How the air fryer got deep into the heart of America

A year ago, Rebecca Abbott, a photographer and food blogger in Mesa, Ariz., bought dryer to develop recipes for client blogs. She started with the usual specialties of air fryers, frozen pizza rolls, and toast, but it took a long time until she realized that her model could do pretty well. many things she wants. Four months later, she was stunned when her homemade cheesecake emerged from the appliance, baked to perfection in 20 minutes with no cracks or dents.

Ms Abbott said: “Then the floodgates opened. She thought, what more could she cook in dryer?

Lamb chops, beef and pork loin, a mouth-watering steak, sirloin, crab legs, lobster tail, pecans and pumpkin pie – she made it all in what she calls “ghost box” art”. Now she owns seven or six different brands and runs a blog called Air Frying Foodie with her friend Jennifer West.

The two are also moderators for a Facebook group, Easy Air Fryer Recipes, where users share dozens of recipes and device tips. The group has almost a million members, with about 10,000 new join requests every day.

Chefs who have been stuck at home for two years during the pandemic have turned to air fryers, in part because it can replicate deep-frying, giving food a crunchy texture with little or no use. use oil. But they’ve also discovered that it can do more than just crunch. An air fryer can do breakfast, Lunch and dinner. For some chefs, it has almost replaced the oven or microwave for heating frozen foods, refreshing leftovers, or cooking meals and desserts. Social media influencers, especially on TikTok, has made a career out of sharing new recipes and unexpected uses for the device.

Fans have tapped into old habits of a fried chef, air fry whatever they get their hands on and hope it works. You name it, maybe someone stuffed it in an air fryer – cooked penne for “pasta,” or whole, shelled eggs for a soft texture, or poached.

Farrah Jalanbo, a food influencer in Chino Hills, California, came up with a inspired by elote This recipe for corn rib has become an air fryer favorite. Her version – corn on the cob that has been shredded, deep-fried and topped with Cotija cheese and coriander – has amassed more than 14 million views on TikTok, which has dozens of adaptations of corn chops ranging from Sweet to spicy to grilled- seasoned.

“Any air fryer recipe is really good because people love to see different ways to use the extra kitchen equipment they paid for,” says Jalanbo.

Fred van der Weij, a Dutch inventor, was just looking for a way to deep-fry a French fry without deep frying when he started developing an air fryer in 2005.

Before his invention, he said, alternative methods of making french fries at home took too long, with disappointing results. For example, a convection oven, dry them.

It took van der Weij three years to develop a prototype and his egg-shaped fryer, manufactured by Philips, was introduced in 2010 in Esperanto Funkausstellung, a major consumer electronics fair in Berlin. It combines near-range radiation and increased air flow to better heat food surfaces. Philips currently holds a patent for van der Weij’s air frying technology.

“It’s the kind of holy grail that many companies are looking for – to make better fries,” he said. “To find a way to make the processing much easier and the results much better would be a huge potential, that is clear. But I didn’t expect it to be as big as it is now.”

Large kitchen appliance companies such as Cosori, shinobi, Cuisinart and Instant Branding quickly introduce their own models. They added the air fryer function to other appliances like convection ovens and home ovens and pressure cooker.

When Ms. West, who co-founded the Easy Air Fryer Recipes Facebook group, started remodeling the kitchen at her home in Shreveport, La. Five models of air fryer.

“It’s a great device that people use,” she says of the air fryer. “All ages, all over the world.”

The first big sales boom for air fryers took place in 2017, and the pandemic has taken another hit. Joe Derochowski, vice president and domestic industry advisor at NPD Group, a market research company. By 2020, about 36% of American households have an air fryer, but Derochowski says that number will now be higher.

To understand many people’s obsession with air fryers, look back to the mid-20th century, when food manufacturers learned that crispiness and crispiness were among the textures consumers enjoyed. most coveted. Nadia Berenstein, a historian of taste. Those textures, which require a lot of heat and oil to achieve, have long been difficult to produce in the home kitchen for a weeknight meal.

Ms. Berenstein says deep-frying is already available to industrial food processors. But now the air fryer is “on your counter, giving you a feeling like this that you have to rely on others to create.”

Americans buy more kitchen appliances than people in the rest of the world, and that may be because advertisers promise it will change their lives, Ruth Cowan, a retired professor of historical sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of a book on home technology titled “Do more for mom. “American consumer kitchens also tend to have more counters and storage space.

The air fryer is closely following the path of the 12-button blender, she said. As air fryers become a staple, manufacturers are adding frying, grilling, dehydrating, pressure cooking, or grilling features. And when consumers shop for an air fryer, they often choose one with multiple functions, Dr. Cowan said, even though they’ll likely only use a few.

The popularity of the air fryer also reminded her of the huge rise of microwave ovens in the 1970s. Some companies thought that home cooks would only use microwaves to heat up items. frozen meals, but eventually they found other uses.

“No one recommends cooking a whole chicken in the microwave,” she said, “but everyone did.”

Megha Ramesh, a food science student at the University of California, Davis, uses her air fryer to make vegetarian dishes. She heats handpies and tofu in her off-campus apartment, and at her home in India, she heats momos, dehydrates mangoes, and cooks shelled peanuts.

Ms. Ramesh, who bought the first used air fryer, said: “Buying an air fryer is not about making fried foods, but about how to get the best out of the foods we cook. I did yesterday. . The appliance also cut her electricity bill in half because she didn’t have to use an oven.

The device is a particularly useful tool for Shelly Cobb of Arabia, Ala., who has been experiencing pain since knee replacement surgery and has difficulty moving around her kitchen. It’s much easier for her to get the air fryer on the counter than it is to bend over to use the oven, a device she’s almost retired from. She uses the air fryer to bake light, airy cookies for breakfast. She says leftover pizza reheated in the fryer tastes better than it does in the oven.

The air fryer, she says, is “everything and better than I was hoping for.”

Social media influencers have unleashed the creativity of air fryer recipes by introducing the device to a younger audience. On TikTok, the most popular video app for users from 16 to 24 years old, content creators have racked up millions of views by pushing the limits of what can be created in an air fryer – everything from roasted corn arrive donuts and cookies. Currently, there are 2.6 billion views under #dryer and nearly 700 million more under #airfryerrecipes.

Jori Maglaya, a Los Angeles-based chef and DJ under the stage name Jori Mezuda, has garnered thousands of comments on TikTok videos in which she prepares air-fried dishes like Cheese sticks covered with spicy Cheetos. She said: “People are like, ‘Oh my gosh, you make me want to buy an air fryer.

Food companies have supported the popularity of this device. As of 2019, many Ore-Ida The product has instructions for air-frying. Tyson products like nuggets and chicken strips are also in the same direction and the company is selling pre-made air fried chicken. Louisiana Fish Fry Create a special coating for the air fryer.

It is not clear how long the relationship will last. Dr. Cowan, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said electric knives and sauce pots were already on the kitchen counter. But in most homes, they end up in the back of a closet or thrown away. How the air fryer got deep into the heart of America

Fry Electronics Team

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