I'll just get this out of the way right now: from the first time I heard of the Misto to just about every time I use it now, I can't help but think of one part from Happy Gilmore. It's the part where Happy (Adam Sandler) is at the nursing home with his grandmother and there's this lady who says, "Mista! Mista! Get this offa me!" Yeah, just about every time I get my Misto out of the pantry, I think, in that lady's voice, "Misto! Misto!" My husband does the same thing, too.
Now that I've got that out of the way, let me tell you about my latest frugal find, the Misto.
I first heard about the Misto from Betsy at Eco-Novice -- she mentioned it in a comment on one of my posts and I was intrigued. The Misto is basically a replacement for those aerosol cans of cooking spray. You simply fill the Misto halfway with any kind of vegetable oil, pump the lid a few times, and the oil sprays out in a fine mist.
The Misto costs around $10. Even if that seems like a lot for a sprayer, buying cooking spray in an aerosol can is much more expensive. In fact, you might even say canned cooking spray is a rip-off. Let me explain with a little bit of math. (Those who know me may have just gasped at the idea of me doing math. Don't worry -- it wasn't too complicated.)
The cheapest I've been able to find cooking spray is at Walmart -- you can get a can of the store brand for around $2. Buy the name-brand stuff and your price goes up. For the $2 can, you're getting about about 185 grams of oil. I figured this by checking the nutrition label's serving size. A serving size (according to the label) is .25 grams. I multiplied that number by 741 (the amount of servings in a can). Once that number was calculated, I found a conversion table to help figure out how many grams are in a cup. Turns out, the conversion varies from food to food. For oil, there are 224 grams in a cup. (I checked another label for a name brand can of cooking spray and there's less in it -- around 158 grams). So, really there's less than a cup of spray in your typical can of cooking spray.
Take it a step further: that's not all oil in the cooking spray. While they all contain some kind of oil (canola, soybean, olive, etc.), you will also find a bunch of other ingredients in a can of cooking spray. Some of these extra ingredients include things like grain alcohol (added for clarity), soy lecithin (an emulsifier), dimethyl silicone (for anti-foaming), dimethylpolysiloxane (another anti-foaming agent), natural and artificial flavor, and propellant. I'm not necessarily saying that these are all bad (though, what is 'propellant' anyway?), but it is a bunch of extra stuff.
With the Misto, you can use the oil you already have on hand, which is a much more economical choice. You can get a 48 oz. bottle of canola oil for $3-5. Considering you get less than 8 oz. (a cup) of oil (plus all that other stuff) in a single can of aerosol spray for almost (if not the) same price, using the Misto is definitely more frugal.
I also like the Misto because I can use whatever oil I want -- I usually have extra virgin olive oil or canola oil in mine. I've been using the Misto for almost six months with little problem (there are some complaints if you read the reviews on Amazon, but I haven't experienced any trouble). I'm not going to tell you it works just as well as an aerosol cooking spray -- I have experienced some minor problems with sticking while baking. That said, the problems haven't made me want to go back to the aerosol spray. The Misto works well for me. Plus, I giggle a little when I use it. "Misto! Misto! Spray my pan!" Yes, I'm easily entertained.