What's a warming drawer???
Some of the new ovens come with something called a warming drawer. What is it and what it is used for?
Is it just a built-in toaster oven, meant to be an oven that uses less energy? (That would be nice to not have a toaster oven on the counter.) Or do you keep food warm in it when the regular oven is full, sort of like the little shelf on my BBQ grill?
What is the difference between a warming drawer and an oven turned down low? I mean besides the size?
It can't possibly be permissible to put food from the fridge into a warming drawer on Shabbat, can it?
Anyone own one?
The hottest temperature of the warming drawer is probably the equivalent of 180 or so - I use the warming drawer to keep dinner warm at night, sometimes as a defroster - it takes longer than a microwave, but it doesn't cook the food. The best use of the warming drawer is when the food is already hot and you're using it to keep food warm - it keeps my dinners warm without drying them out or overcooking them. My LOR doesn't allow me to put things in on Shabbat, but I am allowed to take things out on Shabbat - I put steaming hot potato kugel in before shabbat, take it out for shabbat lunch, and it's perfectly browned, moist, and really really good.
re: SoCal Mother
Your oven turns on and off to maintain the temperature. If you open the oven door to put something in or take it out, the thermostat will kick on to make up for the heat loss.
Warming drawers are not typically thermostatically controlled. They are either on or off. Thus there are differeing rabbinic opinions on their use.
My mother had warming drawers (Thermador restaurant quality) as far back as the early 1960s. My father was often late coming home to supper and she didn't want his supper cold. This was before microwaves were common.
I have two warming drawers built in in my dining room buffet also the commercial variety. We use one to hold food or keep rolls/challah warm. The other is used to warm plates for serving. Neither would reach a temperature to cook food, but they don't dry food out either. I do not uise them overnight for Shabbos Lunch, as I question food safety for 16 hours at such a low temperature.