Mass Halogenization
November 1, 2018 12:13 PM   Subscribe

The halogen oven is a relatively new technology that has attracted favorable attention. This innovation provides convection at a fraction of the price of a full-size range and is even cheaper than many toaster ovens. Plus, it looks cool.

Two other kitchen innovations:
-Pressure cooker
-Portable induction cooktop

Together, these instruments provide restaurant-grade speed and precision at student sizes and prices.
posted by No Robots (43 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Easy-Bake technology has really advanced since I was a kid.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:27 PM on November 1, 2018 [49 favorites]


The latest Splendid Kitchen podcast had a segment on sous vide and I was surprised by how (relatively) affordable and accessible it is for the home cook to experiment with the process.

It fascinates me that after countless millennia as a species, we're still coming up with new methods to cook food. Too bad we suck at so many other things.
posted by kmkrebs at 12:29 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


There are some fundamental questions about the human condition. Chief among them: Will this kill me? Can I eat it, and how can I make this taste even better?

Shortly followed by: How can I use this to get high?
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:32 PM on November 1, 2018 [12 favorites]


Wait, is this just another name for an air fryer?
posted by backseatpilot at 12:36 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's weird that one of the headlines calls it "low tech" because to me it screams sci-fi. However, I realize because of my age, for something to "scream sci-fi", that means 70s/80s sci-fi, which probably makes it low tech. What I'm saying is that this looks like an appliance that would definitely been in Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's kitchen before they were murdered.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:37 PM on November 1, 2018 [10 favorites]


Is not cookie tray shaped.
posted by aniola at 12:38 PM on November 1, 2018 [8 favorites]


From the first link: "It will also cook straight out of the freezer! No thawing necessary."

I don't have a clue why I'd keep one of these things in my freezer, but good to know.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:41 PM on November 1, 2018 [26 favorites]


Wait, is this just another name for an air fryer?

Comparison.
posted by No Robots at 12:42 PM on November 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


Shortly followed by: How can I use this to get high?

I wonder if rule 34 comes before this.

That said, 1300 watts is a reasonable microwave power as well..
posted by k5.user at 12:43 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


That Wirecutter article is really underselling the frustration of the small heating elements in induction cooktops, we've been stuck using one during a kitchen remodel and that instantly scorching tiny hotspot with the majority of the pan slow to heat up has only gotten more annoying the more I've used it.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:45 PM on November 1, 2018 [9 favorites]


Unfortunately the biggest limit on all these small kitchen cookers is the limit on what a wall socket will provide. In the US that's usually about 1800W which is a lot, but nowhere near what a hard-wired 240V cooktop or oven can deliver. We have a real induction cooktop and it cooks really fast when you want it to, but Id; worry those small ones are not much better than boiling a kettle.
posted by GuyZero at 12:46 PM on November 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


t's weird that one of the headlines calls it "low tech" because to me it screams sci-fi.

I dunno... it’s basucally a lamp?
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on November 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


Wait, is this just another name for an air fryer?

No, it’s just another name for one of those Ronco “set it and forget it” rotisseries.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:53 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


You'd think, because of the size of the oven, that it would be hard to get a whole roast dinner out of it. But I abide by the rule that no home cook should be obliged to serve more than one hot dish in any meal.

You'd think, because of the speed of a mule, that it would be hard to get from New York to Los Angeles. But I abide by the rule that no human being should be obliged to hurtle through the air at outrageous speeds.

Just kidding, I bet everybody loves coming to this guy's house for cold food.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:01 PM on November 1, 2018 [9 favorites]


These were a big thing very briefly in the UK a few years ago. You'd hear people say that they were now cooking everything with them. I suspect most of them are now in the back of the same cupboard as the juicer and the pasta machine.

Also, the 'air fryer'. You bring yours round to mine and we'll compare it with an 'actual fryer', shall we?
posted by pipeski at 1:03 PM on November 1, 2018


Cooking with a halogen oven is healthy, too. Their design means that fat drains away. And because they are quite small in size, users are restricted to small portions.

Somehow I missed the bullet points the first time through. Between this and the other quote I pulled, I am convinced that this article is satire.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:05 PM on November 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


"No, it’s just another name for one of those Ronco “set it and forget it” rotisseries."

Except it's not a set and forget according to the OP, dude says it takes 20 minutes for one dish but also includes turning it 4-5 times in that duration which basically means "set it and watch TV while you stand in the kitchen because you gotta mess with it periodically."
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:07 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wake me up when they start offering one that can hold, say, a standard quarter-sheet pan at minimum.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:15 PM on November 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


I would think that one of those microwave ovens that also double as a regular oven would be more useful for the cash and space strapped student than a halogen oven. One of those, an induction cooktop, and an Instant Pot or similar and you can cook almost anything.

Element size is definitely an issue with induction cooktops. We've got a full-sized one at home with fairly large cooking areas and it has been great so far. My main complaint is that it boils water too fast. On a gas stove or with an electric kettle after putting a kettle on there'd be time to leisurely get a tea bag, mug, milk, cookie, etc. but on our cooktop I barely have time to get my mug and tea bag before I have to rush back to stop the whistling. I guess that's normal for people in the UK but as a Canadian I'm used to water taking its time to boil.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:17 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


From an article on the pros and cons of halogen:

"Halogen cooking uses electricity. If there is an electrical power outage, the halogen cooking appliances will not be usable, according to the Induction Site. However, homeowners can use propane-powered backup generators for events in which the power goes out and the halogen appliance needs a different source of energy."

Or, you know, use that propane to power... a grill!
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:30 PM on November 1, 2018 [10 favorites]


So the halogen ovens aren’t as cool as they seem, is what I’m gathering from this thread? That’s a serious question, because they seem really neat and I don’t know anything about them.
posted by gucci mane at 1:42 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


People here are kicking tires. I just bought one and its being shipped to me. I'm pretty stoked about it. You don't have to look far into the product comments to see that opinion is divided. I have been using a pressure cooker for about two years, and it has transformed my cooking experience. I have been using a portable induction cooktop for about a week, and it, too, is changing my whole approach to cooking. I expect the halogen oven will do the same. Basically, I'm looking at the functionality of an induction/convection range at about 1% of the price.
posted by No Robots at 1:46 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


^Erm, 10%.
posted by No Robots at 1:53 PM on November 1, 2018


I thought I remembered hearing that Sunbeam tried this idea in the '70s. They were supposed to have abandoned it owing to... nonlinearities. Food absorbs heat, it browns, it absorbs heat faster, it browns faster, and so on...
posted by tss at 1:54 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Since the circuit that our cooker and oven were on broke... quite a long time ago, actually... embarrassingly long -we've used one of these and an induction hob for all our cooking (along with a slow cooker and a couple of other things). I'm surprised it's considered unusual enough for a FPP.

Occasionally they break - our third induction hob will point up its toes and go to induction hob heaven quite soon, as the plastic starts to crack and eventually some stray soup leaks in. In fact I should start lining up its replacement now. Our first halogen oven just died as I was about to cook the roast last Christmas Day (I just stuck it in the slow cooker and it was lovely). Went to Robert Dyas on the first day it was open and bought another one.

It's fine. It cooks everything nicely, especially grilled sausage and bacon on Saturday mornings, and I use fan oven timings for things, and that seems to work OK. For two people it's big enough.

Not had much success with bread, but then I've not tried very often.

I suppose I should get a pressure cooker just to fit in with the post.

I can't imagine it blowing anyone's mind, though.
posted by Grangousier at 2:10 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


This seems to overlap with a decent toaster oven? Our full size range is unusable so that, the microwave and instant pot and kettle do 98% of our cooking.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:23 PM on November 1, 2018


^Yeah, I may have buried the lede. How about, "No home for the range"?
posted by No Robots at 2:41 PM on November 1, 2018


This is literally a high-power Easy Bake Oven.

But that aside, I've seen halogen ovens touted for years now, and I'm unclear on why it's better than a decent toaster/convection oven. It's kind of in the same category as air fryers for me: They sound interesting and they look novel, but I'm also not clear on what they can do better than a decent toaster/convection oven.

I'm not skeptical about whether they do what they claim, because they seem legit. They just seem less versatile and have functional overlap with a different appliance that's roughly the same size, and if space is at that much of a premium, the competent multitaskers would be preferred.
posted by ardgedee at 2:47 PM on November 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


People here are kicking tires.

I don't think it's all being nitpicky, though. There are some legitimate limitations in, for instance, the format of these things. A bowl may be the most convenient shape to promote the oven-in-a-lid technology of this thing in its current incarnation, but a bowl simply isn't well-suited for all cooking tasks. I can see it as an adjunct device, but not a replacement for most people.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:56 PM on November 1, 2018


^Oh, fur shur. I'm glad I posted if only for some of the warnings about possible problems. I'll remember to look at the coil size next time I buy an induction cooktop. Some hilarity in reading about getting pizza out of the halogen oven.
posted by No Robots at 3:05 PM on November 1, 2018


I suppose I should get a pressure cooker just to fit in with the post.

On seeing this I did start pondering the possibilities of some kind of combo pressure/halogen oven, that would make the last few things the instant pot can't do achievable, I think. (Ice cream is still out)
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:16 PM on November 1, 2018


On seeing this I did start pondering the possibilities of some kind of combo pressure/halogen oven

The Ninja Foodi is a combo pressure cooker + air fryer, so it's very nearly that.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:00 PM on November 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


However, homeowners can use propane-powered backup generators for events in which the power goes out and the halogen appliance needs a different source of energy.

Hunker.com is clearly targeting a pretty specific demographic; at least in my area, a propane-powered generator setup is something you only find at rich people's houses in rural areas. Rich people in urban areas use natural gas generators which are very similar but tie into the city's gas grid. Regular folks have portable gas generators (maybe with an interlock that allows it to backfeed their house's panel, maybe just extension cords) or nothing. At fancier houses (the kind that have propane or NG generators) you tend to have an AT switch that isolates the house from the grid and kicks on the generator automatically.

Battery backup is also becoming more common and I still think it it will take off sooner and faster than people realize.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:10 PM on November 1, 2018


Yeah, it's a tangent, but for people like my parents who live in hurricane band territory (so, rarely any serious damage to their house but sometimes weeklong power outages with their neighborhood blocked in with downed trees, and leftover rain from the storms persisting for days sometimes), grilling isn't necessarily feasible and the range draws too much power, but they can plug their toaster oven or microwave or other small appliances into the (diesel, in their case) genny circuit.

Also, anything that can run on a household generator is generally a good deal for RVers, and RVers looooove the Instant Pot, air fryers, and stuff like this. Giant RVs do come with real actual baking ovens now, but older/smaller rigs often only have a stovetop and may not have a permanent secured spot for even a microwave. These little appliances can be run on a tabletop and put away when not in use.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:30 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


ardgedee: " I'm also not clear on what they can do better than a decent toaster/convection oven.
"

Me neither. 1500W of IR is 1500W of IR. The slightly smaller cooking volume may make for a slightly faster cooking time but at the expense of being top loading and having an inconvenient form factor.
posted by Mitheral at 8:39 PM on November 1, 2018


This 'How to bake in' site is a bit more objective and detail-oriented than several of the "gosh golly" ones.

Thought half the electricity sounded good, and like the idea, but SIZE and inability to take a decent-size cookie sheet made me think twice. OTOH, I can see one being ideal for many of us. Since many of us have a range-over-oven setup, if one of these were made in THAT size ... WITH a range on top ... and (rolled-out) -replacing- the oven ... and took 240v ... I'd be -much- more interested.
posted by Twang at 9:25 PM on November 1, 2018


Isn't this just a bowl with a heatlamp?
posted by Pembquist at 9:35 PM on November 1, 2018


Am I misunderstanding how big these things are? If you replace your oven with this thing, how do you make pizza? Or a tray of cookies? Or anything flat and wide you'd spread out on a baking sheet?
posted by straight at 10:35 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


So the halogen ovens aren’t as cool as they seem, is what I’m gathering from this thread? That’s a serious question, because they seem really neat and I don’t know anything about them.

Okay so these have been around for years in Australia, except we call them convection ovens. They are fine. My dad has one and uses it constantly - but he's cooking for one. We have one too, and we did use it extensively when our electric oven was broken. They do a good job, really, there's nothing wrong with them except just the size. You can cook, like one roast thing in them, but if you want some roast vegetables with your roast beef, then you are going to be struggling. They're great for cakes, though, actually - nice even fast cooking.
posted by Jimbob at 2:43 AM on November 2, 2018


Am I misunderstanding how big these things are? If you replace your oven with this thing, how do you make pizza? Or a tray of cookies? Or anything flat and wide you'd spread out on a baking sheet?

Ah yes. You might fit one small pizza. You will fit...a circular tray of cookies? Maybe two - you can stack them.
posted by Jimbob at 2:44 AM on November 2, 2018


Has anyone mentioned that they're quite cheap? That's important, too - £30-£40-ish.
posted by Grangousier at 3:10 AM on November 2, 2018


> as the plastic starts to crack

I wonder how much and what kind of plasticizer boils out of these things in use.

Gotta love China's consumer protection rules.
posted by hank at 10:09 AM on November 2, 2018


> I wonder how much and what kind of plasticizer boils out of these things in use.

Some of the halogen ovens I've seen in Chinese merchandise stores have had glass bowls.
posted by ardgedee at 5:57 PM on November 2, 2018


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