Do you remember The Baconer?
This story starts with a man who is notoriously difficult to shop for. My husband. His material wants are few, he doesn’t collect cars or memorabilia, and he’s not interested in massages or manicures. He has many interests, but they don’t translate into gift ideas, so after nearly 20 years together, I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel.
A few weeks ago, at a wedding brunch in Rhode Island, he had a bite of the excellent bacon and reminisced once more about a bacon cooking appliance that his grandmother had back in the 1970s. “It was like a toaster for bacon,” he marveled. It sat on the kitchen counter, he said, and it made perfectly crisp, rendered bacon every time.
This wasn’t the first time he had mentioned this bacon cooker. Both he and his sister had rhapsodized on multiple occasions. And then it occurred to me: With our wedding anniversary coming up, this could very well be the perfect gift.
But first, I had to find out what it was. A quick search on Google and Ebay turned up microwave bacon cookers and broiling trays, but no appliances. In desperation, I typed in “toaster for bacon,” and stumbled across a motorcycle collector’s forum and a name: The Baconer. That was it! An electric bacon cooker made by Westinghouse in the 1970s that looked like a toaster. Ebay had one, mint condition, never used. I paid a ridiculous amount, but I was the sole bidder and soon it arrived.
Does this bring back any memories for you? I had a package of bacon at the ready when he opened it and we got cooking.
The metal panels on the outside fold down to reveal a Teflon cooking surface in the middle. You drape the bacon over the top.
Turn the dial on the side to “More Crisp,” and you’re off.
Soon, the bacon begins to steam and give off the most incredible smell. I’m no real estate agent, but if you have your house on the market and it’s not selling, try using The Baconer during your next open house. (Note, the metal “doors” stay closed during cooking. I opened one to show you the inside).
A few minutes more, and there it is: Perfect bacon. The Baconer works — my husband was right. We won’t use it often. But we’ll use it. And we’ll always have a story to tell.
So tell me, Yankee readers, do you remember The Baconer? And do you have any favorite retro kitchen appliances? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated.