Will I bite the (Nutri)bullet and get an air fryer?

November 22nd, 2022 3:30 PM

By Emma Connolly

I have every kitchen appliance and utensil you can think of – including my much-loved toastie maker – except an Air Fryer. The burning question is: do I need one? (Photo: Shutterstock)

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With Black Friday deals coming at me left, right and centre I’m tempted to add the all singing and dancing air fryer to my kitchen kit … but only after I have a good decluttering session first!

• RIGHT, so despite much talking and Googling I still haven’t bought an air fryer. I’m wearing it as a sort of badge of honour at this stage (in the same way that I’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones). But after the barrage of Black Friday offers I feel like I’m about to cave. The thing is, I’ve now built the appliance up so much in my mind that through no fault of its own, it’s inevitably going to be a let down. I would literally expect it not just to cook the dinner in jig time, but to decide what we’re having, to serve it up and tidy up. With a little cajoling I’d half hope it might do a bit of laundry too. Of course there’s also the distinct possibility that I’d just use it an easy way to give everyone chips every night. Anyway, before I welcome another appliance into my kitchen I decided to do a stocktake of what I already have. Quite a lot it seems ….

• Yes, my cupboards are bursting with various bits of equipment, some niftier than others, and with lots dating back to the 80s. My mother was a great one for the various gadgets and after she had a recent decluttering session, I inherited her ice-cream maker and yoghurt maker (as well as lots of jelly moulds … Tupperware parties have a lot to answer for). They’re in pristine condition which makes me think they weren’t used a lot (I’ve a distinct memory of us turning our noses up at the yoghurt), and I’ve yet to plug them in myself. Occupying prime press space, these guys might be on borrowed time, and are free to a good home. I’d even throw in our rarely-used pasta maker (bought in a fit of enthusiasm after a holiday in Italy) for good luck. 

• Now, nothing says you’ve arrived at adulthood more than having a Kenwood mixer and a Magimix and I’m the proud owner of both. These are two expensive pieces of kit (mine were wedding gifts) but they most definitely earn their keep. The latter comes with around five million attachments (some look quite threatening), but if you only use it to blitz onions, you’re already winning. These are staying. So is my coffee machine, for the obvious reasons. It takes up a good chunk of countertop space but it’s worth it. Everyone who knows me agrees, I’m much nicer when I’ve had my coffee. The Nutribullet, which I’ve had for well over a decade is another worktop fixture – smoothies are a handy way to sneak greens and Omegas into the smallie and it suggests to visitors that I’m healthier than I am! It’s a keeper.

• Next up, the deep fat fryer, which isn’t one I’m proud to admit that I own. My husband actually bought it by mistake a few years ago because he thought it was an air fryer (the plot thickens). I was appalled at the time, but to be honest, there are few things tastier than hand-cut chips (well besides melted cheese but we’ll get to that). Oven chips don’t even come close in my opinion. Granted the smell lingers and anything within a half-mile radius will stink for around three days, but we plug ours into an outdoor socket, and it’s worth the effort every now and then. Don’t judge me but it’s staying.

• So is the toasted sandwich maker. I know each toastie is probably around 3,000 calories but god, who doesn’t love toasted cheese? I know some people add tomatoes to theirs, but I think that’s a bit controversial (and hazardous, a hot tomato will burn the lip off you). I like mine with a thin smearing of mustard, and a mix of cheddar and mozzarella. Yes, there’s few things in life that don’t seem better after a toastie. 

• Also in the ‘to keep’ corner is the crepe maker. I’ve never mastered the thing to be honest, but my husband has it down to perfection. The six-year-old would live on pancakes if she was allowed. I do American style ones, but she prefers the crepes which suits me absolutely fine, in fact I encourage it! It was a middle aisle supermarket purchase and it’s staying. That’s where I think I also got the spiralizer. Gwyneth Paltrow or someone was gushing about it so I picked one up, but yeah, for sure courgetti definitely sounds more interesting than it tastes. That can go, if it even still works. 

• A delve into my ‘large utensil’ cutlery draw reveals quite the eclectic mix (as well as more hand mixers than one household needs). I’ve around 12 wooden spoons, but only one single and very useful slatted spoon and a solitary vegetable peeler. Am I the only one who regularly tosses them out by mistake with the peelings? There’s a potato ricer that’s taking up an inordinate amount of space, but just a single, and very ineffective potato masher that’s hardly tough enough to smash a pea, and that sends the saucepan into a tailspin. Every. Single. Time.  There’s also a bizarre mix of scoopers for things like melon balls, ice-cream and butter (mine makes lovely little shell shapes if you’re feeling fancy, or are having the stations). I also have around eight salad servers which I’m convinced you can only work properly if you’re French. Time for a good clear out there me thinks. 

• I’ve never been attracted to a soup maker, even though I’ve heard great things. I’m not a huge soup fan, find it too filling for a starter and not satisfying enough as main (unless it’s broccoli and stilton. Divine). I’m also a bit scarred from all those seven- day soup diets I did in my 20s. What were we thinking? Same for a bread maker, haven’t seen the need.  Like half the country I took a fit and made bread during lockdown. It was a tad on the crunchy side and my back tooth came out the worst, so that’s something I’m leaving to the experts. As for a rice maker, I like a gimmick as much as the next but I can’t see the point; and  the slow cooker, well my OCD would be convinced the house would burn down. What I do need though is an egg timer. I always go through the routine of asking the family how they’d like their egg boiled but it’s always the same – hard, very, very hard. I’m a terror for putting them on to boil and then forgetting about them. I once went into Clonakilty and left one simmering away on the hob. So if anyone’s wondering what to get me for Christmas, an egg timer please … one that sounds an alarm! Or what do you think … will I just bite the (Nutri)bullet and get the air fryer and be done with it? 

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