I just wanna put you in a toaster

“DO NOT PREPARE IN CONVENTIONAL OR TOASTER OVEN.” Why? What did I do to you, Lean Cuisine? What kind of a company stops me from putting a panini in a toaster? A toaster isn’t a grill, I know. But if you want me to put some grill lines on a thing, you’ve gotta let me put some fire on it. Some heat on one side, a rack in the middle, some grill lines on the other. It’s like a recipe for cooks who don’t combine things. Cooks like me.

I know the company has to back up its “Revolutionary Grilling Tray,” but my microwave tells the truth. Revolutionary tray, high heat, no grill marks. At least I couldn’t find any.

I didn’t follow the instruction for waiting five minutes between the freezer and the microwave, but do you think the panini’s inventor had such concerns? “Culinary lore recounts that Nunzio Panini accidentally invented the panino when he stuffed grilled eggplant and goat cheese into bread hot out of the oven,” one source says. Does it sound like Nunzio Panini was working slowly? No indeed. I follow in his footsteps.

Sure, by more likely accounts, the story of Nunzio Panini is absolutely, completely bogus. It’s possibly the work of an industriously creative Fort Lauderdale restaurant owner, who should be applauded for his work influencing the easily influenced Internet. But it’s the principle of the thing. You can’t just push a button and expect the markings of fire. Bread does not grill by man alone.

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