My household goes through toasters the way Goldilocks went through bedroom furniture or Henry VIII went through wives. We’ve had toasters that are too big, too small, too fancy, too French, and almost, almost just right. (Some of what we’ve learned about toasters can be seen in our forthcoming book.)
— Ellen Lupton · 2008-11-08
Toasters are very, very good at making toast, but what I’ve always wanted is a toaster oven, so that I can heat up bread, pizza, and sorry little side dishes without firing up my massive gas range (which is big enough for Hansel, Gretel, and the witch). This fall, I finally ditched the toaster (I gave it to a grad student) and bought the toaster oven of my dreams.
What I got is not billed as a “toaster” at all. KitchenAid calls it, quite cleverly, a “countertop oven.” The thing has been styled to look like an actual range, with old-school black oven knobs and an over-sized door handle. Whereas most toaster ovens look like flimsy tin bread boxes, this one projects a sense of mass and presence, like it wants to grow up someday to be a real appliance rather than a transient gadget.
Does it work? Well, it doesn’t make toast quite as well as an ordinary toaster does. The oven takes about five minutes to heat up, and the center of the toasting area browns the bread faster than the edges. A tray of mac-and-cheese also browns unevenly. An ordinary toaster does one thing well: it makes toast. A toaster oven does many things, with less consistent results. But I’m happy. For now.