Hamilton Beach Sandwich Maker, £29.99. Hinged tier of hot plates. Cooks an assembly of sandwich bread and trimmings, while the revolving middle plate deposits an egg within.
There’s nothing like a good breakfast, and this is nothing like a good breakfast.
Rhik Samadder’s gadget review – sandwich maker.
Kitchen gadgets review: Poachets – oeuf-ally good poached eggs
Do you know the Muffin Man, who lives on Drury Lane? He sounds dodgy, doesn’t he? And I bet he owns one of these. This multi-compartment, muffin-cooking monstrosity does it all. It toasts bread, grills cheese, and cooks eggs. (As an aside, Hamilton Beach legally owns the phrase “Good Thinking” as a registered trademark; yet their best idea is a device to build your own Egg McMuffin. I feel like someone owes somebody a refund.) The machine has three plates, separated by cooking rings, all of which are hotter than Venus. You add bread, cheese, and pre-cooked meats (ugh) to the upper and lower trays, while the middle section … well. “Add the egg right to the egg plate,” the guide urges, so you know we’re not in Michelin territory. Then it gets bizarre. “Use a large egg or smaller,” it says – a piece of advice which means absolutely nothing – and “pierce with a fork or toothpick.” Probably a fork, right? Or do they mean a used toothpick for extra flavor? Why bring dental aids into this?
After five minutes, I’m instructed to rotate the egg plate by its handle: the tray slides out, empty. Its contents have been incorporated into the meal stack. Woooah. That’s some weird juju. I lift the cooking rings, avoiding the burning steam. Out flops a puck of oil-red bread and perfectly circular egg solids. The two halves are differently disgusting and so slick with grease they slide off each other. I feel sick. This hot mess might work as part of a controlled diet; let’s call it The Watkins, in which you only eat foods fried in cheese fat. Impregnating a sandwich with an egg, a breakfast in vitro inverters may have medical significance. As a meal, it’s so depressing it should come with medication included and numbers you can call. Hamilton Beach sounds like an upscale neighborhood in a US soap opera, but it doesn’t get more low-rent than this.
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‘Out flops a puck of oil-red bread and perfectly circular egg solids. The two halves are differently disgusting.’ ‘Out flops a puck of oil-red bread and perfectly circular egg solids. The two halves are differently disgusting.’ Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
Redeeming features? They could have called it Tower of Wrong or Tiers for Fears. Now that’s good thinking. Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard? Egg McNothing. 1/5