My grandparents in Toronto eat little, but still desire baking or broiling. Is it normal, and would they be wasting money and electricity and the environment, to use just one oven rack when oven racks still have space?

  • Does this answer your question? Utilizing both oven racks when baking – Johanna May 30 at 7:21
  • @Johanna No. That question assumes using both racks. I'm asking about using just 1 rack here. – NNOX Apps May 30 at 19:58
  • Are you ultimately just asking how much energy it takes to heat an oven, and to hold it at temperature, so you can evaluate for yourself how much energy you're okay using to cook? If so, I'd suggest editing to ask that directly. If not, I'm not entirely sure this is answerable - what constitutes a waste? Is it wasteful to cook a dish that involves some separate sauteeing rather than just throwing everything in one pot? Is it wasteful to cook rather than eating raw food? – Cascabel May 30 at 20:23
  • Hi, I'm afraid I don't see any interpretation of this question which we can answer. It is obvious that, when you bake two things at once, you use up less energy per gram of prepared food than if you only bake one thing. It feels to me that you also know that. What is left seems that you are asking us to pass a moral judgement on your grandparents' behavior, and to declare their chosen use of electricity to be "a waste" - and luckily, our site doesn't allow this type of question. A second, nicer interpretation would be that you are asking whether this uses up more electricity than something... – rumtscho May 30 at 20:32
  • ... else - but you are not suggesting what this "else" would be, especially since there is no obvious solution that would produce the same results with less electricity. As cascabel said, if you wanted to know something different than these interpretations, please edit the text to make it clear what is your exact question. Also, I have no idea why you put pictures, but they were making your question worse by taking up lots of space without adding any information - I don't think anybody in this community needs to be shown a picture of what an oven with one item in it looks like. – rumtscho May 30 at 20:38

At any time of year when heating the home is desirable, the waste heat isn't really wasted. In Toronto that will be quite a lot of the year.

Most of the energy used in baking is in getting the oven hot in the first place, so sequential baking is almost as good as simultaneous baking. Modern ovens hold their heat quite well so even baking again a couple of hours later is better than the next day.

Of course cooking extra food isn't going to reduce waste, but cooking future meals - things that can be eaten cold, or easily reheated in a microwave - will use less overall. I make individual pasta bakes in dishes that will go in the oven, freezer and microwave, for example. I also try to plan on baking bread in the afternoon when I'll be cooking something else in the oven for dinner, but that plan normally seems to fail.

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