Cook up a little nostagia for the holidays
I’m a wee bit too young to be considered a “Boomer,” so I didn’t use a Toas-Tite growing up, but that hasn’t stopped me from becoming infatuated with this old-timey sandwich maker that has been brought back to life by a couple of graduates from Hershey High School in Arlington Heights.
Growing up in Mount Prospect, sisters Jan Feigenbaum and Sue Caldwell enjoyed warm gooey sealed-crust cheese sandwiches their mother made on the Toas-Tite maker. The cast-aluminum cooking gadget was popular from the mid-1940s to early 1950s and disappeared from the market in 1953.
After spotting an original Toas-Tite at a yard sale, Sue, who now lives in Hoffman Estates, and Jan, who lives in Long Island, New York, decided a new generation needed to experience original “hot pocket” sandwiches.
After trying one out myself, I can see why Bed, Bath & Beyond has these stocked for holiday gift giving. Toas-Tite costs $29.95 and appears to the Boomer generation and anyone who loves fun cooking gadgets.
The vintage-styled box and instructions include recipes for pies and savory snacks, but for my first sandwiches I went with old-school toasted cheese. Keep in mind that the Toas-Tite must be “seasoned” with cooking oil before its first use, and make sure to coat the inside with cooking spray (or better yet, spread butter over the bread) for easy release. Resist the temptation to let the filling ooze out the sides or you’ll have a gooey mess on your stove top. My second Toas-Tite session included heated breakfast sausages and cheese and I’m plotting grilled PB&Js (no peanut butter dripping out the sides) and chicken and cheese “quesadillas” for my next experiments.