Warming Drawer – Why have one and Where to put it

I recently saw pictures of a high end kitchen, where the warming drawer was located in the island as far from the cooktop and oven as possible.  In my opinion, this was a total waste of money and probably will never get used except as storage (and they probably paid a designer to do this!).  In many people’s minds, including those who own one, this is probably the one appliance they could do without.  That said, let’s look at when a warming drawer would be useful.

Warming drawers can be useful if you have family members who are unexpectedly late for meals, or who get temporarily called away.  Certain foods that are cooked in small batches and cool off quickly, such as pancakes, waffles, tacos, fried foods, or crepes can easily be kept warm.  If you entertain, game day pizzas and hot snack foods for parties are kept warm throughout the evening.  If you prepare multicourse meals, it will keep things warm till that course is served.   Holiday events with a large assortment of foods, and different completion times, allows things that are done early to be kept warm until everything can be served (i.e. – crescent rolls, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and soup in the serving bowls).  Desserts such as pie or apple crisp can be nicely warmed up (or kept warm) as you’re eating the meal, and crackers and cereal that have gone soggy, can be crisped up.  If you bake bread, you can use the drawer for raising dough.  Some people even use the drawer for storing bread, since the drawer seals better than a regular drawer to keep it fresher.  Some warming drawers such as the Kitchen Aid, can also be used as a slow cooker, but I haven’t heard of a lot of people using them instead of a crock pot.  During the winter months, warming drawers can also be used to warm up plates, especially if the plate storage is in a cabinet on an exterior wall (food doesn’t cool off as fast).  All the above are a nice luxury, and can be accomplished with low settings on the cooktop or in some ovens with a low heat setting (100 degrees), or even in some speed cook ovens (and microwaves) such as the Advantium with its keep warm setting. 

I have a warming drawer in our kitchen and it does get used.  I am a big fan of having things near the point of use.  The warming drawer in our kitchen is located to the right of the cooktop and just below the utensil drawer.  It is also across from where the plates are stored.  Since I have an Advantium in the bake center, I can use the Advantium keep warm mode as a warming drawer if I need something near the ovens.  I didn’t place the warming drawer under the ovens, because it wouldn’t be near most of the food or plates that are going into it.  It is also not ergonomic, since we (or party guests) would be bending over to use it.  I also don’t believe that’s a safe location if there are little children present.  

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