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Growing up, when I saw my mother covering the dining table with newspaper, I knew something good and messy was coming. I knew that the next meal would be prepared on one of our reliable electrical appliances: the electric hot pot or – my favorite – the electric grill.
While the hot pot was primarily used for soup-based dishes like shabu shabu or sukiyaki, the frying pan dealt with everything from galbi and bulgogi to fried spicy dakgalbi, bokkeumbap to gyoza. The skillet was more promising for all of my favorite dishes. When my mother gave her to me as a young adult, I treated her like the family heirloom that she was.
The old Zojirushi electric frying pan served me well into adulthood. When I was in a confined space in my first studio apartment, this was a focal point for my gatherings. When I moved into my current apartment, I used an extension cord to bring the frying pan outside onto our balcony splinter. It restored the convivial atmosphere of a Korean grill restaurant (minus the scorching coals) and forced my guests to slide closer together to cook and eat.
While the skillet of my childhood was still going strong in its early teens and 2010s, I noticed small details that took it out of the A-Game. The dial used to regulate heat (which, by the way, only shows the temperature in Celsius) was no longer as accurate as it had been in the past, so even the lowest setting created more opportunities for hotspots. I also realized that washing the hob in its non-removable frame made washing it difficult in my small kitchen sink.
Unfortunately, good things have room for improvement too, and while my old baking sheet was still rocking after all these years, I decided to pull it back and treat myself to an upgrade. The newer Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle retains everything I loved about my retro grill (large hotplate, lid) with some obvious technological and material advances made over the past 30 years.
Instead of a round shape, the current model is elongated, which makes it more convenient to store. The non-stick cooking surface has a triple titanium and ceramic coating and a slightly raised diamond pattern that prevents food from sticking. The biggest advantage of the newer model for me is that it is much easier (and safer) to clean, as both the hob and body armor (the frame that the hob rests in) can be completely submerged in water. The temperature controller is still easy to use and now displays degrees in Fahrenheit. There is also a compatible one Takoyaki plate accessoriesI’m sure any fun at a dinner party would rise to 11.
Whether it’s yakisoba, okonomiyaki or weekend pancakes and bacon on the menu – this Zojirushi griddle makes everyday cooking a joyful affair – something we can all still use today.