Lets take an informal poll. Do you leave the house with the I've on? For example, roasting a large turkey.
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I mean OVEN.
I have a couple times. Only at a low temperature, or if I'm going across the street for 5 minutes, and it's something that has a low chance of burning, i.e., a lasagne that I put in from frozen that will take forever to bake. I wouldn't risk it otherwise.
Chops is a trusted home cook.
My husband will NOT let me do it. Fear of fire...
I do it a lot. Typically when I'm braising something at a low tempurature (about 200-250 F). As mentioned above, only when I'm running a quick errand though. I've never left with the oven on for more than 30 minutes or so.
That being said, I also spend hours outside doing yard work while the oven is blasting away. I guess that's pretty much the same thing since if a fire DID flare up, I wouldn't know until it was too late anyway.
Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.
If I am cooking something at a low temperature for six or so hours, sure, I will leave the house. I make tagines frequently in the winter and unless I cook the dish overnight, it is hard not to leave while the dish is cooking.
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
I'm with most everyone. If it's cooking a long time at a low temperature and doesn't need much babysitting I'll leave for short periods of time (less than an hour, and really probably more like 30 to 40 minutes). Unless there's an electrical short, I don't see how it's much of a fire hazard.
I will leave my oven on and leave when I'm running the cleaning cycle. Not when there's food in it.
Sam is a trusted home cook.
Oh no, that's the worst time to leave. If your oven has oil spatters, grease or any that deserves a self clean cycle...you'll sometimes see flames inside the oven. if it some crusty build up; That usually go out pretty quickly tho, but still actual flames. A gasket crack in the door would give those flames a chance to thrive with oxygen. Maybe after the after the initial 3 hours for self hours when it's cool...There's a reason the door 'locks up' with that cycle--to keep the oxygen out...superheated grease.. add O2..Big flame bomb.
I do it all the time. Even with a pre-set that allows me to put everything in the oven ahead of time, and then the oven temp comes on at a set time, and the item is perfectly done when I return home. Have gone away for hours and done this. Have cooked a low heat/slow pot roast while wandering off to the ski slopes for a few hours this way, although I wouldn't typically do a meat that had to wait for heat. Don't believe I've done a turkey this way, but wouldn't be phased by it -- nor one of those frozen large lasagnes that can take almost two hours to cook. Maybe I live dangerously, but really -- when was the last time your oven caught fire???
Another, similar, favorite: put frozen croissants in oven before going to bed. Have oven set to turn on at 350 half an hour before planning to rise. Voila! Hot croissants perfectly risen overnight in the oven, then cooked and hot when I get up -- just add coffee (Trader Joe's has an assortment of frozen croissants that work beautifully this way. Have done the same thing with frozen loaves of Rhodes bread dough). I now have many of my friends doing this overnight rise/preset cook for special occasions. It really is wonderful.
Between you and Pegeen, I think you pretty much said it all. Ovens are (often) designed for the purpose. That said, my oven recently did catch fire. The heating element gave out after 40+ years, creating an electrical arc between the two broken pieces. Anyone who has seen electrical welding taking place knows how spectacular that kind of light can be -- lit up the whole kitchen like a scene from a science fiction movie. No damage to house or dinner though.
Oh, and I'm with you regarding TJ's croissants.
Pegeen is a trusted home cook.
Maybe an insurance adjuster could weigh in. :-) This sounds old-fashioned but my father wouldn't let my mother do it on the theory that if there was an electrical short and a nuclear meltdown in the oven, we would have less leverage in an insurance claim. And we would all yell back at him, "and if we were home when it happened? That would make it less our fault?" Much yelling all around. But it does make me wonder what ins co's say about crock pots, or leaving dishwasher or dryer running when no one's home, etc.
QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.
I do it only on low temperatures, and for short trips out, and even then I am not comfortable.