Frying without cups and cups of oil? Impossible. That was our first response to the T-Fal ActiFry ($299.95), a machine that promises to use only 1 tablespoon of oil to “fry” 2 pounds of food. It uses a rotating paddle to slowly push food and oil around a heated nonstick-coated chamber while you watch through a clear lid that stays moisture-free for easy viewing. It all sounds too good to be true—and it is. On the plus side, the machine did produce french fries with a hands-off approach (set it for 30 minutes and walk away), was easy to program, and boasts a dishwasher-safe insert. However, the fries were less crisp and flavorful than those cooked in a pot of bubbling oil: The exteriors of thicker batons were soggy and the interiors parched, while thinner-cut spuds had a texture reminiscent of frozen fries. Meanwhile, chicken nuggets needed nearly half an hour in the fryer—twice as long as in the oven—and a batch of sweet potato chips ranged from floppy to burned. We appreciate the concept of more healthful, less messy frying, but for now we’ll stick with occasionally indulging the old-fashioned way.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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