This is Games N Gadgets week at the Charlotte Observer. Throughout the week, Monday-Sunday, we're going to look at some popular and not-so popular Games N Gadgets. If you have any ideas for things you'd like to see us review, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
First up is the Flavorwave Turbo Oven. You've probably seen the ads on TV, like below, with actor Mr. T (a.k.a B.A. Baracus from the hit '80s show "The A Team").
The infomercial is intentionally silly, but the oven, which goes for $138, really does work. It uses halogen heat, infrared waves and convection style cooking to cook food really fast and thoroughly. My kids say the stuff I'm cooking tastes as good as Applebee's, and coming from my kids, that's a huge compliment.
Better, I can see fat drippings collect at the bottom of the large glass bowl you cook in.
I'm usually skeptical of most things infomercial, but when I opened the box and felt the heft of this thing I was impressed. I put in some frozen chicken breast and it cooked them in about 18 minutes, no defrosting necessary. The breasts came out tender, if unseasoned. I tried some more with some seasoning on the frozen breasts and a little soy sauce and water at the bottom of the bowl (the food sits on a raised platform).
I'm not much a cook (something Mrs. Wertz will attest to) but I find myself constantly using this thing. Man, food comes out perfectly almost every time. Frozen fries from Harris Teeter come out crunchy. Add some breadcumbs and some egg beaters and you get (somewhat) guiltless fried chicken.
You can reheat take-out pizza and not get the soggy microwave crust. Steaks are amazing.
My only complaint was all the add-ons that you want -- to allow you to grill, sear and cook bigger items like turkeys -- cost extra, about $12 each.
Well, I actually had two complaints.
In the ad, they show the ability to cook veggies with your food. And you can, but the drippings from whatever is on the highest tray always get on the food underneath. I think the folks at Thane would do well to make a bigger turbo or give you a deal for getting two (the, you guessed it, Twin Turbo).
As far as infomercials go, this one is a winner. I even used it outside a few weeks back instead of the BBQ grill. It cleans up easier and if you season the food well, it tastes just as good.
Count me convinced, and like Mr. T might say, I pity the fool who disagrees.