At the local Mennonite grocery store here in quaint Newton, the kids and I shop for a variety of items they may happen to have in stock at any given time - they never know what they're going to carry. I like the inexpensive bagged spices, the kids enjoy discovering new breaded items; mushrooms, green beans, pickles, corn nuggets, okra and zucchini, as well as things like chicken fries, spring rolls and shrimp along with the obligatory chicken nuggets and french fries.
Of course to enjoy this stuff properly, it needs to be deep-fat fried. My own parents never fried anything more than chicken or eggplant one side at a time in a large pan, which is how I started doing it here at the house because that was all I was familiar with. But it was such a mess, and so difficult to regulate the heat on the stove top - sometimes not hot enough and the food would get soggy or too hot and it would burn - and oil was getting expensive going through so much.
I was surprised to discover friers so conservatively priced at the local Big Box; they were adjacent not inexpensive friers, however. Having about half an hour to kill waiting on my son's prescription to be filled, I tasked myself to determine what, if any differences there were between the prices, and which would be most advantageous were I to consider purchasing one. Thirty minutes later I walked out with a Presto Cool Daddy, and have been saving money ever since.
It breaks down like this: I fill the frier which regulates the temperature so its always optimal - the basket lowers into the hot oil AFTER the lid is closed (I love this feature - makes clean up a snap). When I'm done cooking and the apparatus has cooled, I strain the oil into the container for next use. The tub is a removable submersible single-piece with an enclosed heating element, making clean up simple and easy. The kids have mentioned numerous times how whatever we happen to be eating from it is the best they've ever had.
While most of this may be no-brainer stuff for you guys who grew up with it, it was all new to me. I try to limit what we've been calling "Fryday" to only a couple of times a months given the involvement and its inherent saturated fatness. But it simply amazes me how much money I've been saving by spending just a little :)