Just what we needed dept: a $10,000 home pizza oven

pizza oven
© GE

There is a lot to love about GE's FirstBuild program, " an online and physical community dedicated to designing, engineering, building, and selling the next generation of major home appliances." It is full of labor and energy saving ideas, so I dove in to try and find out who came up with this energy, money and labor sucking idea: a ten thousand dollar home pizza oven. For that kind of dough, you need "worry not about delivery times from the local restaurant; the Monogram Pizza Oven can cook pizzas in just two minutes after a speedy 30 minute preheat."

It has 14 heating elements that, according to digital trends, can "blast to 800 degrees within a half hour of preheating, and 14 heating elements in the dome can rocket the top up to a blistering 1,200 degrees. Those conditions, it turns out, are exactly what you need to bake a perfect Neapolitan-style pizza … in two minutes flat."

oven in useCNET Video/Screen capture

GE evidently sent a team of engineers around to all the best pizzerias with a "digital pizza" loaded with sensors.

We’ve got sensors in it that allow us to measure three different forms of heat: conduction, convection and radiant,” explained GE product evangelist Taylor Dawson. “We can capture what it takes to make a really high-quality pizza, and replicate it in your oven.”

The oven needs to mainline 240 volts and I don't know how many amps, it's not listed in any of the websites, but it will be a lot. Interestingly, the oven doesn't need any ventilation; it circulates hot air back into your kitchen through a four inch vent, with a filter on it to remove burnt smells. An "air curtain" seals the front- there is no door on this sucker.

Of course, this raises so many TreeHugger questions. Can you cook a pizza in your kitchen without an exhaust on the oven, or even a door? Read my post on MNN on the stuff that goes into the air when you cook and you might think, like I do, that this is a bad idea. And no matter how well insulated this oven is, it is going to radiate heat into the kitchen. That means that in Las Vegas, where this oven is being displayed right now, that air is going to have to be cooled again.

Then there is the power used. In a commercial pizzeria, the oven cooks a lot of pizzas; this machine is pre-heating for half an hour to cook a pizza for two minutes. Let's assume all those elements are drawing like an electric stove, pulling 40 amps of power; that's 9.6 kilowatts, so in half an hour it is using 4.8 kWh of electricity to make a pizza. That has a carbon footprint in Las Vegas of about 10 pounds of CO2.

Oh and of course it has an app so that you can control it all from your phone. It's truly a wonder; Adam Clark Estes of Gizmodo wants one so bad.

This pizza oven is the America I was always promised, brimming with excess, feigned convenience, and limitless calories. It’s the white picket fence of my smartphone-toting existence, the Model T of my generation. It’s a pizza oven for the everyman, the unaffordable luxury we must all lust after. It’s old world flavor for our new world existence. This pizza oven is the reason credit cards were invented.

Or, you could just order 750 pizzas from your neighborhood pizzeria.

how pizza came to our town© how pizza came to our town

And really, there is a lot more to pizza than just the oven. Read the classic on the subject, the great children's book by the late Dayal Kaur Khalsa, How pizza came to our town, to get the real story.

Tags: Kitchens | Wretched Excess

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