Saturday, February 4, 2023

‘OMG I’m THAT Person’ – I Bought An Air Fryer & Dammit Everyone Was RIGHT

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Kelly Bertrand has a few wines and orders an air fryer. What happened next?

I’ve never been in denial about being a basic bitch. Apart from a lack of motivational letter décor (at least I’ve never Lived, Laughed, Loved) I am a painfully ordinary 30-something-year-old.

The message thread between me and my best friend tells the story. ‘Ooh LOOK at this new Kmart side table.’ ‘Thinking I might make this *insert Instagram food trend* for dinner?’ ‘I’ve finally found the best coffee beans!’ and my personal favourite, ‘OMG, Decjuba have got the best linen sets at the moment!’. And these were just from this week. (Sorry Gemma).

I believe the kids these days call it cheugy but whatever you want to call it, hi – it me.

But for the last few days, our chat has all been about my new air fryer. The new hallmark of a true cheugy basic over the last year or so, the air fryer is the perfect accompaniment to all of your Kmart-sourced kitchen copper baskets and glass storage containers.

It cooks food in half the time as a normal oven, and often without most of the fat. It makes sense as a win-win – but for so long I held out on buying one.

First, I live in a shoe box. Where the hell was it going to go? Second, did I REALLY need one? And third, did I want to be THAT person?

It’s funny how all of these very valid concerns, plus a bottle of rosé, plus your actual oven breaking in the middle of level four, can be instantly alleviated.

So in one tipsy Apple Pay later (I also apparently bought two of the ‘Spread Your Legs Not the Virus’ mugs), a half-price package from Briscoes was winging its way to me.

Why are we all of a sudden fizzed about air fryers? For some people who aren’t confident in the kitchen, it’s a fail-safe way of pretending to know what you’re doing (that’s not confined to non-cooks to be fair). For others, it saves valuable time in their day.

Their main schtick is that it removes the need to deep fry – instead, as little as a teaspoon or tablespoon can be used, with hot air being circulated to achieve delicious crispiness.

Kelly Bertrand
Another converted air fryer enthusiast

For some of us, it’s a novelty – a new way to pass the time during lockdowns and level changes.

Sales of air fryers have risen over the last three years, and spiked dramatically in early 2020 when Covid-19 first hit, with retailers attributing the trend to more people trying to cook their favourite takeaways at home.

Then, along came Kmart. Their model sent bargain hunters from both sides of the Tasman alight with its apparent life-altering goodness, friendly price tag and healthy-eating enabling attributes.

Prices can wildly vary – from the Kmart option at $79 through to $500 models – but in a test by Consumer NZ, price was no guarantee of quality, with the infamous Kmart-branded Anko model performing just as well as an almost $500 model.

And I have to say, since the shiny black cylinder has made its home on my very minimal bench space, my life has changed.

I started with the holy grail – chicken nuggets obviously – and moved on to chips. Then raw chicken breast. Then, can you believe, I poached some fish.

I chucked in some veggies. I made a brownie. I fried chicken. I made tiny quiche-omelette thingies. I made PANCAKES, for God’s sake.

All were easier than the oven, all took less time (turns out you don’t have to wait for air fryers to heat up – goodbye, those annoying 20 minutes preheating the oven) and everything was crispier.

So I’m really sorry if you were reading this hoping for an air fryer takedown because, fortunately or unfortunately, the bloody things are worth the hype.

Live, laugh… air fry?

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