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Old 03-01-2012, 05:46 PM   #1
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Return of the Toas-Tite (pressed sandwich griller)

Quote:
The Return of the Toas-Tite
By Florence Fabricant
NY Times, February 14, 2012

Before we knew about panini machines, there was the Toas-Tite. This throwback is an efficient device for making pressed grilled sandwiches that some people may remember from decades ago, just as Janice Feigenbaum and her sister, Susan Caldwell, do. They grew up in the Chicago area eating sandwiches made with the gadget, whose brief life ran from 1945 to 1953. Recently, they learned that the company had gone out of business and that the patent had expired, but after buying a Toas-Tite on eBay, they “reverse engineered” it to figure out how to make it again. They now have the contraption made in China, and have trademarked it and reproduced the original packaging...



full article
I was just thinking of this gadget today while reading another DC gadget topic. I have one that is surely over 50 years old because my mom used to make these pressed grilled sandwiches for my sister and I when we were kids.

If I recall correctly you lightly butter two pieces of bread then lay them buttered side down one on each half of this clam shell like device, and then you put in whatever kind of filling you like, savory, fruit, etc. You close the device and lock the handle, trim off excess crust, then cook it on your stove. After cooking you dump the finished sandwich in a plate, let it cool a bit, then cut it in half for presentation.

One of my favorite fillings was fresh strawberries with sugar! I also recall melted cheese sandwiches made this way.

Does anybody else remember the Toas-Tite, or even better do you have one? Do you have any Toas-Tite favorite recipes?

And if you don't have one maybe you might like to get one. I don't know if the re-engineered ones are available yet but as the article suggests you can find 'em on eBay. A quick look leads me to believe you might be able to get one there for about $25-$30.





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Old 03-01-2012, 06:47 PM   #2
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We used to use these for camping and back yard campfires. We lived in the country so we built lots of fires as kids ( I mean we had more weinie roasts than my dad could fathomly stomach). I think we only ever made grilled cheese and apple pies ( canned filling). I suppose that's why they are also called pie irons.

Cut to today-- I have a double chamber electric one by Salton getting dusty in the Cabinet Of Unused Gadgets. I think I inherited it as part of my acquisitions in the Great Divorce. I think the DxW first tried to pawn it off to Jr to use in his dorm in college. It looks un-used. Smart guy he was. I only remember if you didn't sizzle your tongue on the molten cheese, you used the garden hose with the nozzle on full blast to extinguish your burning esophagus when eating your dessert pie.

But danged if they don't look enticing for a treat. I wonder if my Salton could be used like the Breville Pie Maker in another thread. But Danged, I've got the garden hose put away and the outside water faucets turned off for the winter.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:58 PM   #3
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I remember seeing these type contraptions all over Central and South America, all used for street food and tortas. I would love to get one to futz around with, I mean, a toasty, crusty, hot, melty sammich? how could that ever be bad?

These use to be the jam when I was in my late teens too, we made some pretty tasty treats after many a long night of shenanigans.

Crap, now I want a hot messy melty sammich!
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
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I remember seeing these type contraptions all over Central and South America, all used for street food and tortas. I would love to get one to futz around with, I mean, a toasty, crusty, hot, melty sammich? how could that ever be bad?

These use to be the jam when I was in my late teens too, we made some pretty tasty treats after many a long night of shenanigans.

Crap, now I want a hot messy melty sammich!
Cathy Whatzhername still sells them on late night TV.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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Cathy Whatzhername still sells them on late night TV.

I avoid infomercials like the plague:(

I can see these being a college kid "got to have", just like the sandwich press/griddle machine thingys.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:12 PM   #6
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I avoid infomercials like the plague:(

I can see these being a college kid "got to have", just like the sandwich press/griddle machine thingys.
I am with you. I can't stand the sound of her voice. Fingernails on blackboard.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I am with you. I can't stand the sound of her voice. Fingernails on blackboard.

lol, I don't even know who she is, I just avoid those infomercials all together. There are a few times, where I will pass out, wake up at like 2:30AM to some random jackass YELLING at the top of his lungs about some crap, and I don't care what product he is pushing, that tv personality just turns me off, and away. Makes me crazy.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:32 PM   #8
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An important distinction between the Toas-Tite and the other products such as the Salton or the Cuisinart is that the Toas-Tite is cookware while the latter are appliances. The Toas-Tite was invented in the '40s and it was limited by--or did it transcend?--the technology of the day. In the '50s there weren't a lot of convenience foods. Dad worked and mom stayed at home cooking. The Toas-Tite was a marvelous invention where mom could turn out an interesting--and practically unlimited--variety of quick meals with very little effort. All you needed was two pieces of bread, some butter, and something to put inside.

I found this interesting blog post:

Quote:
MJ's Kitchen (blog)
June 17, 2011



So who remembers the Toas-Tite sandwich? Who among you grew up eating these little jewels? I did and I still love them. They are so much fun to eat and just as much fun to “assemble” and cook. You can put anything you want in them – which is something my family did quite well. Here are just a few of the concoctions that we created:

Bologna and cheese, salami and cheese, just cheese
Spam and pickles (I liked using sweet pickles)
Scrambled eggs and lots of butter, salt and pepper
Cinnamon, butter and sugar (my all time favorite)
Apple pie – apples, cinnamon, butter, sugar and cheese (another of my favorites)
Any leftovers we could find in the fridge – this is where we were the most creative


My oldest sister loved leftover pot roast, mustard, tomato, cheese, onions and lots of black pepper. Then there was the leftover meatloaf – my brother’s favorite and his favorite way to eat Mother’s meatloaf. My mother loved a cow’s tongue sandwich – her most favorite sandwich no matter which way you fixed it. And then of course – the leftover Thanksgiving sandwich: turkey, cranberry sauce, and dressing...

read more
MJ got it exactly right. You could put anything inside a Toas-Tite sandwich! That Thanksgiving turkey leftovers Toas-Tite (discussed in the full blog post) sounds like a real winner to me!

Another nice thing, recalling English tea sandwiches with their trimmed crusts, the Toas-Tite did away with the bread crust, substituting a small rim of its own which could be eaten or discarded.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:37 PM   #9
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I am thinking like, actually battering up the bread(kind of a la french Toast Style), some smoked ham, some gruyere, and even cracking an egg in there, figuring by the time it was done, there would be a yolk set to medium or so. . . would be something fun to experiment around with, maybe even turn into a signature thing for a gimmicky brunch item.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT View Post
I am thinking like, actually battering up the bread(kind of a la french Toast Style), some smoked ham, some gruyere, and even cracking an egg in there, figuring by the time it was done, there would be a yolk set to medium or so. . . would be something fun to experiment around with, maybe even turn into a signature thing for a gimmicky brunch item.
On your Toas-Tite? Man I'm so totally signed up for that! It sounds like a fantastic idea! You would of course need to grease your Toas-Tite to get the sandwich to release.

From my recollections the biggest problems with Toas-Tites is that they were very hot just off the stove, easily hot enough to burn your mouth if you didn't let them cool. I'm sure any egg in your mixture would set up fine.

I'm so bummed out that my Toas-Tite is in my storage unit and I won't be able to fiddle with it until after I've found my next house and closed escrow.

I hope other members will post some Toas-Tite recipes or pictures, or of course any interesting Toas-Tite articles.
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