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When it comes to love and relationships, Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw has a lot of advice to give: but when it comes to #adulting, there are better role models out there.
Though notorious for having an apartment well beyond the means of the average writer, Carrie still didn’t have enough storage space for her fancy clothes, turning her oven into an extra bureau of sorts and scoffing at the idea that she might have a rolling pin at her disposal: “Are you kidding me, I use my oven as storage,” she once told Miranda.
Perhaps nobody shares in Carrie's plight better than Lori Cheek, NYC-based founder and CEO of the dating app Cheekd. When her friends gave her a four-burner George Foreman grill for her birthday, Cheek wondered how to store the appliance in her 250-square-foot West Village apartment.
“Inspired by Ms. Bradshaw herself, I used my oven as storage for the grill,” she says. A few months later when she decided to bake her mother’s brownie recipe, Cheek turned the oven to 375 degrees and stepped away.
“I smelled something awful. I remembered the oven, popped it open, and the rubber cord had melted onto the racks and was dripping onto the bottom of the oven. The plastic on the grill was melting, too. My apartment stunk like all sorts of melted rubber and plastic for weeks. I’ve never stored another thing in my oven since.”
I, too, use my oven for storage—though it’s home to oven-safe items, like sheet pans. Still, I couldn't help but wonder: is that any safer than storing clothes or a George Foreman grill?
Is it ever safe to store things in your oven?
“While it can be safe to store metal or oven-safe pans in the oven, it isn't safe to store any electronics or paper products in the oven,” says Sabrina Snyder, personal chef and author of the blog Dinner Then Dessert.
Even if you remember to take these items out of the oven before turning it on, the pilot light in the oven or the electric wiring of the oven can malfunction in a way that can create a dangerous situation, Snyder explains. Fire is an obvious danger, but the toxins released by melting plastic can also pose a health risk.
“Many food-safe plastics may not contain the toxins that are unsafe in the event of melting plastic in the oven, but the exterior of small electrics are generally not made with food safe plastic,” she explains.
But what about the drawer at the base of the oven? The short answer: It depends on the oven. "It can be a broiler drawer for some ovens, and for others, it's a warming drawer," chef Candace Kumai told TODAY Food. "For others, it may even be for storage. You should definitely [check] the [oven's] manual.”
If you’re considering storing anything in your oven, whether the main compartment or the drawer below, consider this the golden rule: If it cannot safely go into the oven, it should not be stored in the oven.