Help identify this mystery object!
June 4, 2008 8:55 AM   Subscribe

When my roommate moved out last week, she left some things behind for me and the new roommate. Among those things was an Object I found in one of the kitchen cupboards -- and when we found it, me, my new roommate, and his father studied it for a full three minutes, and we cannot figure out what this object actually is.

It looks like a casserole dish with some kind of electric workings that fit inside it. The dish is round, about 9 inches in diameter, and is a thick ceramic material. The dish is about 2 inches deep. An electric heating element fits inside, fairly snugly; it is easily removable, though, it just lifts in and out. There was a metal grill that rested on top.

I intially thought it was some sort of tabletop grill, but the grill was sitting directly on the heating element, so that wouldn't have worked that way. Then we thought maybe a tabletop wok set -- I did also later find a wok but it was a little too small.

Someone's suggested that maybe it was a grill after all and we're just missing the bit that would hold the grill suspended above the heat. But I can't see where such a piece would fit.

Does anyone have any idea what this object might be?
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
 
Can you post a photo of it?
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:05 AM on June 4, 2008


Sounds like a steamer of some sort- was there a top?
posted by self at 9:05 AM on June 4, 2008


Sounds like a chafing dish.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:06 AM on June 4, 2008


Maybe its an electric warmer, just folded up for storage? Can you put the heating element out on a surface, put the grill on the heating element, and the dish on top of the grill?
posted by suedehead at 9:06 AM on June 4, 2008


I'm thinking you're to fill the shallow pan with water, place the element inside of it, and whatever you want to steam on the rack. This makes little sense without a lid, though. Is there a lip for a lid to sit on?
posted by self at 9:06 AM on June 4, 2008


Sounds like something a friend of mine bought once. It was just like you described. It is a Grill, the heating element and the heat are supposed to be really close together, on ours there was a way of making it just "hang" there. the water stops grease from sticking to the bottom, and has a general cooling effect.
posted by munchbunch at 9:18 AM on June 4, 2008


Best answer: It's a grill. It sounds like you're missing two parts - the metal insert that holds the grill off the heating element and the pin that goes into the metal insert and holds the heating element off the bottom of the ceramic container.

I've used it for years and never put water in it.
posted by slmorri at 9:25 AM on June 4, 2008


Response by poster: Responses in order:

Can you post a photo of it?

Alas, not right now -- I can't find the USB cable connecting my digital camera to my laptop, dangit. (Soonest chance I'd get to get a new one from Radio Shack or the like would be this weekend...)

Sounds like a steamer of some sort- was there a top?

Nope.

Maybe its an electric warmer, just folded up for storage? Can you put the heating element out on a surface, put the grill on the heating element, and the dish on top of the grill?

I don't think so...it didn't look like the bottom of the heating element was all that stable. It also looked like it was just raw metal on the underside, so if it were sitting on a table it'd scorch the table. It was clearly meant to be inside the dish. It also doesn't look like it'd be strong enough to heat up ceramic that thick very easily.

I'm thinking you're to fill the shallow pan with water, place the element inside of it, and whatever you want to steam on the rack. This makes little sense without a lid, though. Is there a lip for a lid to sit on?

Unfortunately, the element fits so snugly that only a little bit of water would overflow and spill into the workings. There is somewhat of a lip, but I can't tell whether that was functional or just a design element.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 AM on June 4, 2008


Response by poster: It's a grill. It sounds like you're missing two parts - the metal insert that holds the grill off the heating element and the pin that goes into the metal insert and holds the heating element off the bottom of the ceramic container.

It does look SIMILAR to that...actually, it looks more like this thing, except not quite as deep. Also, the cord connecting to the element inside is not detachable, and the coil inside is shaped differently; in fact, it looks more like the bulb housing on an old bathroom lighting figure in my parents' house than it does anything else.

Upon Googling "crock grills," though, I'm finding that the particular design on the one I linked to there doesn't have many fans, so even if that's what it is I'm leaning towards my original plan of "if I don't figure out what it is I'll chuck the electric part and use it as a casserole dish anyway".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on June 4, 2008


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