The Ronco Food Dehydrator introduced Gizmodo’s Brent Rose to the joys of gadgetry back in the day, and he decided to pay it forward by reintroducing the appliance to readers.
A Saturday Night Live addiction initially brought the dehydrator to the attention of then 11-year-old Rose, since staying up late meant seeing all sorts of infomercials for crazy products. While he had dallied with other electronics like the original Nintendo, he recognized that “those were toys, this was a tool.” In other words, “a real gadget.” And so, he would save assiduously for the $60 Food Dehydrator.
The effort proved worthwhile as he embarked on a 22-year relationship with the trusty gadget, making all types of jerky and dried fruit. The technology is as straightforward as the design. Essentially, there are “five plastic trays with a lid” and “at the bottom, there’s a coil that heats up.” From there, it just takes the plug to power it on and off. In Rose’s mind, it’s perfect for anyone who “still value[s] function over aesthetics.”
The dehydrator has become one of those kitchen gadgets that “reminds [him] of [his] past, of [my] family, and of all the jerky along the way.”