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The fourth kind of heat

LG's SolarCUBE combines four heat sources to speed cooking times and create delectable dishes.

It's just not fair. All the really cool appliances seem to be in Europe--like LG's SolarCUBE, a sophisticated oven with microwave and grill functions that comes as a free-standing oven but can be transformed into a built-in appliance.

Because nothing is "just a microwave" these days. LG

The whole thing sounds like something from a futuristic superhero world. The SolarCUBE's "light-speed cooking technology" lets you make dinner up to four times faster than in a conventional oven, and it eliminates the need for preheating. So what exactly is the cooking technology here? The SolarCUBE uses a combination of four heat sources--grill, microwave, electricity, and a halogen lamp--to whip up dishes with crispy outsides and succulent taste and texture inside. (Fans of NBC's 30 Rock might already be familiar with this idea: when Tracy Morgan enters in the pilot episode and screams, "I'm the third heat!" he is directly referring to this oven technology. But, the SolarCUBE takes it a step further, adding a fourth heat. What will Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin have to say, we wonder?)

The three-level rack offers the space and placement flexibility of a traditional oven, and the coated Easy-Clean walls make clean up, well, easy. And speaking of easy, forget about wondering how long to bake those potatoes and what temperature you should use. Just select from the oven's built-in programs for many foods and take the guesswork out of the kitchen.

LG says that the SolarCUBE can replace several kitchen appliances--oven, microwave, and grill -- thus saving valuable kitchen space. And it looks good, too--the oven's sleek controls are as attractive as they are functional. No word on when--or if--the SolarCUBE will be available stateside, but in the meantime it's a good choice for your weekend chalet in Europe. (The fictional GE characters on 30 Rock can breathe a sigh of relief...for now.)