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Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Buying the perfect toaster has been a mundane yet recurring theme of my adult life which often leads to toaster rage when I buy yet another useless toaster.
When we moved into our first house back in the early 80's we were given a hand me down toaster, we'd never been responsible for toaster purchasing so we didn't have a clue. I should have known that toaster would not be "the one" and, of course, it wasn't. Setting aside it's inadequate toasting abilities it was the wrong colour and had a seventies pattern on it - and you couldn't live with 70's style back in the 80's. It marked the beginning of my quest for the perfect toaster. I think it's a man thing, probably because it's connected with fire.
Some time later I married "the one" and in all the kerfuffle we ended up with a white Tefal thick and thin toaster, designed and produced in an era where form followed function without compromising quality just to get the price down. That was a good toaster which lasted for years until it went on the blink and I attempted a DIY repair which didn't go well and we were back in the market for another toaster. My checklist for a toaster is simple enough:
+ Able to cope with different shapes and sizes.
+ Easy removal of toasted goods without burning or electrocution.
+ Ability to toast evenly.
Ideally it shouldn't need a manual but we live in a world were we will get instructions and warnings in many languages including English and I will still end up shouting at my wife to stop her digging around in a toaster with a metal knife!
With hindsight I realise I should have put more effort into finding the perfect toaster earlier in my life. Unlike a new TV a toaster purchase wasn't something I had previously devoted in-depth research into and every toaster we've bought since (at least half a dozen) have been impulse purchases or special offers and they've all been fundamentally flawed.
I have learnt that toasters with thin heated wires weaved over an insulated backplate just don't work properly. Perhaps in a bygone era they did, but as the decades have rolled by the wires have been spaced further and further apart and the heating area has shrunk so now it's hard to find a toaster big enough to toast a standard supermarket size loaf of bread.
I'm not the only person who has noticed, this snippet from an Amazon toaster review struck a chord: "I got fed up with toasting bread to find that the top third was untoasted because the slots weren't deep or wide enough so I cut out a piece of card the size and shape of the normal bread I use and slotted it into all the toasters I looked at in the shops."
The old adage "you get what you pay for" doesn't hold true for toasters either, our last but one toaster cost £5 from Tesco - I only bought it to tide us over while looking for the perfect toaster and it worked fairly well and remains in service after handing it down to our son who still uses it in his student accommodation.
Which brings us to the Magimix Vision Toaster and I'm relieved to announce it's a near perfect toaster. Yes it's a french brand and yes it cost more than a booze cruise but it's worth every penny. Magimix have been producing the best kitchen food processors for decades and now they also make toasters. This Magimix toaster is:
+ Really cool to look at and really cool to touch
+ See-through, which makes perfect sense
+ Takes full size bread, rolls, bags, bagels etc.
+ Toasts evenly using 4 halogen heating elements
Even better, the pop up action travels high enough so it's easy to remove the contents without burning your fingers or having to delve into the toaster innards and not so vigourously that the toast ends up on the floor. It's a fine balance which most toasters fail.
It really shouldn't be rocket science to make a perfect toaster but kudos to Magimix for getting to grips with the problems and creating a clearly superior toaster with kitchen cred.
So far I haven't managed to burn anything. Being see-through is obviously the key and I've learnt the time between not brown enough, perfect toast and burnt all takes place in around 30 seconds so it's not surprising most toasters are useless and reinforces the rationale for a see-through toaster, one day all toasters will be see-through.
Because it's see-through there can only be one slot but it's long, wide and self-centring and copes well with pretty much everything I want to put in a toaster.
The Magimix Vision toaster is not cheap, I paid £160 at John Lewis online and it's available in brushed steel, with black, cream, red and possibly other end panel colours and comes with a 3 year guarantee. It's solidly built and easy to clean.
Next time you're in the market for a toaster or toaster rage gets the better of you the Magimix Vision Toaster has the CantBarsed seal of approval.
The only real alternative worth considering is a toaster fork, an open fire and lots of patience because nothing compares to bread cooked in the glow of an open fire. My kids didn't believe me until we tried it last bonfire night and now the quest for the perfect toaster has been passed onto the next generation - I'll settle for my Magimix Vision Toaster.