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The Baconer | Rediscovering a Retro Bacon Cooker

The Baconer | Rediscovering a Retro Bacon Cooker
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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 man-icures. He has many interests, but they don’t translate into gift ideas, so after 14 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 has 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! A device made by Westinghouse in the 1970s that looked like a toaster and made bacon. 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.

 

Photo/Art by Amy Traverso

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 have any favorite retro appliances in your closets?

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Amy Traverso

Author:

Amy Traverso

Biography:

Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !
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13 Responses to The Baconer | Rediscovering a Retro Bacon Cooker

  1. Aimee October 5, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    LOVE this post, Amy! What a great story and such a thoughtful gift! He must have been blown away when he opened it — and I am relieved to see it still delivers. Thank goodness for the internet!

  2. Maria October 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    This IS a great story! I love how you paid close attention to detail to get the perfect gift for your husband! How cool! I don’t really have any retro appliances that I remember….sorry :) Just wanted to say great story!

  3. Amy Traverso October 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Thanks, Aimee and Maria. Being married to him has seriously upped my gift-giving game. Good thing he’s so worth it :)

  4. Esther Leonard October 16, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    My toaster may not be exactly retro, but I received it as a wedding gift in 1960. The cord on it is the old style cloth-covered type. It doesn’t work quite as well as it did all those years ago, but I still use it frequently. I was telling a friend about it one day and he had to see it to believe it – it’s 15 to 20 years older than he is!

    Until a year or so ago I was still using my gas dryer that I bought in 1968. The pilot light went out and I had to call the repairman because I couldn’t get it relit. The young man who showed up tried to tell me that gas dryers don’t have pilot lights. Well, the new ones don’t, but mine did. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be fixed and I had to buy a new dryer.

  5. Kris October 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    We HAD a baconer! – yes, in the early ’70s. It turned out to be a pain in the neck to clean, so it did not last long in our household.

  6. Dennis Gregory February 12, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    How much for Bacon Cooker?

    • sheila boner June 21, 2014 at 12:20 am #

      I have one and love it im looking for another one

  7. Dennis Gregory February 12, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    I would like to purchase a Baconer. How Much….

  8. olchicago September 27, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    I had one of these, bought one after the first commercial I saw, Sears had them so one came home with me the following evening.

    I was really excited, I let the dogs out and had that sucker unpacked and washed in a flash after a quick scan of the directions it was loaded & cookin’ away, the first batch was Incredible lightly browned, crisp yet still tender and nearly all the fat was completely rendered, barely required paper towel blotting.

    I got to enjoy this marvelous contraption almost 9 years, then my brain dead former spouse set my house afire, there was just no saving it…believe me I tried. still brings a sniffle to me “Paradise Lost”

    Westinghouse made this such a short time, a shame, it could really prepare bacon extracting nearly all the fat..about as healthy as you could make bacon I’m just surprised that no one acquired the rights to the “Baconeer”.
    With today’s attitude toward acceptance and popularity of bacon and the viscous flex of import manufacturing might I really think somebody could cleanup in the marketplace and make myriad consumers happy.

  9. 70's geek May 10, 2014 at 5:59 am #

    I remember this from childhood mother had exact model it was that classic 1970′s Avocado green. OMG the colored appliances then like tupperware colors then green, orange, yellow, almond and brown.

    Tried the new fangled bacon cookers nothing compared to the quality perfect cooked bacon…Don’t get me started on the toasters too so much better – never burned true settings, never stuck nor ejected toast onto the floor those classic colors.

    And the option bathrooms blue, pink green yellow I laugh remembering those colored tubs, tiles and toilets that era. Thanks closest option wishing for a time machine enjoy childhood again… made me miss my old metal easybake oven ran on a light bulb remembered help mom she made dad’s breakfast & lunch I made his desert in the old black tin lunch box for work when dad was alive haven’t touched bacon since not the same without dad. Thanks again wonderful memories.

  10. Gary June 5, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    I Would Like To Purchase One.

  11. Diane Saunders June 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Google search, we had one when I was growing up. This is crazy, I was looking for one on line and came across your site. These cookers worked like a charm, I’m still looking for one so if anyone is selling one please let me know.IfI a company was smart, they would bring them back.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dad’s Bacon - January 12, 2013

    [...] The bacon cooking appliance reminded me of the model “T” hood in the way it opened.  What Dad did was open the doors, lay the bacon strips over the heater plate, then close the lid.  Next thing you knew, the bacon was done, and perfect.  The way the “Baconer” was made let the bacon grease drip down to a removable tray, which you simply opened like a drawer and discard the grease.  Here are some pictures of the “Baconer”.  I did not take these pictures, but I  found these pictures on the web at the site listed below, and give them the credit for them. credit for the pictures goes to this blog: http://wp.yankeemagazine.com/new-england-food-cooking/2012/10/04/the-baconer/ [...]

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