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Crispy Meal or Cancerous Consequences

Reporters take two stances on the trendy air fryer. Are they worth it?
Photo by Mila Segal

Pro Air Fryers

Two years ago when my family bought an Air Fryer for our kitchen, my life changed for the better. I couldn’t believe I had lived without an air fryer for the majority of my life.

As someone who loves crispy food, air fryers are the perfect kitchen appliance. Air fryers are designed to rapidly circulate hot air which helps dry out any moisture from the surface of food, making it crispier, whereas the typical convection oven releases only heat from the top and bottom with no wind, therefore not allowing food to get the crispy effect that air fryers give. 

Air fryers are more time efficient than ovens and toaster ovens. When making chicken in an oven, I would have to preheat for 15 minutes and then take at least an additional 30 minutes for the chicken to be cooked through, and an additional 10 minutes to get it to my desired crispiness, totalling in an hour of my time. When cooking chicken in an air fryer, it warms up for about a minute and is cooked to perfection in about 15 minutes. The air fryer cooks in a fourth of the time an oven can cook in, making it more efficient for those with a busy lifestyle.

On top of being time efficient, air fryers allow the ordinary consumer to make restaurant quality dishes. Take french fries for example: most people don’t make them at home because deep frying is inconvenient and unhealthy. But with an air fryer, barely any oil is required to make potatoes as crispy as a restaurant. This allows people to have different foods from the comfort of their home, and healthier than usual.

Some of the common complaints about air fryers is that they are hard to clean and that they take up alot of space, both of which are untrue. To clean an air fryer after use, simply take the basket out and soak it in dish soap and water for 15 minutes, then scrub with a sponge. You also don’t have to wash your airfryer after every use, only when you don’t want to contaminate the next round of food with the previous seasoning. 

Air fryers are the best appliance for quick and easy cooking. It has all the features of a microwave, oven and toaster in one small device. It is a worthwhile investment for beginner chefs, busy students, and anyone with a small kitchen.


Anti Air Fryers

They’ve taken over. Like the juicer or the soda stream, air fryers have taken over the at-home cooking industry, but this time with a fatal cost. 

According to the non-profit National Capital Poison Center, air fryers produce a chemical called acrylamide which is a carcinogen. Even the European Chemical Agency included acrylamide in the “List of Substances of Very High Concern”. 

Though acrylamide can be found naturally in starches like potatoes, it is mainly found when food is cooked at extremely high temperatures like frying. 

Despite their health consequences, air fryers also represent a growing trend in American consumerism. According to data gathering company Statista, the cooking equipment industry is worth 94.3 billion dollars. When people already have expensive oven and stove tops in their kitchens, air fryers are an unnecessary addition. Healthier meals can be made with other kitchen appliances, and this way you won’t have to consume carcinogens with your meal.

There isn’t even a financial benefit to buying an air fryer over making use of your good old stove. Good quality air fryers are expensive. Yes, companies sell cheap ones, but they’re made of plastic which seeps into your food. The cheap ones also tend to be loud and release a lot of smoke as they have a hard time ventilating over long periods. 

Although their small size is a benefit to some, it does pose an issue for feeding families of more than three. Investing in a larger, more expensive air fryer would come with the sacrifice of a significant amount of counter space.

Not to forget, that almost nobody knows how to clean them properly. There are numerous videos on the internet advising people on how to clean their air fryers, most of which are wrong. Harshly scrubbing the inside of an air fryer is dangerous, as it can chip away at the non-stick coating which becomes carcinogenic when consumed. The most a person can do to clean an air fryer is to scrub it lightly with dish soap. Sadly, this makes it hard to get the greasy residue off of an air fryer, which is when hard-bristled sponges and glaring health concerns come in. 

Nevertheless, while air-frying food may be more “easy” to manage, the health and financial consequences far outweigh the benefit of a slightly crispier chicken nugget. Fried food is unnecessary and awful for a person’s health, so maybe try cooking food in a way that doesn’t cause an array of future health problems. For example, instead of fried chicken, try roasted chicken, which can be just as flavorful when seasoned properly. 

Overall, air fryers are just another unnecessary kitchen gadget. As a society, we should be striving for a more eco-friendly future, so buying wasteful hunks of plastic should be replaced with a more sustainable cooking solution. For the sake of your health and counter space, don’t buy an air fryer. Keep it real, skip the air fryer meal!


About the Contributors
Augusta McKenzie
Augusta McKenzie, Reporter
What are you looking forward to on the staff this year? Hanging out with the Newspaper staff. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  A tree house on a small island or in the rainforest with tons of colorful birds. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pasta
Mila Segal
Mila Segal, Designer
Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why? Greece! It looks gorgeous! If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Malibu