Back in September of last year, our toaster over gave up the ghost. As in, it started smoking in all the wrong places. Since we all know that smoking is a health hazard, we decided to replace it.
(We replaced it within the month; I'm just slow in getting around to writing about it. Granted, this post is somewhat ironic coming after the previous post on too much stuff, but it's hard to make a decent piece of toast by roasting bread like marshmallows over a glowing stove burner. At least we followed the one in, one out rule.)
After much deliberation, I chose the Cuisinart Custom Classic. It was $80 minus 20% at Bed Bath and Beyond. Of course all online reviews vary from "worst toaster I ever bought" to "best toaster I ever bought," but this one seemed to do reasonably well. I considered the convection combination, but I had space constraints -- this one is at the upper edge of what fits into the designated space.
Much to my surprise, I really like it. Here are some reasons:
- It hasn't actually burst into flames yet. I still have it on a switched outlet so I can turn off power when I feel insecure, especially on long trips, but I've mostly stopped doing that since it has behaved well for six months.
- It has a dial for setting toast darkness and a pushbutton start (albeit electronic, like most pushbuttons these days). I like this much better than the tick-tick-tick timer, and for the first time in years I can make toast without watching it like a hawk.
- The quality is a little better than that of the $25 toaster we bought five years ago. Not $75 worth better, but the best I could do for a reasonable price. The less expensive toaster ovens seemed really junky, as if they might be lucky to last five weeks, rather than five years. If this one gives us the same use/price ratio, it should last more than 12 years. Not that I'm counting on it.
- It has two elements on top and two on the bottom. Again, unlike our previous toaster, the cheaper ones had only one top and one bottom element.
- The crumb tray is easy to remove and clean.
- I haven't checked the accuracy of the temperature dial for baking, but it seems to work well.
- There's a "bagel" setting that toasts the top more than the bottom. I haven't actually used this yet, but I like the idea.
- As I said, the oven is bigger than our previous one, but the larger footprint is worth it because it really does hold four pieces of toast well. I think that whoever decides for advertising purposes how many slices a toaster oven can handle must use smaller bread than I do.
It's nice to make a purchase and still be satisfied with it half a year later. That's true of our refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine, too. (The last two years have been tough on the appliance budget.) I'll write about them in upcoming posts.