This past weekend I decided to liven up my kitchen a bit with the Back to Basics TEM500 Egg & Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher. I think “Egg McToaster” is a little easier to say. The contraption is pretty neat. The toaster itself is straightforward, but the egg compartment is where things get more complex. There are a few plastic pieces, and the cooking “pan” that all fit over the heating element at the bottom. All of the cooking is done by steam, so you pour a bit of water into the heating area and your soon-to-be-cooked food sits above. There’s even an area to put bacon or sausage so that they’re warmed too (pre-cooked meats only). You can do any of the cooking functions independently of each other, which is nice. Just want an egg? No problem. There’s even a plastic cooking tray with large circular holes, where you can put eggs still in the shell, so you can cook them hardboiled. I’ve tried one breakfast sandwich so far and a batch of two hardboiled eggs. Everything came out just right.
So far I only have a few minor complaints. The multiple plastic pieces and lid make for some extra cleaning work, but not too bad. I was also a little surprised at how long the egg cooking took, but in the end it was about the same as firing up the stove, heating a pan, or boiling water. The fact that you can just put an egg or two in the contraption and push a button definitely beats those alternatives (c’mon, we’re all lazy in the morning). Lastly I was a bit confused at first by the measuring cup they give you. The only measurements on the side refer to the # of eggs, style of cooking (poached or hardboiled), and consistency. It makes for a bunch of arbitrary (but well labeled lines), with no actual measuring values. The chart in the book lists ounces too, and it took me a minute to realize I didn’t need a 6oz line on the cup, I just needed the “2 eggs, hardboiled, hard” line.
All-in-all it seems like a great kitchen gadget, and I look forward to many more breakfast sandwiches, eggs benedict, and hardboiled eggs.