“Whatever happened to our old Roto-Broil?” I asked my daughter recently.
“You mean that monstrosity that took up 3-cubic feet of counter space? I barely had room to use my Tupperware popsicle maker.”
We both agreed that the last time we saw the appliance was on a shelf in the basement. That meant it likely survived the house fire in 2002 and is probably still in storage. Like many things from that era, I never had reason to unpack it.
The Roto-Broil Cooking Cult
Then this week I read that Roto-Broil has become something of a cult item. There are those convinced that the old kitchen contraption with its rotating spit is still the best way to cook a chicken. Back in the days before you could pick up a warm, freshly cooked bird in any super market, that was a selling point.
Every housewife worth her salt had one of the chic, chrome appliances and for good reason. The little counter-hog could broil, barbecue, grill, boil, roast, toast, fry and bake. Had it been able to make espresso and mix smoothies, it might still be around today.
The New Kitchen Craze
Today’s kitchens are cluttered with items we once adored, but no longer use. At one time or another most of us have found room in our lives for a fondue pot, electric pasta maker, sandwich press, egg cooker, deep fryer, cappuccino maker, electric juicer, dehydrator or crepe maker. I admit to having several of those stuffed away in cabinets or hidden in the attic.
Yes, the way we live and cook and eat changes. Outdated appliances get relocated or posted on eBay and replaced with newfangled gadgetry.
I’m eyeing an Instant Pot right now. My friend Martha tells me it supasses Roto-Broil in functions and takes up half the space. Plus, it acts as a slow cooker, steamer, and pressure cooker. It even has a setting for Porridge, in the event Goldilocks stops by your door. Hmm. . . I wonder if it makes coffee.
Interesting Side Note: Sadly, in 1985, the inventor of the Roto-Broil, a hardware store owner named Leon Klinghoffer, then retired and wheelchair bound, met a gruesome fate as the only hostage killed aboard the Achille Lauro.