Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Can we Trust The Food Network?

I don't really expect anyone out there to know what I should do in this situation. Mostly because I am guessing that none of you has the exclusively sold at Kohl's, Food Network 4-in1 Grill. I really need a waffle iron. I used to have my grandmother's dinosaur of a waffle iron that burned me, didn't tell me when the waffles were done, and was extremely heavy, your basic all around death trap from the 1940s. So in our last move I asked my mom if it was like an heirloom or if it was okay to just lay it to rest. As she is only sentimental over a 50 year old package of multicolored Dixie cups (and why she has chosen this particular item to attach all of her childhood sentiments to, I will never understand), she said to send it on its way. So I did, thinking that I would just get me another waffle iron next time I saw one. But when do you ever see waffle irons? You have to go out of your way to shop for them. So I will get up one morning with a craving for waffles and think, "I gotta go shop for one of those."

Well, at Christmas, I finally did the research. I looked on Amazon and studied all my options. See, with already a family of five, none of these circular Belgian waffle makers would be worth the money. I'd spend all morning standing up turning waffles. So I decided I needed a bigger one. The idea of the waffle iron, panini press combo was really appealing to me, because mmmm paninis. But, while the panini press is often combined with a grill and griddle with switchable plates, they often don't include a waffle iron plate, as in with the Cuisinart Griddler. I love Cuisinart. I have Cuisinart envy. But the Griddler has no waffle making capacities. However, Cuisinart does make a nifty waffle maker. But I was so fired up about the panini making capacities, that in the end, I put the Black and Decker Grill and Waffle Baker, which received a five star rating from none other than Karma Wilson, on my Amazon wish list. But we know how this ends, I didn't get much off my wish list. So no waffle iron for Christmas.

What I did end up with after many returns, was $60 in credit at Kohl's. So that's something. But Kohl's doesn't carry the Black and Decker Grill and Waffle Baker, which also got some bad reviews so maybe it wasn't meant to be? What Kohl's does carry is the Cuisinart 4 slice Belgian Waffle Iron, which is very exciting. But it was too much. Until this week when I had a baby with a fever during Sunday school so I couldn't leave her in the nursery and decided to run over to the Kohl's that is just across from our church and found the Cuisinart waffle iron to be on sale for what? $60. "The biggest home sale of the season."So that was exciting. But the lady in line behind me said "Honey, you don't want that." I don't? Why don't I? "Because that one doesn't have the plates that change out." Well, the one with the plates that change out doesn't have a waffle iron plate. "Yes, it does. At Macy's it does." Of course, this is he story of my life, I was so confused. I had researched this! I had been waiting! I was in line! And one lady with one comment blew the whole plan out of the water. Bossy lady! Seriously, this is the story of my life. This is why I am always in therapy. Strangers make me doubt myself! Imagine the power that you people who know me have! It's terrible!

So I checked to be sure that the sale would last the week and decided I better check my research. Well, of course, I am not stupid, and the Griddler does not come with a waffle iron plate. Cuisinart does not make a panini press waffle iron combo. And it's too bad really, because the Griddler is pretty sweet. Anyway, back to the moment, as I was walking back to put my waffle iron away and chasing my feverish tornado baby who was wreaking havoc in the small appliances section, I happened by a large display of Food Network cooking sundries that are supposedly a "Kohl's exclusive" and saw that Food Network makes a 4 in 1 grill that includes, guess what? Both waffle iron and panini press plates! I found this article which is the only review I seem to be able to dig up, except a message board where one guy tells another guy to keep the one he received for Christmas and the the other guy comes back and thanks him and said he is glad he did keep it. So for what that's worth... Anyway, it is a lot more expensive, but is on sale this week for $100 (from $140). So do I invest $40 (after the $60 credit) in a product that does a lot more and could potentially be my favorite thing, but could also potentially be a very sad conclusion to my waffle iron hunt if it doesn't work well? Or do I just get the plain old Cuisinart waffle iron, the one I had decided on, for pretty much free, and if one day I have some money lying around (yeah, right) I'll buy me a Griddler? Well, I'll never do that second part. Because the main reason I am doing this is because of the store credit, and also two such appliances would take up ever so much storage space. And while a panini press is very nice and an open griddle is something I could really use, I am not sure I want to gamble on appliances made by Food Network. It just seems so gimmicky. Could they really put out something that works well? Part of me says that they would want a really good product to put their name on, and part of me thinks maybe they figure that anything with their name on it will sell and so they will just want to put something out there whether it's good or not. So the real question becomes "Can we trust the Food Network?" And as you know, I listen to what people tell me, even the lady behind me in line at Kohl's. So what do you think?


jennifer h said...

According to your article, the food network 4-in-one grill is manufactured by T-fal, which is a reputable company. Perhaps you should look up reviews on other products they make to help you decide.

annie said...

If I were you I'd get the Cuisinart. You can always use a skillet to make some great grilled sandwiches. That way, you could save 40 bucks. I like my Cuisinart appliances (blender and food processor) but don't usually use other appliances for cooking (toaster oven/toaster) so in general, I wouldn't buy an appliance to help me cook. A waffle iron is my exception though. I have an old one and would love to have a new/bigger one.

Jessie said...

I am with Annie on Cuisinart being great, BUT you also know that I am all for investing in something you LOVE before you settle for something that is only half-way to what you love. And it is more multipurpose. No news is good news, right? Surely if it were horrible, there would be people venting about it...that is always the case!

george edema said...

I vote for the 4-in-1. Often times combo deals don't pan out because the quality is sacrificed for versatility. But that guy looks solid. and the prospect of grilling in-doors is appealing for me. But mostly I think you should splurge on the big boy because you didn't get any Christmas presents and you deserve a waffle/panini/griddle/grill treat.

Karma Wilson said...

Dear Abby,

I'm not going to tell you what to do. :) I am going to say that T-fal has produced products that work great for me. I have their food processor and I also gave it a five star review. As for a panini maker, I very rarely use the grill feature on my waffle iron, but I very rarely allow myself to eat melted cheese on bread because I can't stop once I start. I would think food network would want better quality associated with their name.

But here is something you might want to know--a lot of people just use plain old waffle irons to make paninis. Who cares if the grill marks are square or straight, as long as the cheese is full fat and the bread perefectly toasty and the olive oil is fresh and there are delectable italian meats inside and where the heck is my waffle maker anyway!

Good luck whatever you decide. Waffles are guaranteed good memories for kids. :)


Matt Churnock said...

There are items in life you shouldn't skimp on. Paint, Circular Saws, T-Shirts (ther under kind) and Waffle Irons. I can't imagine a Christmas morning without waffles and if I had a crappy maker you might as well slap baby Jesus in the face. After all, the fourth wise man (which not much is written about for some reason) brought a waffle iron.

I have often thought of finding Waffle House's that are going out of business and buying theirs. You could probably get on of those for a few bucks.

I don't have much to offer other than God Speed in your quest and I don't envy your position.

p.s. you could always get george to buy one and that way if it is a dud you can blame it on him and if it is great you can take credit for trusting your husband with such an important domestic decision.

Abby said...

Y'all! Do you think that was really Karma Wilson?! I love Karmas Wilson! If that was you, Karma Wilson, and why would any of y'all be so mean to tease me otherwise, thank you so much for your comment! We have nearly all of your books and they are our favorites!

Okay, I think the general consensus here, from what Annie and Karma said is that paninis can be made on things besides painini presses. So I am somewhat inclined to go waffle iron on this and save the $40. Although sweet Georgie wants me to have the super deluxe as usual. What a catch, that George! Still open to advice though; always open to advice!

Matt, your comment was absolutely hilarious!

lauren said...

matt-i don't remember you being so sarcastic in high school. i just spit my coffee out all over my mac.

Karma Wilson said...

Hi Abby, I've posted a page on my website that proves it's me.



kleskenooz said...

Hey folks, I hate to break it to those who believe the 4-in-1 from Kohl's is from T-fal. It isn't. It's from a Montreal-based company named Senseo, with factories in China [of course]. The product had undergone dubious tests and finally had to rush to hit the shelves. My recommendation? Keep researching until you find an amazing waffle maker that does just that: makes waffles. Period. And preferably with removable plates for easy cleaning and a timer to let you know they're done. Good luck and Happy Eating!

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