Testing Vintage – 1970s Phillips Electric Fry Pan

Every decade has its ‘must have’ kitchen gadget (I’m looking at you air fryer!), and in the 70s, it was the electric fry pan. A dream kitchen appliance that could be (pause for dramatic effect …) used to cook an entire English breakfast in just one pan. The electric fry pan was hugely popular due to its convenience, ability to be easily moved around and the fact that it came in a range of models. On this episode of Testing Vintage, we will be testing out a 1970s Phillips Electric Fry Pan to see if it still holds up to today’s standards.

This electric fry pan came into my possession when I found it in a stash of things previously owned by my brother. I found it a curious appliance as I completely see the logic behind it but am not sure how it will perform so I knew I would have to test it. As far as I know, this fry pan does work but neither my brother nor myself have ever tried it. Before use, I gave the pan a very good clean several times and made sure to rinse off any residue and dry it well.

I can hear you asking, “but what are we cooking to test the frying pan?”! Well my friend, today, we are putting this fry pan to the ultimate test by making some dumplings for lunch. Why dumplings? Well, these particular dumplings are really yummy and they take a few steps to cook. The first is, lightly frying the dumplings in oil until that side is crispy, pour water into the pan and put a lid on to start steaming the dumplings, once steamed, take the lid off and fry the dumplings. As you can see, three separate cooking steps are all done in one pan which makes this a great food to test the electric fry pan in.

Plugging the pan in and turning it on was straightforward but after adding just a little bit of oil, the pan started to smoke quite a bit. It wasn’t smoking from the oil because I could smell it was something else. I did think it could be some leftover cleaning products but it was so thoroughly rinsed and wiped down that I doubt, instead it smelt like a burning metal smell. This is not a good sign. I decided to go on ahead and start adding my dumplings. Instead of doing my normal 8, I only added two because in case something went wrong, I wasn’t wasting food. Oh and yes I had a fire extinguisher right next to me.

Frying one side of the dumpling went fine but the dumplings did stick to the pan meaning it’s not nonstick. Once I added the water to the pan and covered the pan with its lid, I was able to note that the lid wasn’t well sealed as much of the steam could escape. Secondly, it started to drip which wasn’t helping me like this fry pan any more than I already did.

Once the dumplings were ready to fry off for the second time, I really noticed the smell of the burning pan was back. I still went ahead and finished off the cooking. The dumplings had stuck to the pan so some dough was left behind but once on a plate, it was time to taste test. This was my final straw, unfortunately. At first, my initial bite into the dumpling was fine but after a few seconds. in the mouth, the taste hit me. The dumplings had picked up a gross taste from the pan which tasted like metal and burning. After getting rid of the dumpling I was instantly hit with an odd numbing and tingling sensation that took over my whole mouth. No, this was not okay and I don’t want my mouth to feel both numb and tingly from vintage cookware.

I have no clue what went wrong with this pan and if there was perhaps a residue spilt on it years ago and it wasn’t removed or if something is just faulty. Unfortunately, this Testing Vintage episode ends in a fail. Both dumplings went in the bin and I made myself lunch in my normal frying pan. In saying this, with the pan working properly like intended, I think this would have been a great gadget to have. I can see the appeal of being able to have a pan like this and judging from other advertisements, some pas had multiple chambers so you could cook different things all t once (hence the breakfast references in many of the original ads). I’m not sure what to do with this pan now that it’s made my house smell gross and my mouth go numb and tingly but I think I will not be using this pan for the foreseeable future.


Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.


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