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05.26.2005

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a toast!
host a toastie party

by Leslie Banker
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So you want to meet up with a few friends for dinner but you don't want the expense or the constraints of a restaurant. Cooking a big dinner at home would be fine, except that's going to leave you stuck in the kitchen all night stressing out about stirring the soup and not burning the roast. The perfect remedy to this problem? Host a toastie party.

What's a toastie? It's a grilled sandwich with sealed edges made in a sandwich maker appliance. I first encountered these delightful and delicious sandwiches in New Zealand where, like in England and Australia, they call them "toasties." When I came back home to New York I got myself a toastie maker, invited a few friends for dinner and voila, the toastie party was born.

It's kind of like the fondue party of the 1970s in that the toastie maker is brought out of the kitchen and into the party -- meaning you don't get stuck hovering over the stove. Making toasties then becomes a collaborative project where everybody pitches in with the preparation and, most importantly, helps to come up with bold new toastie combos.

What started out as an easy way to cook dinner for a few pals became a minor obsession for me and my friends. We could all think of the basic toasties off the tops of our heads: there was the plain cheese toastie, the ham and cheese toastie, the cheese and mustard toastie, the mozzarella basil and tomato toastie, the peanut butter and jelly toastie. It wasn't long though before we wanted to take it to new levels and challenge ourselves to come up with new and possibly weird combinations -- as long as they were super tasty. I think it was my friend Jenny who came up with the genius idea for the surprisingly fantastic horseradish and apple pie filling toastie. The beauty of getting experimental with your toasties is that one bad toastie isn't going to ruin the whole night.

saunter along this way please 

 

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