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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Toaster Ovens

As a teacher, I love being asked to explain something. Shelley asked why I love toaster ovens. I will explain. Please feel free to tune out whenever you wish. That's what my students do!

Shelley mentioned a toaster oven as a substitute for a microwave. No. You need both. Microwaves are good for heating coffee, melting chocolate, and a few other things, but are not good for bread products.

A toaster oven is a toaster and an oven. So: you can toast bread in it, make bread with melted cheese on top, and, if you have an appropriately sized pan, bake in it. Some people put a whole chicken in. I haven't done that. But I do use it to make things like corn bread in a small pan. And it's great for baking potatoes. So much better than heating up your giant oven space to bake two potatoes!

I mentioned in my last post that toaster ovens are short-lived appliances at both the low and the high end. We alternate. We just replaced our Cuisinart with a cheapo Black and Decker.

We almost bought the higher end and better looking WaringPro.

Dillards advertised this at $49.99, a great price. We went in. They said, "We only had one. We'll call you Monday when we get more in." That was two weeks ago. So much for the ease and customer service of a department store.

The highest end toaster oven is by Breville.

This toaster oven was the subject of an ecstatic article by food writer Raymond Sokolov, where he detailed the unexpected joys of cooking without his big professional range, which failed right before Thanksgiving a few years ago.

Even if you're not in the market for a toaster oven, you should read this delightful piece.

I mentioned that we used our Amazon gift card for our little toaster oven. To tell you the truth, I don't think I would have spent so much on Sokolov's Breville, even if my gift card had been big enough.


Duchesse said...

Toaster ovens should come into their own as the boomers empty-nest (and energy costs continue to rise.) I know some retirees who do not use their conventional oven at all.

Abby said...

I loved using the toaster oven for the 6+ months I was living out of a hotel for work. It greatly increased my cooking options and now that I'm back in a full sized kitchen, it's moved on to my parents house. They are boomers in an empty-nest and use it in place of their oven too.

Shelley said...

Thank you, ma'am. I shall have a discussion with my other half about this. I'm thinking that having just bought a new oven I should at least do them the courtesy of being faithful for at least a little while. I'm waiting to see how our electric bill changes now that the stove top is electric, but we have a more efficient central heating boiler. So far the electric bill is very tolerable, but I'm loathe to give up counter space without being certain not to regret it. I think we may shop around and see what's on offer over here in the way of toaster ovens. I'm good at procrastinating that way!

Jane said...

I have always owned a toaster oven. We have a microwave but NOT a toaster. The toaster oven gets used everyday to make toast, toast bagels, melt cheese on toast, make garlic bread etc. I couldn't live without one!

Marcela said...

I don't have a microwave because studies link its use to cancer and other diseases...just a regular oven at home, and a stove, a toaster, and a kettle ;)

Suzy said...

I have a cuisinart toaster oven - it's not used daily but I use it in place of the regular oven every chance I get. I love doing oven 'fries' in mine as well as the occasional bagel. I'm planning on using it more this coming year since I'm cooking at home more and more now.

Mary said...

While I've never made an entire chicken I've often baked individual chicken breasts, fish filet, stuffed pepper, etc. I always found it a handy appliance and am feeling the lack of it in my current digs! Have fun with your new one!

Suzy said...

where do ya'll find dishes the right size for your ovens? mine will take up to 12 inches total so the 12 inch dishes are out because they're 12 inches plus handles.I did find a small casserole at walmart one day that doesnt' have handles and it fits pretty nicely but I'd like muffin tins, meatloaf pan, etc made for these ovens without paying specialty store prices.

kishan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse-I totally agree. The only thing is that they are dangerous appliances. I've heard some scary stories.

@Abby--Oh, I hope you get another toaster oven of your own soon! (Only if you want one, of course)

@Shelley--You could see if a friend would lend you one for a few days. We've done that for certain things--we lent a GPS system to a colleague for a week, for instance.

@Jane-My sentiments exactly.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Marcela--I get nervous around the microwave too. I TRY not to stand in front of it (????)

@Suzy-My cuisinart just died--sadly, because my new one is a bit too small.

@Mary-I like it, but I wish I'd gotten a bigger one. Oh well, it won't last too long.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Suzy--That is a problem! My old one could fit an 8 inch square bake pan and an oval casserole. This one is poorly designed and ALMOST fits the square pan. It does fit my loaf pan and I can make lasagne and casseroles in that. After this one dies in a few years, I'll get a bigger one.