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Ode to the Electric Skillet

I cooked in Farberware electric skillet for almost 20 years. My specialties included chicken fried steak, beef stroganoff, and Swiss steak. (One friend who now lives in New York calls me every couple of years for the recipe.) What was simply a browned round steak smothered with green peppers, onion, and tomatoes never tasted the same when I didn’t prepare it in an electric skillet. Plus you never obtained the comforting temperature-controlled gurgling sound of a slow cooking sauce.

Then American home cooks fell under the spell of the wok. Everyone tossed their skillets and stir-fried everything. But, to me, woks were a hassle to store—there were a big (you had to have the biggest), wide and wobbly cooking pans. Eventually, woks ended up sitting on top of refrigerators–a sign of status, a catcher of dust. Maybe my longing for my old Farberware electric skillet is a reflection of the current economic times—then I was poor and dealt more in #303 cans than 401-k plans. I know they are still out there, the skillets not the 401-ks. I found one made by Cuisinart for $129. But I’m going back to Faberware. Like, now.

11 comments on “Ode to the Electric Skillet

  1. My mom used to make Swiss Steak in an electric skillet probably once a week. I never want to see it again. She also kept that thing on high, instead of the low burn you are talking about. Ahhh, memories.

  2. I think I officially need to trash my wok. For some reason, I can’t seem to WANT to use it! And, up until recently, it did sit atop my fridge and on the few occasions I’ve used it, I’ve had to scrub it of thick dust. Maybe I should try the Electric Skillet. I wonder how it cooks tofu. Nancy, you’ve inspired me!

  3. My early 20s, living in a rathole apartment with shoddy AC, turning on the oven was suicidal. The electric skillet was perfect for cooking Totino’s frozen pizza.

  4. That is exactly how our electric skillet became obsolete! It was that dang red electric wok. My mother went ape over that thing. I can still recall the smell of the hot teflon before she poured in the oil. Haunting.

  5. aaah the memories. NN what are other old gadgets or food fads … that’d be a good blog someday too.

  6. One of my favorite memories was of my Grandmother making fried pies in an electric skillet for me and my cousins.

    My God, those pies were sooooo good!!!

  7. You can find all this stuff out in Canton at First Monday Trade Days, it is taking place this weekend. And it’s cheap, cheap, cheap.

    Great day for a drive!