The librarians are freaking out about this
June 7, 2019 3:18 AM   Subscribe

Twitter thread: This is a work lunchtime game changer. The Mico is a toasted sandwich maker that you put in the microwave (it uses sealed silicon-coated metal plates). It's not new - something a bit burnt from December 2017 (this looks better), and a QVC promotional video shows a bacon and cheese toastie. YouTube (caution for 'cheese leakage'): the WHICH ultimate cheese toastie challenge (Morphy Richards Mico toastie vs Breville Deep Fill). Other sandwich toasters are available. (Disclosure: we're mutuals on cake-twitter)
posted by Wordshore (56 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
It is a wet Friday in rural England, and I have just made a cheese toastie using an oven grill, which means I have a lot of washing up to do shortly, and am now curious as to how other MeFites create/make/cook their toastie, or toasted sandwich.
posted by Wordshore at 3:35 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


I have an electric toastie maker, like one of these, but it's such a pain to clean I don't use it as much as I would. The mico looks interesting, but I find it hard to believe it gets good results.

Speaking of electric toastie makers, I overheard someone today talking in tones of horror or awe, or maybe both, about how someone at work brought a big raw steak into the breakroom and cooked it in the toastie maker. Can't tell if that's genius, or totally breaking the social compact, myself.
posted by lollusc at 4:00 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


I make toasties with fat bread in a panini press. Best cheese toastie: mozzarella, vintage cheddar, and then served with baked beans on top (I have tried putting baked beans inside the toastie. It is not worth the mess).

We got a panini press when our proper toastie maker died, because it seems more flexible - we often use it for potato scones. Occasionally burritos.
posted by stillnocturnal at 4:04 AM on June 7


Please, what is a toastie maker? Is it just a toaster oven?
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 4:21 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, I Googled it. Panini press. Iiiinteresting.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 4:23 AM on June 7


Is it just a toaster oven?

Closer to a George Foreman grill.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:24 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


I have one of those old-school electric skillets. It doesn’t press the sandwich, I have to flip it like a pancake, which sometimes has disastrously messy consequences.

I’m realizing I do not understand the physics of microwave sparking when metal is inside. How does the silicone make this safe? Does the sparking still happen, just inside an insulated environment? Or does the insulation prevent it?
posted by eirias at 4:35 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Is this where I bring up that I recently found out that the "right" way to make grilled cheese didn't involve using a grill and what I've always referred to as toasted cheese goes nowhere near a toaster? Grilled cheese is fried and toasted cheese is grilled. And now a toastie can be microwaved. Great.
posted by Molesome at 5:26 AM on June 7 [14 favorites]


It feels like we're skirting close to Will it Waffle? (by MeFi's own veggieboy!) territory here, so I thought I'd drop the link in.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:29 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Oh wait, I Googled it. Panini press. Iiiinteresting.

Not exactly. The key feature of the toastie is the crimped sealed edges. Panini presses are not quite the same as toastie makers because they typically don't produce that.
posted by peacheater at 5:33 AM on June 7 [10 favorites]


How dare they presume we have a work lunchtime.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 5:36 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Grilled cheese is fried and toasted cheese is grilled. And now a toastie can be microwaved. Great.

And "cheese on toast" isn't made by putting cheese on toast, but is what you're calling toasted cheese.
posted by Dysk at 6:22 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Please, what is a toastie maker? Is it just a toaster oven?

I grew up in expat enclaves dominated by Brits and antipodeans, and my childhood was filled with crimped toasted cheese sandwiches made in a toasted sandwich maker appliance. Now, in Canada, toasties aren't really as much of a thing. It seems that affinity for toasted sandwich makers is a key differentiator between North American anglo culture and all other anglo cultures.
posted by sid at 6:24 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Sentences that both make sense and make no sense in English include:

"That's not cheese on toast, that's just some cheese on some toast!"
posted by Dysk at 6:26 AM on June 7 [21 favorites]


oh, HELLO. Grilled cheese sandwiches are my go-to comfort food. My grandma used to have a toastie maker like lollusc's, and it was always such a treat to make the warm triangled sandwiches.
posted by alynnk at 6:28 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


When I was a contestant on Jeopardy! in 1992, I got one of those toastie makers as one of my "lovely consolation prizes". They were a bit of a fad in the US in the late 1980s-early 1990s, then faded out and were replaced by panini presses and George Foreman grills. It did indeed make a fine cheese toastie, though I used it more often to make pizza toasties and even the occasional jelly toastie.

Sadly, that device is long gone, and I probably have not had a cheese toastie of that sort since about 1996, somehow subsisting for all these years on your conventional toasted cheese sandwiches in a pan. You've spurred me to go look to see about buying a new toastie maker.
posted by briank at 6:39 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


I have an electric toastie maker, like one of these, but it's such a pain to clean I don't use it as much as I would.

This one has removable plates that are dishwasher-safe. It's great.
posted by rory at 6:40 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I used to buy microwaveable dinners which similarly had a little bit of metal in the packaging so it would singe the contents. I haven't seen those for a couple years though - wonder if they were too expensive, or had safety issues.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:44 AM on June 7


OK, but how can I use my steam iron to fix myself some lunch?
posted by duffell at 6:45 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Seems that the US term for a toastie maker is a pie iron.

It's no coincidence that my own UK toastie maker was made by Breville, a company from my home country of Australia. They're called jaffles there, and are a big part of growing up in Oz.
posted by rory at 6:50 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Seems that the US term for a toastie maker is a pie iron.

I have never heard them referred to as such in the US. Amazon does have a fairly small selection listed as "sandwich toaster"
posted by briank at 6:56 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I've got a Breville jaffle maker but it's in storage because I don't have the surface space, I use an electric oven grill setting for cheese & toasting related opportunities.
This seems interesting, but it's also not something I'd get until they became commonplace and of assured reliability.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 6:59 AM on June 7


Thank you rory for flying the jaffle flag, I was getting the vapours at the misnaming of our national foodstuff. My partner is of the sub-cultural group that calls jaffles ‘Brevilles’, much like the British may call vacuum cleaners Hoovers. This leads to great tension in domestic life.
posted by threecheesetrees at 7:01 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Having little triangular toasties from a metal stove top toastie machine (the ones on the end of the long handles you put in the stove top and then flipped by hand) is one of my favorite childhood memories.

Little crispy bread pie pockets of cooked mince and cheese - with a little bit of T-Sauce (ketchup) on top - in the middle of a bitterly cold winter’s day. Magic. Thanks for this post.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:04 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Are you suggesting librarians are opposed to toasting? You may be headed for a shushing, Wordshore.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:05 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


I've often wondered if these are any good at what they're purported to do. They look like a fire hazard to me.

We called the toasted sandwich maker "why do we even have this when a pan works just as well?"
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:11 AM on June 7


rory: "Seems that the US term for a toastie maker is a pie iron.

It's no coincidence that my own UK toastie maker was made by Breville, a company from my home country of Australia. They're called jaffles there, and are a big part of growing up in Oz.
"

Interesting. I am familiar with the long-handled pie iron usually used over a fire while camping, but never made the obvious connection to the electric sandwich toaster things.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:16 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Bafflingly, when I was a kid in Ohio in the late 80s, what we had was just called a "sandwich maker" even though quite plainly you could make a sandwich without the thing that heated it and crimped the edges. Unlike a waffle iron, such a thing was called a pie iron only if it was a thing with long handles that was intended to be used with a campfire, though those were also brilliant and basically the only good thing about camping.

Now I want one again, because those edges were the best thing, but I haven't seen one in years. The lack of removable plates definitely made them complicated to clean when you, say, were like ten years old and had badly overfilled your potential sandwich and wound up with melted cheese everywhere.
posted by Sequence at 7:18 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


When I was growing up in India, you often saw these metal reverse-tong things, to be used on a naked gas flame (video).
posted by splitpeasoup at 7:20 AM on June 7


The only time I had access to a toastie maker was when I lived on the kibbutz in grade 10, and it was in our little communal space (the building where we played Prince records too loud on Friday nights and grinded up against each other with no adult supervision.) Nobody ever cleaned it (what do you expect from a bunch of 14-17 year olds living communally?) and I didn't like the crunchy bits or the grease or the mess, but sometimes it was better than trekking to the chadar ochel for a real meal with grown ups around.

Nobody should ever have to be 15, is what I am saying, and I don't like toasties.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:24 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


My grandmother had one of these that went over a gas hob (or possibly a campfire), called by the name Toas-Tite. It is central to some lovely memories and probably bears an outsized responsibility for my abiding and trashy love of American Cheese Product.

I am going to ask for one for my birthday this year.
posted by gauche at 7:29 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, a triangle maker. We had one until both my partner and I became gluten intolerant.

Cheese is okay. The best thing, though, is peanut butter. The peanut oil migrates into the bread making it even more crusty, and the remaining peanut meal gets a lovely coarse texture. You can dip them in jam or whatever, just outrageous.

Mind the temperature, though, peanut triangles right out of the iron are deceptively beautiful brown jaffles of nutritious flavour on the outside, and pretty much lava on the inside.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:31 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


I've often wondered if these are any good at what they're purported to do. They look like a fire hazard to me.
Yeah, they work well. You're going to sacrifice a few slices of bread and cheese dialing in the settings, and it's a tight fit all around for some bread/toaster combinations. Bit annoying to clean. It does make a decent zero-effort "grilled cheese" sandwich, however.
posted by Anonymous Function at 7:47 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


>> "That's not cheese on toast, that's just some cheese on some toast!"

Don't even get me *started* on "Welsh rarebit"
posted by Molesome at 7:54 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Toastie makers were also very common in India growing up, though I can't remember what we called the resulting sandwiches.

Cheese was common, but so were a number of other fillings - hard-boiled egg with peppers and onions (but no mayo), mashed potato, minced meat. Yum. I actually tracked down one of these in the US but have yet to make one for my toddler son as he is thus far very pleased with his father's pumpernickel bread with butter on it so I don't want to mess with a good thing. But soon!
posted by peacheater at 7:54 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Search for "toastie maker" on the US Amazon site and you'll get lots, including Amazon's "Choice".
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 AM on June 7


And yeah, we used the irons-and-tongs pie irons to make pudgy pies at scout camps as kids in the midwestern US. Seems to be making a comeback amongst my peers' kids in scouts, too. I sorta kinda remember buttering the outside of the bread, and I honestly cannot determine from the evidence provided whether or not toasties are buttered on the outside (and fried), or just buttered on the inside and toasted.

In any event, I'm annoyed that I probably won't have the opportunity to make a (US-ian) grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch the way my day is shaping up...
posted by Kyol at 8:17 AM on June 7


What's wrong with one of these? Just set it next to the glowing coals in your fireplace and it toasts whatever you want toasted.

(My grandmother, back in the 60s, visited a house museum with us, and the docent asked if anyone knew what that thing was. Sure, she said, that's a fireplace toaster, we used them when I was a kid. Even then, everyone looked at her like she was from Mars.)
posted by beagle at 8:33 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


and I honestly cannot determine from the evidence provided whether or not toasties are buttered on the outside (and fried), or just buttered on the inside and toasted.

I've had toasties that have been buttered on the outside, and ones that haven't, but I have never come across anyone buttering the inside of a cheese toastie. Plenty of dairy fat in cheese already!
posted by Dysk at 8:35 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Ah good, I couldn't tell from the toastie challenge video but I was willing to allow for butter to compensate for particularly dry harder cheeses, say.
posted by Kyol at 9:09 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


The best grilled cheese sandwich I ever ate was one I prepared in a small cast iron skillet, over a wood fire, outside my tent in the middle of the night with snow up to my ankles. It was partially-burnt wheat bread fried in yesterday's bacon grease and sloppy American cheese and the best thing I have ever tasted. There is nothing like grilled cheese when your body is desperate for calories.
posted by SPrintF at 10:14 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I’m realizing I do not understand the physics of microwave sparking when metal is inside.

I think I've seen metal things for the microwave, and it had something to do with rounding the metal.
Not suggesting anyone test it.

A little Googling... an article about why it's bad to put metal in the microwave says it's not an absolute rule.
First,
Well, you might not have noticed, but there already is a bunch of metal in your microwave.
The walls and circuitry are mostly metal, and the door has a mesh built in that lets visible light out, but reflects microwaves back in.
But also things like Hot Pocket sleeves (susceptors) have metal in them. They absorb the microwaves and pass on the heat through conduction.

This finally explains something I wondered about years ago. There are Microwave Kilns that are used to fuse glass.
posted by MtDewd at 10:34 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: This is a work lunchtime game changer.

Also: If my far off childhood memory serves me correctly, you can do something with sugar and cinnamon as a jaffle filling, which leaves you with a hollow crunch sugary pocket of deliciousness.
posted by "mad dan" eccles at 10:58 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I took an electric one of these to college with me (spectacularly against dorm rules. I never burned it down, thankfully). In addition to delicious cheese sandwiches and pizza pockets and peanut butter sandwiches with bits of chocolate in them, I would use it to make 3 am dorm room pancake triangle puffs. Often banana pancakes, but not always. Good times.
posted by terilou at 3:44 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


We've had these electric sandwich makers, but my go-to is:
Toast two slices of bread in the toaster.
Put together a sandwich (plain cheese and dill pickles, tuna salad, ham and cheese, etc).
Set sandwich on paper plate in the microwave and nuke for 10-30 seconds.
Enjoy.
BLT-alternative is to either nuke regular bacon on a bacon tray and assemble the meat, tomatoes and lettuce on toasted and mayoed slices, or use pre-cooked bacon that takes a few seconds to microwave.

Toasting the bread first makes the slices stiffer and more sandwich-worthy.
posted by TrishaU at 4:36 PM on June 7


I'm still waiting for someone to invent the waffle/toastie/panini/grill/ice cream cone/belgian waffle combo maker, as they are all frustratingly similar variations on a theme. Maybe even throw hair straightener in there for luck. There are ones that get close, but don't hit *all* of the bases.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:45 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Team I just microwave sandwiches over here.
posted by lucidium at 4:58 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Had a pocket making jaffle machine in my youth. Then I worked in a cafe with a giant panini press, where I made toasted sandwiches. So I got a flat toastie maker for my grown up life. I sometimes miss the pocket making aspects, but the flat one is a bit more multipurpose (chicken snitzels cook amazingly well) and so it stays.

A campfire jaffle iron is a nice thing to have though- nothing like an egg and bacon sandwich cooked on a camp fire when you've just rolled out of your swag in the morning. Definitely a car camping accessory, though, not a backpacking one.
posted by freethefeet at 6:26 PM on June 7


BUt I can just get more butter in my mouth with GRilled CHeese.
WRap it in tin foil, leave in hot car. Ta Da.
posted by markbrendanawitzmissesus at 10:44 PM on June 7


I'm still waiting for someone to invent the waffle/toastie/panini/grill/ice cream cone/belgian waffle combo maker, as they are all frustratingly similar variations on a theme.

These exist! My dad got one for Christmas. Some googling brought up this, though I don't even think that's the one he has. 16 different plates!
posted by Dysk at 3:16 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Browsing toastie makers on American Amazon, and the hulk of the reviews are like "we used it three times and the cheap lock popped off," or complaining that American bread is too big to fit. This could be why toastie makers haven't caught on.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 9:40 AM on June 8


How has no one addressed these by their proper name in this entire thread?? Say it with me, people: SNACKMASTER.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:31 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I have a reputation for using the panini press at work extensively. I also have one at home, having given up the triangle revile version because it is too hard to clean.
My tip is roesti/hash browns in the press, just grate a potato add some oil and yum.
posted by bystander at 5:57 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Bought Mico, tried it today. Was not optimal, but edible, and frankly not bad. With practice, I could really get a damn good sandwich out of this.

Issues on the device:
*The times listed for microwaving were too long for my microwave. The edges of my brioche bread were too charred. I could have probably shaved 5 to 10 seconds off on my time and it would have been perfect. This may have been because of the microwave, which doesn't have a rotator tray. So all of the lovely rays hit the plates perfectly. And I used undersized slices of bread, which may have been an issue.
Issues due to me:
*Added way too much butter. The butter wasn't melted enough, so I put a bunch on to get coverage. Make sure you get pretty smushy spreadable butter so when you turn it around it doesn't spill a large amount of melted butter when you turn it over. Might use mayo next time.
*Bread to cheese ratio. Too much cheese, too small bread. I need a larger loaf, or need to use less cheese. There was a large cheese bleed out in the device.

With a couple of tweaks, pretty easy way to make a cheese toastie, as they say in the UK.

Also, one thing that they don't show is that the device is pretty brainless to clean. The clamps, the silicon covers, and the metal plates all separate, making them easy to clean and then recombine. Just make sure to separate everything: the plates are difficult to get back in to their silicon covers if they are still in the clamp trays. Also give it a wash and a minute after extracting the sandwich to separate. The silicon covers are not hot. The metal plates, are very hot.

It was an edible and pretty decent sandwich even with all these issues. Most of which are fixable from the user.

So 8/10 will make more cheese toasties in the future.
posted by zabuni at 8:10 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Baked beans, cheese, dab of HP. Not too much of any of them will save cleaning. Nom.
posted by biffa at 11:36 PM on June 23


I just want to say that Wikipedia informed me that one of the names for this is a "tonka toaster," which is just super.
posted by rhizome at 11:54 PM on June 23


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