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Big flavor from a small oven

Aroma's countertop convection oven can compete with a full-size appliance.

When I was 19, I lived on a kibbutz in Israel, which meant that my living space was about the size of my current minivan. Back then, one of the kibbutz members let me use an ancient oversize toaster oven, and I cooked everything in it. It took up all of my available counter space, and because it had one setting--burn--everything I ate tasted like slightly burnt toast.

If only someone had told me about the Aroma AeroMatic convection oven back then.

Cook up a complete dinner in a countertop convection oven. Aroma Housewares

This machine--about the size of a large crockpot---lets you broil, bake, fry, roast, boil, and grill right on your countertop. The tempered glass cooking bowl won't absorb food odors, and it detaches for easy cleaning.

Place a whole chicken on the low cooking rack and let the fat and grease drip away from the food while it cooks. In about ninety minutes, you'll have a rotisserie-style chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat. Steam vegetables in the included basket, or put your meat on a high rack and your vegetables on a lower one if you want to use the drippings.

The oven cooks your food evenly without drying it out. And it promotes low-fat cooking by letting oils drip away from the food, rather than letting meats sit in pools of their own fat while they cook. It also uses about 80 percent less energy than a standard oven, which is no surprise given its size.

This oven is a no-brainer addition to a small or makeshift kitchen, but it can also hold its own in a full-size kitchen. The Aeromatic retails for $80 to $90.