Pros:Makes great sandwiches, easy to clean, children love the sandwiches!
Cons:Uses a lot of electricty, you can burn your fingers if you are not careful
The Bottom Line: Makes a nice present for a college student!
When I was back in college, we used to hang out in the kitchen and eat grilled cheese sandwichs and "Oddles of Noodles" soup on cold winter days. It was filling and it sure did taste good! Then one day, I was visiting a buddy at college and he pulled out a sandwich making machine to make some grilled cheese sandwichs. I remember asking him: "What the heck is that?" He showed me how he made the sandwiches, and soon after a new appliance made its way onto my college kitchen's shelf.
Recommend this product?
That was years ago. Since then I am now married. My wife did not know about the sandwich maker, and when she took over the kitchen in our home, it made its way to the basement. If there is one lesson I learned about keeping happiness in the home - never argue with a cook about what goes in her kitchen! Soon after, the old sandwich maker was sold off in a garage sale and never mentioned again.
Now we have young children. Guess what? They love grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. My wife loves to cook and she can put together their lunches in no time at all.
But then one week I took off to watch the children since they had off for Christmas break. On the first day, for lunch all they wanted was grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Ugh! I began missing that sandwich machine! To boot, they were REALLY hungry (as my oldest daughter mentioned) and wanted lots of sandwiches.
That did it! Off to Walmart we all went. If I am going to make sandwiches, I am going to do it the right way. I found a whole stack of the Hamilton Beach Sandwich Makers stacked up on a shelf. There were other brands available too, but what I liked about the HB maker is it makes triangles, as I'll explain later.
The next day for lunch, the children wanted some more yummy grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. I opened the box, washed off the surfaces of the sandwich maker, and got the bread and cheese ready.
"What's that?" My oldest and very wise daughter asked. "A sandwich maker" I replied. "What does it do?" She asked. "It helps daddy make perfect sandwiches" I replied.
Using it is a cinch. First, you butter both the top and bottom plates of the sandwich maker. Then you butter the top and bottoms of two pieces of bread and place them buttered side down on the bottom plate of the sandwich maker. Then you put sliced cheese on top of that, followed by two slices of buttered bread on top of that, with the buttered side facing up. Next, lower the top plate down on top of the cheese sandwich and latch the sandwich maker shut. Turn the power on. An LED light will flash on and off while it is toasting. I do not know why it goes off, but while it is on it is toasting the sandwich. It usually takes about 3 minutes to make a nice toasted grill cheese sandwich.
When you open up the sandwich maker, you actually get 4 triangular shapped sandwiches. There are edges on the plates that sever the sandwiches into these shapes and seal them shut. The children were delighted! "Yummy!"
You can also make many other types of sandwiches with the machine using meats, poultry, cheeses, fruits, or whatever you want! Simply substitute the cheese for whatever you want to put in its place. I actually tried it with peanut butter and jeally and it was delicious!
The manual that comes with the machine says you can make pancakes and waffles with it too. I tried this one Saturday morning using pancake mix and it turned out to be one big mess. I must have done something wrong. The mix stuck to both sides of the plates and it made a big messs. I gave up after the first try.
However, back to sandwiches, this machine is unbeatable! The children love the sandwiches and often get creative about adding things they normally do not eat (like spinach and carrots and peas).
The machine is simple to use and clean up (normally). The plates have a non-stick coating on them, however, sometimes food does stick to it. Every now and then, a filling or cheese will ooze out of the sandwich and stick to the heated plates, sometimes burning or just making a mess. I use a plastic fork to clean out the crevices, and wipe off the surfaces with a wet soapy washcloth. The sandwich maker is not dishwasher safe, and should not be put under running water. Needless to say, do not wash the machine while the plates are hot to avoid getting burned.
The machine is lightweight and takes up very little room on our appliance shelf. It actually looks nice there. Oh! About my wife? She now loves it too! She actually switched to using it to make the childrens' lunches too, since they insist on it.
It does run on electricity and it uses a quite a bit at 760Watts. However, it makes two full sandwiches at a time in 3 minutes, so if you have everything ready to go, you can have lunch ready very quickly - probably just as fast as you would cooking over a stove.
I should also mention that you should probably not try to cook food on this sandwich maker (e.g., raw meat or chicken). It really is meant to warm up food in to a nice hot sandwich - that's all. Likewise, although I have not tried it, I would not suggest trying to bake raw dough on the sandwich maker either. Just use regular, sliced bread.
These sandwich makers are sold in many places, and they are very popular with college students and older children. I would not recommend allowing younger children to make sandwich by themselves, as the plates do get very hot and the children can get burned. I burned my fingers several times plucking out toasted sandwiches.
I would highly recommend the Hamilton Beach Sandwich Maker. It is well made and does a fine job. They are pretty cheap too...I only paid $15 for mine at Walmart. If you shop around I'm sure you can find some good deals on the web too. Thanks for reading my review and best wishes for a nice day!
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