On the Hot Plate

We’re having some work done on the kitchen, and since we will have to eat on the porch for a week or more, we’ve been shopping for a hot plate. I thought it would be an easy business, but there is a surprising variety of products, coiled element to induction, plain Jane to designy, anything from $14.99 to more than $1000. But what is more interesting—as usual—are the experiences that people recount in the product reviews, more specifically, the range of uses that hot plates are put to. I expected the occupants of motels, rooming houses, and small apartments would use them. But there are also hobbyists making candles and dying wool, someone who uses a hot plate to heat up coals for his hookah, and somebody else who takes it outside to roast coffee beans. A traveler took one with him to India, and a Floridian has one in case of hurricanes, so she can cook with electricity made by a small generator. A promotional chef uses it for cooking demonstrations in clients’ offices, and a science teacher bought it for his lab. One person has it for making popcorn in his basement rec room. A gentleman from Nebraska uses a hot plate for brewing beer: “Maybe this is the perfect burner for those looking for an extra burner around the house for every day use,” he writes, “but don’t buy this product if you are a home brewer with a glass flat top stove looking for an alternative way to boil up your wert.”


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