some oil to get into that coating too, which is easiest done with spray, but using mayo instead of egg/milk also works well. This method, generally. You also really need to cook it on a wire rack over a baking sheet, to get that air circulation.

I do this for brussels sprouts except I spray with oil in a misto or commercial baking spray instead of drizzling.

Bonus recipe: get a block of firm tofu and slice it in half longways, freeze those, let them thaw where they can drip, like on a baking/cooling rack over a cookie sheet or bowl, and rinse, pressing between your hands if necessary to wring a little more moisture out. Mix up 1/4 to 1/2 cup of marinade with soy sauce, garlic and onion powder, sriracha, grated ginger, dash of sesame oil, dash of vinegar, a little sugar or honey or maple syrup or tamarind sauce or sweet/sour sauce, plus whatever else catches your eye. Use a plate or cookie sheet to set the tofu down into the marinade and it will soak it in like a sponge, so you may need to grab it pretty quickly and turn it to do the other side. This can go into the fridge for another day or two or used right then - cut in cubes or slabs and toss in seasoned flour of your choice, we like rice flour so that you get a coating sort of like Japanese fried chicken/karaage, spritz with oil and air fry at 375 maybe 6 minutes and shake and 6 more, or spread out on a oiled baking sheet and spritz and bake at 400, about 8-10m each (on two sides, if you cubed) until you've got a decently crisp shell. Do what you want with that, we like it with broccoli also lightly oiled and roasted/air fried until lightly charred, baby potatoes, and a dijon vinaigrette.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:14 PM on February 27 [12 favorites]


I still don't quite understand what you are supposed to cook in them, so could someone please spell it out for me? The article says you can't do battered foods. So is it only for pre-deep fried foods - like frozen french fries and fish sticks, etc?
posted by kitcat at 12:30 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Jessica Helmer doesn't have a lot to say, but when she does, it's about air fryers.

See 'her' website in the profile. Its a content farm pushing air fryers for amazon referrals.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:37 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


The article says you can't do battered foods.

That's crazy. You totally can.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:43 PM on February 27


The comment section on TFA is... something to behold

It’s bots all the way down.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:44 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


I still don't quite understand what you are supposed to cook in them, so could someone please spell it out for me? The article says you can't do battered foods. So is it only for pre-deep fried foods - like frozen french fries and fish sticks, etc?

One thing the article has right is that it is not a fryer but a convection oven. I have the Tefal actifry, which has a kind of ladle that turns the stuff continuously. I put in my cut up fresh root vegs or potatoes, and a spoonful of duck fat, some salt and herbs and turn it on. After a while I have delicious, crispy oven-roasted whatever. I think one reason it's called a fryer is that your potato fries turn out much crisper and more delicious than in an oven, though still not as if they were deep fried. For softer stuff like chicken, I take out the ladle, add the food and some cooking fat and stir once during the cooking, maybe adding sauce. It's good for hot wings.
It's really good for when you are really busy with stuff in the oven and stovetop, when you can just start some fries or veg and it will take care of itself. And it's really good for when you are alone and want a good meal without getting out all the pots and pans. All the parts in mine go in the dishwasher.
posted by mumimor at 12:47 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Thanks for posting. I was all set to buy one of these babies, but now I'm considering other options, particularly a convection toaster oven.
posted by No Robots at 1:02 PM on February 27


We bought one of these things a few years ago. Our kitchen is small, and it takes up a huge amount of space both when it's being used and stored. It's made by tefal. The hinge on the lid snapped after about the third use. That's OK, I use something heavy to keep the lid down (note: don't use a glass jug from your blender to weigh it down; yes, it's heavy enough, but it's a pain cleaning up all the shards of glass when it smashes on the kitchen tiles). I have only ever used it to make fresh hand-cut chips (french fries). Only. Ever. Hand-cut. Real potato. Chips. It never freaking occurred to me until reading this article to use it for frozen chips. Ever. I am so fucking dumb. Ugh! Tomorrow I am going to lug the bastard out of the corner press and wow the kids with my wizardry. If it's a success I may even finally get around to replacing the blender in celebration.
posted by Elmore at 1:08 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


It’s bots all the way down.

Wait, are you saying that air fryers aren't "much more useful for health?"
posted by rhizome at 1:11 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Well now I'm kind of intrigued. If I can make decent roasted vegetables in one of these, I might consider buying one (I totally have an oft-used convection oven and I love it to death, but I find roasted vegetables require a LOT of oil, plus they stick).
posted by kitcat at 1:14 PM on February 27


For kitcat - here's a Buzzfeed review where all sorts of foods are tried. The author says the results for frozen vegetables were good but for fresh veggies disappointing (and don't go anywhere near string cheese!).
posted by hangashore at 1:20 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Surely the experience is going to be different for people who live in a country where mains power is 110 volts vs 240 volts. Same reason why you don't get electric kettles in the US when they're a basic and extremely important appliance in the UK and Australia.
posted by Merus at 1:21 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Eh. There's a crowd that gets super-cranky about 'unitaskers' and I think it's pretty dumb. The question is, do you do whatever that task is often enough that a specialized tool is worth it? I can remember Alton Brown ranting about rice cookers, but being able to toss rice and water into a pot and go off to do something else and return to perfect rice is *entirely* worth the small amount of refrigerator-top space it uses for me, while it might not be for someone who seldom eats rice.

Hell, it's fine to have something that you only use for a window of time. When I was in college I got an expresso machine for Christmas. As a poor college student I made so many lattes to take to class with me, and for a while when I was working. Eventually I switched to a job where I had to leave too early for that, and then later I switched from coffee to tea. But I certainly got my worth out of it while I had it, and had a lot of fun experimenting with types of coffee and flavoring agents.
posted by tavella at 1:23 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Oh boy, air fryers! That's where I'm a fry king!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:23 PM on February 27 [19 favorites]


Same reason why you don't get electric kettles in the US

What? Most of us have electric kettles working on 110V here in Canada...does mine not boil water as fast as those in the UK etc???
posted by kitcat at 1:26 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


No, the reason you don't see electric kettles is the same reason they serve you a teabag, a sad little lemon wedge, and a cup of tepid water in diners: Americans don't drink tea at the same level as do other nations.

I had a Nu-Wave for a while. It was good at roasting vegetables, and nothing else. It was like a hair dryer attached to a lamp. My mom loves hers and I don't get it.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:34 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


No, the reason you don't see electric kettles is the same reason they serve you a teabag, a sad little lemon wedge, and a cup of tepid water in diners: Americans don't drink tea at the same level as do other nations.


Yep, this exactly. I'm persnickety about my tea and I have an electric kettle in my cubicle. You'd be surprised how many people don't know what it is, what it's used for, or how to use it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:37 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


I bought mine because of this review, but I waited for a sale.
posted by mumimor at 1:37 PM on February 27


We get 13 amps at 230V nominal in the UK, so about 3kW, whereas with 15 amps at 110V, you'll get just over half that. Not all kettles do the full 3kW, though. Mine does, but this cheap one's only 2.2kW.

For fryers, most of the ones I looked at seem to be 1.5kW, but here's a 2.1kW one. I think I may get one myself to put next to the (knock-off) Instant Pot, and then I'll have effortless roast spuds all the time. Parcook 10 minutes in the pressure cooker, then transfer to the fryer for 40 minutes, adding some tofu cubes, courgettes and peppers.
posted by ambrosen at 1:37 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I like my air fryer. I use it 3-4 times a week. Strikes me as more portable than a toaster oven.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 1:52 PM on February 27


Two things:

1) I make southern-style sweet tea for my teaholic home and I do so with a conventional stovetop teakettle much like this one. When I brew tea I do it by the gallon, though, so my usage may not match how other people consume tea. I personally can't imagine using a separate electric kettle when I have a perfectly good 220v stovetop.

2) Air fryers are toaster ovens for people who don't know how incredible toaster ovens are. Seriously, everything an air fryer can do a toaster oven can do, plus it also bakes and makes toast.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:05 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


This physicist explains: To raise the temperature of one litre of water from 15°C to boiling at 100°C requires a little bit over 355 kilojoules of energy. An “average” kettle in the UK runs at about 2800 W and in the US at about 1500 W; if we assume that both kettles are 100% efficient† than a UK kettle supplying 2800 joules per second will take 127 seconds to boil and a US kettle supplying 1500 J/s will take 237 seconds, more than a minute and a half longer. This is such a problem that many households in the US still use an old-fashioned stove-top kettle.
posted by crazy with stars at 2:06 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


This is such a problem that many households in the US still use an old-fashioned stove-top kettle.
Or if they are animals they put it in the microwave!
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:33 PM on February 27 [9 favorites]


I've seen too many of those "superheated microwaved water explodes" videos on YouTube to wish that fate on even the most vicious of animals.
posted by howfar at 2:34 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


For those of you clamoring for recipes (yeah, all two of you), please refer to This Old Gal. Her blog and archive have long been the gold standard of Instant Pot recipes; recently she has branched out into air fryer recipes.
posted by workerant at 2:35 PM on February 27 [10 favorites]


There's a crowd that gets super-cranky about 'unitaskers' and I think it's pretty dumb. The question is, do you do whatever that task is often enough that a specialized tool is worth it?

Thing is, humans are terrible self-evaluators.

So we fall for the idea of ourselves that is on sale with each new (unitask) device. We'll eat brown rice with every meal! Kale smoothies every day! Slow roasts in minutes!

In reality, however, most people do not do these things every day. The fridge fails to stock itself with all the ingredients required. Kale is, well, kale. Espresso machines need cleaned. We go back to whatever it is we usually actually do, the same-old recipes that we like, or grabbing a cup on the go.

I get that each machine matches a small subset of people. There are families who eat rice every day. You made your coffee.

But the overwhelming majority of unitask devices are just another fad diet or New year's resolution. They are marketing to our core human weakness of rosy self-perception. Overall, I can only see them as so cynical as to be actually insulting to the human race.

That is how much I hate unitask devices.
posted by Dashy at 2:45 PM on February 27 [19 favorites]


I can't imagine existing in a world where somebody buys an espresso machine and doesn't use it every day, and yet here I am, crying and holding my head.
posted by destructive cactus at 2:56 PM on February 27 [9 favorites]


Most of us have electric kettles working on 110V here in Canada...does mine not boil water as fast as those in the UK etc?

Correct. Live a few years anywhere with 240v, then return home to 110v, and you will absolutely hate your electric kettle. You will stare at it in rage for minutes. Minutes!

Stovetops tend to be faster than electric kettles at boiling water in the US and Canada, especially if you have a gas or induction cooktop.

But the rareness-in-America thing, I don't understand. When I stopped at a US BBBY last week to pick up a kettle for the hotel room (long stay, needed ramen), they had an entire aisle from which to choose. Amazon has pages and pages of them. So they definitely exist.
posted by rokusan at 3:08 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


While there was certainly a point in the memorable past where everyone in the UK and Canada had an electric kettle and nobody in the US did (except a bunch of people still did, it was just for cooking when you weren't allowed a stove or microwave in your room at college) and everyone could gaspingly tell each other that nobody in the US has an electric kettle, it's because they're 110 see etc etc, they are actually everywhere now, you can buy a decent cordless one at the drugstore now, and lots of people have them and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who reared back in horror saying "whut in tarnation is that demon pot doing??" There's probably not a single Food Network show that doesn't have one on the back counter, and probably occasionally even gets used. Alton Brown used one often on Good Eats in the 2000s.

I mean you still can't get a decent goddamn cup of tea anywhere but lots of Americans have kettles and many more know what they are and just don't have enough use for one to own one.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:10 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


So they definitely exist.

We use one, every morning. I just make sure to set it heating first in the chain of pre-commute tasks. It eventually boils the water.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:11 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


I put my (american) electrical kettle in the air frier and it broke tell me what did i do wrong.
posted by 7segment at 3:15 PM on February 27 [30 favorites]


To me it’s not even about hating unitaskers. If someone says to me, “hey, you can spend the money on this air fryer, or you can spend it on this really nice convection toaster oven that fits a friggin 9x13 pan or a small pizza, and it ‘air fries’ stuff at least as well or better”, that is such a no-brainer that I don’t really understand why it’s a debated point, unless space is a real premium for you.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:37 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Or if they are animals they put it in the microwave!

no way, tea in the microwave is the best! electric kettles stress me out!
posted by wibari at 3:45 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine from the UK told me once that the folks operating the electric grid have to plan for halftime of popular football games, when everyone goes to put the kettle on.
posted by and for no one at 3:53 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Surely instead of one of these (or a regular oven), a steamer would be a more "healthy" option.
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:35 PM on February 27


and for no one, you're talking about Chris Waddle, right?
posted by ambrosen at 4:37 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Or more specifically, TV pickup, apparently more to do with people opening fridges and flushing toilets (thus making water companies pump water around) than kettles.

And no middle aged middle brow middle class Brit needs to be told why Chris Waddle is intrinsically funny, of course.
posted by ambrosen at 4:43 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


you can get some pretty crispy brussels sprouts in a regular old hot oven. 450 degree oven [...] get a cookie sheet, put your sprouts on it, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper and a teensy bit of (SECRET INGREDIENT ALERT) balsamic vinegar, and swish 'em around until everything's coated roughly the same.

I read this comment with increasing excitement because I happened to have Brussels sprouts in the fridge, and now I'm just popping them in my mouth like candy. A+++ will make again.
posted by lalex at 5:10 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Not to derail, but most of the restaurant brussels sprouts I've gotten in the last 10-15 years since they've gotten popular have had balsamic vinegar on them, and more than a teensy bit. It may have been added more after cooking, tho.
posted by rhizome at 5:17 PM on February 27


I've definitely had and made roasted balsamic brussels sprouts before, but these are the crispiest. Maybe it's a slightly higher temperature than the standard recipe?
posted by lalex at 5:25 PM on February 27


I find roasted vegetables require a LOT of oil, plus they stick

here's the 2 magic things you need to fix this:

nonstick foil - this stuff is amazing better than parchment paper, nothing sticks

and an oil sprayer

toss your veg in a foil lined pan. give it a good misting with the sprayer (which ends up being less than a teaspoon of oil, but it gives everything a nice even coating) sprinkle with salt and spices, and roast away. flip the veg a few times, it's the surface that touches the foil that gets the best browning.

This is particularly good for potato wedges, especially if you microwave them until almost soft first, you can get crispy wedges in half an hour.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:46 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


My favorite bar with my favorite fries switched to Industrial Air Fryers (I don’t know how they differ) and they are no longer my favorite fries, in fact they are probably some of my least favorite fries.
posted by Grandysaur at 5:52 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


I just ordered a compact air fryer earlier this week ($55 on sale), showing up this weekend. So I don't have recipes to share yet. But I live in a tiny apartment and don't have room for a convection oven – it seemed perfect.

Unrelated but related, I recently got a microwave after living without one for 5+ years, and that took my toaster oven's old space. (OMG, the microwave is the best appliance invented, I don't know how I lived without *that*!!!)
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 5:54 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


And the Vitamix.

In the mid-80s, my folks got a used Vitamix from the early 70s at an estate sale. Metal canister, variable speed motor controlled by a spring-loaded knob that could go forward or reverse on the fly. The thing was amazing and still works after all these years. If the Vitamix ever actually is available at a bargain price used, count me in.
posted by The World Famous at 6:04 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


That basket of fries was way overloaded. No wonder they didn't turn out right.

We're happy with our air fryer (Avalon Bay 3.7qt). When he gets home late from soccer practice, my teenage son can get his frozen chicken tenders to the plate in half the time of our conventional oven. And Tyson Tequila Lime wings come out perfectly crispy, no turning required.
posted by zakur at 6:10 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


yeah don't be hating on Vitamix!
posted by sheldman at 6:11 PM on February 27


Stovetops tend to be faster than electric kettles at boiling water in the US and Canada, especially if you have a gas or induction cooktop.

This is decidedly not true, having used both methods extensively (the kettle broke and I was too cheap to replace it). I am open to the possibility that it is somehow harder to judge the appropriate amount of water in a stovetop kettle and you end up boiling more water and it therefore takes longer, but for my typical use, an electric kettle is faster.

I've mentioned this before, but one of the things that shocked me when I went to college was that people literally did not know the term "electric kettle". Some had no word for it. Some called it a "water heater", which, for me, is the thing that heats the water that comes out of the tap.
posted by hoyland at 6:35 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


controlled by a spring-loaded knob that could go forward or reverse on the fly

Reverse?!?
posted by janepanic at 6:36 PM on February 27


Reverse?!?

Instant reverse has been the Vitamix' killer app since it was introduced in 1969. Do the new models not do that? If not, we are truly in a new dark age.
posted by The World Famous at 6:46 PM on February 27


Some unitaskers are worthwhile. I splurged on a very nice top of the line rice cooker as a birthday present and since then the household almost always has fresh rice ready to eat, because dammit the rice is really delicious and is always a perfect fluffy texture, and I don’t regret the cost in the slightest. Whereas I see no point to owning an instant pot; it does the jobs of various kitchen tools we already have, but does not do any of those jobs as well, and I would probably have begrudged the purchase despite instant pots — even the fancy ones — being significantly cheaper than that TOTL rice cooker.

If you don’t make rice often, or you’re not willing to throw money at the challenge of making the best rice possible, an instant pot is perfectly fine. That’s not a character judgement. There are a lot of quality of life things I don’t care about enough to spend more than the minimal money or effort on; most of us have only limited resources and so we have to prioritize, and we’ll all prioritize different things.

Anyway, I’ve been tempted by air fryers and I can imagine picking one up eventually. I kind of wonder whether marketing them as air fryers has sabotaged the opportunity for them to be considered seriously by serious kitchen people; if there was a catchy way to say “compact high-airspeed mini oven”, it’d be more descriptive and imply that they’re devices with relatively open-ended purposes, rather than as minimally-functioning proxies for a cooking process they can’t hope to replicate convincingly. I mean, that and most of them seem to be in desperate need of some good engineering to overcome their fragility and quality control problems.
posted by ardgedee at 7:50 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


It seems pretty silly to me that someone would have an electric kettle that needs to be heated every time it's used, and not just a Japanese-style hot water pot that boils water 3 liters at a time, then maintains it at 98°C through the magic of thermos technology, so that you don't have to wait at all when you want to make tea or coffee (with the Aeropress or Nanopresso). Zojirushi, Tiger, etc. make great ones, and boy are they ever worth it if you use hot water regularly.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:40 PM on February 27 [8 favorites]


We have an amazing fancypants oven that does everything really well. It's fan-forced, heats up to 300C (572F) which is good for pizzas, and dehydrates things perfectly too. It cost a bit more than some ovens but probably saved the difference in unitaskers.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 10:12 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Well, this post is timed perfectly for me because I was just trying to decide if I wanted an airfryer, and was starting to suspect it wouldn't be a good deal for me.

I'm writing this as my Instant Pot stares at me from the top of the fridge in my tiny, cluttered kitchen, asking me if I'm ever going to use it more than once a month.
posted by lunasol at 11:10 PM on February 27


So I found recently that you can make AMAZING oven fries by tossing the sliced potatoes in a container with a beaten egg-white (and a little salt) before baking them. It creates a kind of crispy batter on the outside that you can't really tell is there except by the fact they are crispy and crunchy and delicious.
posted by lollusc at 12:43 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Also can totally convince yourself your fries now have protein in them and therefore healthy.
posted by lollusc at 12:44 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Surely instead of one of these (or a regular oven), a steamer would be a more "healthy" option.

And I'll have a side of French Steams, please.
posted by Elmore at 1:21 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


I regularly say I’m glad I don’t have a deep-fat fryer because of all the delicious-sounding but very unhealthy recipes I want to try, so my mother got me a Tefal Actifry for Christmas.

Which was a nice thought, and I was really curious to see what it could do, but it’s enormous and I couldn’t justify the counter space, especially since I’ve got a good fan oven anyway. So I returned it unused.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:49 AM on February 28


ambrosen, thanks for the detailed link, that's awesome. I hadn't read about TV pickup before.
posted by and for no one at 10:59 AM on February 28


"The TV pickup from Deal or No Deal is gobsmackingly high. How sad is that?"
posted by and for no one at 11:02 AM on February 28


Metafilter: offers awesome incentive for cash.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:57 AM on February 28


I just heard of these, and promptly pictured the section at the enormous suburban thrift store full of George Foreman's Lean Mean Grilling Machine, and vowed to never buy a new kitchen appliance again.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:33 PM on February 28


I have an air fryer, which I use solely for chips. The thing the article misses on the air-fry vs oven fry debate is that in the Summer, when it’s forty degrees, I can put the air fryer outside.

That said, I do wonder about its power consumption.
posted by pompomtom at 5:45 PM on February 28


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