Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Alton Memories

Another moment in the former life of the Alton Brown website.  I really, really miss AB's Rants & Raves section.  Looks like this train of thought led him to invent the Turkey Derrick!

Wednesday, October 09, 2002
  At Long Last…Vindication

Thanksgiving is just weeks away and the appetites of many American cooks are turning turkeyward. Despite the fact that the average American household generates exactly 1.32 turkeys a year* it seems that more and more of you just can’t settle for a good ole roast turkey. You want variety. You want…deep fried turkey. And I don’t want you to have it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as fond of fried food as the next guy, but besides yielding mostly mediocre results, I believe the practice to be downright dangerous. I’ve tried explaining my point of view in various forums, but I’m always waved off as an overwrought ninny.

Well, it turns out that Underwriters Laboratories (UL) the nations leading safety certification organization’s a little overwrought too. An article in the November 2002 issue of Consumer Reports states that after testing 6 turkey frying kits, the folks at UL decided not to give certify any of the devices as safe. They certified parts of the systems, the valves and hoses for instance, as safe but not the cookers themselves. The CR report goes on to state that the UL found that many of the units tipped over and that if accidentally overfilled, “flames…engulfed the unit”. After doing a little testing of their own, CR also found the devices to be iffy at best. Of course since there are no standards for the gizmos I guess nothing will be done until some little kid gets turned into a crouton and the lawsuits begin.

So, if you don’t want to listen to me…fine. But before you pour 3-5 gallons of perfectly flammable hydrocarbons into that big, wobbly, top heavy pot on Thanksgiving morn, you might want to think about what other products around your home can be connected with the words “engulfed” and “flames”.

Of course I do own a turkey fryer and I love it…for stir-frying with a wok. The pot resides next to my grill. It makes a swell garbage can.

Oh, yeah…and don’t run with knives. You’ll put an eye out.


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