The Deep Fryer: A Crisis of Conscience

I was in Wal-Mart the other day picking up some stuff, and I went through some of their kitchen items looking at baking pans and other things. I was stunned at how cheap everything was--proving once again that cooking at home is laughably cheap.

But then I saw it, teasing me with its placement at the end of the aisle, with the smiley face and the tantalizingly rolled-back price of only $29.99: An electric deep fryer!!

Wow, think of the things I could make with this!

Fried chicken. French fries. And I could really do Paul Prudhomme's fried hush puppies and catfish up right too, rather than my current method risking life and limb by using an open, splattering, non-stick pan. Heck, maybe I can find out once and for all whether deep-fried Oreos are as revolting as they sound!

But then I had a crisis of conscience. How often, really, will I deep fry? I was troubled--and deeply confused--by all the paradoxes that would be involved in making the purchase of this deep fryer "worth it."

Will this be the type of item that I use a lot after buying it to justify why I bought it? And if so, will I, by making the purchase justified, end up needing multiple angioplasties twenty years from now? What exactly does "worth it" mean in this case? By making an economically sound decision, will I merely buy an early and untimely end to my cooking voyages of discovery?

Is this like buying your own do-it-yourself crystal meth kit in order to save money? ;)

So, I dealt with all of these paradoxes and ethical dilemmas the way I always do: I cheated and took the easy way out. I decided to buy it because I thought it would be fun.

I'll keep you posted on what I make and I'll post any new recipes worth passing along.


Anonymous said...

This is a tough one. I feel your dilemna - your crisis of conscience. The low price tag makes it even harder. $29 bucks - why not, right?

The fryolator certainly has its use - fish n' chips, those hushpuppies - jalapeno poppers for the Super Bowl party.

In general, though, I have to disagree w/ the Casual Kitchen on this one (the first time, I think!). I am extremely anti-gadget in the kitchen and this one is the ultimate gadget. Most of the uses could be replicated with a deep saute pan and a few inches of oil (and some baking soda near by for the inevitable greasen fire). The fryolator takers up a ton of space and gets dirty easily - and is a real pain to clean. When you use it, your clothing is going to smell like that oil for a few days... That's a big negative for a guy like me who doesn't clean himself up that much.

Not to mention the health aspect ---

Say no to kitchen gadget hegemony.

The Sieve

Anonymous said...

Ewwww, stinky! Take it back! Go OUT for fish and chips!

(plus, if you keep buying these gadgets you will need to buy a house to put them all in)


Anonymous said...

Dono, both my mother-in-law and I deep fry using a wok. My mother just doesn't deep-fry.

I think Alton Brown says it best when he says "There should be only one uni-tasker in the kitchen, and that's the fire extinguisher."

Anonymous said...

Ken I have never heard that Alton Brown quote but its great - gospel... thx

Rita Woods said...

I stumbled across your blog/this recipe when searching for a new stuffed mushrooms recipe. I made them today and they were incredible. They went great with ranch dressing! Thank you so much for sharing!!!