My parents' toaster, which I know they have had since the 1960s, finally gave out about a year ago, and when they went to the store, boy, did they get sticker shock! As if that were not bad enough, they were confused by all the different styles and functions, when what they wanted was a plain toaster to toast regular bread. Fortunately, I happened on a sale of the Food Network Toaster, and they have been using it for a year now, so we have put it through its paces.
Food Network Toaster Review
The Food Network Toaster is a quite expensive piece of equipment. Does it live up to the hype?
[No disclaimer needed: we bought the toaster on sale with our own money.]
This toaster toasts bread correctly (a bit of a feat in itself), and appears to give fairly even doneness throughout the slices, even when toasting multiple slices of bread, and in multiple consecutive toastings. The controls are easy to use, and for older people, who can't seem to get the hang of things that easily, they are simple enough to understand. My father, who can figure out the most complex assembly or woodworking instructions at a glance, but has a lot of trouble understanding how to use a blender even after multiple hours of individual lessons, manages to use it with absolutely no trouble at all.
Reviews on this toaster model are mixed all over the internet. Some people are perfectly satisfied, while others call it junk, and opinion seems to run about half-and-half each way, with very few reviews in the middle. My opinion runs about 2.5 out of a possible 5 points, with negative deductions on both the selling price and its footprint.
Would I Buy This Toaster?
I already have a perfectly serviceable inexpensive toaster that I'm completely satisfied with, but if I had to buy a new one, I would probably not get this model. For one thing, I'm a bit of a foodie, and I would probably do a whole lot of research and try out different models at friends' houses before I chose one to buy. And to be honest, I don't really have the kitchen counter space for this monster.
So the bottom line: if you need something simple and easy to understand (like for your elderly relatives), then this toaster might do the trick, if you've got adequate space for it. Otherwise, get something smaller, or with more functions. Consumer Reports reviews toasters each year; I've been reading the magazine for decades, and only once have I ever been steered wrong by their recommendations.