Why are toaster ovens becoming so popular lately?
There has been a recent increasing trend amongst home cooks to favor toaster oven cookery. After microwave ovens became ubiquitous in modern kitchens, this handy appliance became largely forgotten for decades. Until recent years, that is. Some people buy one to replace their microwave oven, others to supplement or replace the full-sized oven in the kitchen. Here's a quick look at why this countertop oven is experiencing such a surge in popularity.
Those who use a toaster oven to replace or supplement a full-sized oven often do this for energy efficiency. On average, a toaster oven uses 50% less energy than a standard oven. Most people have come to realize that the bulk of their cooking could be done in a smaller oven without wasting so much energy. In trying economic times, such issues often get well-deserved attention. Not sure if the energy savings would add up for you? Keep a food log for two weeks or more of everything you cook in your oven. Measure each item and see how often you could have used a toaster oven instead. This will give you a good idea of whether or not a smaller oven is the best choice for you.
Heating the Kitchen
A toaster oven doesn't have to heat as large of an area; therefore it creates much less heat. This is good news for anyone trying to cook in the middle of summer. Less heat means it will keep your kitchen cooler. This can also contribute to more energy savings, as you will not need to counteract excessive oven heat with expensive air conditioning. I'm sure most have us have turned to fast food or restaurants in the middle of the hot season simply because we didn't want to heat our house by cooking. The toaster oven offers you another option.
Brown Food Tastes Good
Many people are passing on microwaved food in favor of food prepared in the toaster oven purely for the love of good tasting food. Quite simply, brown food tastes good. A microwave oven superheats the water in food, thereby essentially steaming all food. It has no ability to produce food which is golden brown and delicious. While this method of cooking is ideal for things like steamed green beans or crab claws, it is definitely not the way to go for steaks or roasted vegetables. That's where the toaster oven truly excels. It is a smaller version of your large oven and comes equipped with the same browning capabilities.
Some modern toaster ovens offer tons of special features that your full-sized oven may be lacking. Pre-set buttons can be quite helpful when trying to quickly get dinner together. Many models have convection baking, which cooks food more evenly and more quickly. There are models which have a rotisserie spit for roasting items such as whole chickens. Often times, especially if you have older appliances, these countertop ovens can surpass the full-sized oven in every area of performance.