In Opposition to Air Fryers
Air fryers are dumb. Although they have rather elegant solutions to some problems, which I will get into later, the reasons they are praised are often misfounded and demonstrably false. Let us dismantle these misunderstandings:
The very concept of the name is stupid. Air fryers purport to be able to “fry” foods through the medium of air. Such a thing is impossible; the very definition of frying implies that there are hot fat molecules present to coat a food’s surface and enhance browning. Air cannot do this in the same way as oil. In this way, an air fryer’s only function is to heat its enclosed air to a specific temperature and to move that air with a small fan: the same as a convection oven. Although not all kitchens are equipped with convection ovens, most do have access to more typical, fanless ovens. So, most people with kitchens have access to massive air fryers that have been built into the layout of their house. The addition of a similar product is superfluous and especially unnecessary when cooking for a crowd. Circling back then, people already can heat up air to “fry” their foods without purchasing a tiny, clumsy oven.
Air fryers are often applauded for their health benefits, too, implying that they can produce foodstuffs equivalent to that of a deep fat fryer in taste, while reducing the caloric density of the product. The idea of this is that there is no oil present to add fat to their foods. However, when baking, or in this case air frying, foods, the cook typically adds oil to it anyways. The air of the oven heats the oil which can utilize its higher heat capacity to transfer heat while also coating it with those hot fat molecules. The fat is added for the same reason it is used in traditional fryers. Although it may be less calorically dense than if it were deep fried, the food product will ultimately be coated in fat either way. In referring to these food products as “air fried” we undermine the terminology that has already been implemented in the culinary world for centuries: bake. All an air fryer does is bake the food inside it. There is no fancy gimmick that makes it special or different from other ovens; air fryers are just weird, robot-alien-looking ovens that barely fit any food in them and take up counter space.
So what do air fryers do right? They are essentially small ovens for those who do not have regular access to a larger one, especially if space is an issue. However, a toaster oven serves the same function as an air fryer in this scenario. These smaller ovens also use less energy and time to heat up, which is notable when making small portions. I cannot argue against this point; it is essentially the only benefit an air fryer has in practice. However, for the most part, air fryers’ function can be encompassed and surpassed by tools one already has access to: ovens, microwaves, toasters, frypans, etc.
When it comes to cooking, there are countless approaches to heat something up. Ultimately, the air fryer is useless. The spurious claims of air fryer fans are poorly constructed, illogical, and baseless. In summation, air fryers are dumb.