Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Toaster oven redux


By David Gewirtz

Back in December, I wrote a somewhat brutal review about the GE Halogen toaster over. The thing burned me, and I was determined to burn it right back.

What's interesting about this isn't that I had a grudge against an oven. What's interesting is the strange fascination this article seems to have inspired in readers the world over. I've gotten an almost never-ending stream of letters about this review and this oven. Since nothing beats a warm toasty bagel for breakfast (except orange danish), I thought I'd share with you a representative sampling of the letters (two more showed up today).

Get a Krups

Richard Orban recommends a $200 Krups, to which my wife replied "No way am I paying $200 for a toaster oven". Anyway, here's what Richard had to say:

I loved your GE review. I laughed out loud in the middle of an impossible workload. That is so rare I had to thank-you.
I don't have this GE product, but every other GE appliance we have in the house is as bad as that toaster oven. For example, the GE dishwasher has chipped every piece of Corning ware we own. The Lady Kenmore never did that.
Anyway, I recommend the Krups.

As long as you don't mind getting burned...

Scott Taylor wanted me to know I don't really know how to use a toaster, but if you don't mind getting burned, it's a heck of a device:

I understand your disgust with the burning issue, but I have no problem with the other two. First, you do not have to press 32 buttons to get anything to work. If you hold the + or -- button, it will incrementally scroll for you in seconds. I have found a quick access function for anything I have done to date.
As far as crappy cooking, I normally use a regular stove, and microwave, and so far, I have had great success with the GE. I haven't done anything fancy yet, but it makes great toast in 2 pushed buttons in 5 minutes. It also cooks snack items much faster, and more thorough than a large stove, all with no pre-heating. Aside from the burning issue, I like the other features fine.

On pinions and needles

Rob Pinion likes halogen ovens:

I read your review of the GE Halogen oven. When I saw it the other day, I was very excited because I thought there was now a decent sized halogen toaster oven on the market at a great price. I've owned a Panasonic Flash eXpress for a few years now, and I think it's great, but it's so small. I just paid a guy about $40 to take it apart so he and I could clean it, and then put it back together. I haven't been able to find a new one on the Internet when I looked several times, and my former Mexican house man would burn tortillas in it regularly. I've never burned myself, though.
So the GE oven seemed like it would be a good replacement if my Panasonic ever went south. I love the fact that there's no pre-heating. I've cooked lots of biscuits in it (12 minutes) and never had a bad result. Too bad the GE gave you such bad results with the rolls you were making. The Panasonic sure uses lots fewer button clicks, and there is a timer "hold-down" feature. The digital controls aren't perfect, but they're pretty good, as its guess at how long a pizza should be cooked. It allows a temp setting also, with about 30 degrees between settings, close enough for most things. They recommend using the temperature that's lower than the one the product calls for.
It was supposed to be on shelves at Sears, but it never made it, and I ended up ordering one online for about $99. The last price I saw online was $129, but there was no product. It doesn't help search for one that Panasonic also makes "flashes" for cameras.

Just, exactly, how does one get a "Mexican house man"? As Will Ferrell once said, it "bottles" the mind.