I’m unabashedly in love with my air fryer. If I had to choose between the dishwasher and the air fryer, I’d be buying rubber gloves, sponges, and dish soap in bulk. Its plethora of settings actually work instead of frustrate. It has a classic retro look, like a 1950’s toaster oven you’d use to heat hors d’oeuvres, but souped-up. Smart and good-looking, too.
I own the Emeril 360 XL Air Fryer. This is not a paid advertisement, but if Emeril put me on camera I would be one of those testimonial-spouting fans. Right now, I’m toasting a chubby frozen bagel, and I don’t have to worry about whether it will fit in the slots of my toaster. Why? Because I gave that thing away when I got the air fryer. Ditto for the crock pot. Gone. My air fryer toasts, slow cooks, does convection, warms, air fries, and generally cooks better and in less time than the oven, toaster, or crock pot. It’s the single most versatile appliance in my kitchen, so everyone uses it, and it delivers every time.
The only thing it can’t make – I’m told – is cake. I got this information from the seasoned food critics who occupy my sons’ bodies from time to time. The texture is a little different, and I suspect it’s similar to an Easy-Bake Oven. I “suspect” because, as much as I wanted an Easy-Bake Oven, I did not have one. My mom thought the idea of cooking with a lightbulb was ridiculous when we had a full-size oven in the kitchen. And since she was willing to teach me to cook with the “big oven” instead, I didn’t have an arguing leg to stand on. Also, she controlled the purse strings. I’ll give it to her, though – it was a good alternative and served me well.
I’ve had some great appliances over the years, so the air fryer had competition. A Philips pasta maker transported me to heaven in its earlier days. The fondue maker gives me smiles whenever I use it. A Nespresso coffee maker almost lost its luster after about 10 loyal years when the difficulty of getting pods in the pandemic made it too stressful. It was clutched from the jaws of Goodwill when Amazon began offering the pods with one day delivery. Phew! But then, like a dark horse, that air fryer came out of nowhere and pushed that baby out of my heart and practically off the counter. Indeed, it’s pushed as far over as it can get to make room for the air fryer.
The air fryer wasn’t my idea. My older son lobbied for about a year and a half before I cut the only-if-we-ditch-two-other-appliances deal. As when my kids told me they would lavish care on a new puppy if we got him, there were promises of cooked dinners that have yet to materialize. Still, credit where credit is due: If he hadn’t been so persistent, I would never have found my true kitchen love. And believe me, this one is a keeper!