* Prices may differ from that shown
My mum is a big fan of all things Lakeland and always looks forward to the new catalogue arriving or to a trip to their flagship store in Windermere when she comes to visit us. As a result her kitchen, and other parts of their house, are full of little gadets and gizmos, all designed as things you don't really need but don't think you can live without when you see them! One of her purchases last year was a set of these toast tongs and, after I exclaimed "that's a good idea" when visiting them one weekend, I later found a pair in my Christmas stocking. You can imagine the joy on opening that particular present on Christmas morning!
Manufactured for, and marketed by, Lakeland (the artist formerly known as Lakeland Plastic) I have only ever seen them in their stores and catalogue - and on their website too, obviously, although I assume similar things will be available from other places. This particular pair cost just £1.99 from Lakeland which, even if it turns out to be something you don't use in the end, isn't going to break the bank.
The tongs are made from bamboo and each one is similar in length and shape to an emery board - long and thin, with rounded edges. They measure just over 20cm long by just over 1cm wide and are joined at one end so that the open end can be used in a pincer fashion. Also at one end, on the outside is a small round magnet which means they can be attached to your toaster when not in use.
When I first received these I didn't think they'd be something we would use that much. Although I do like my kitchen gadgets I only like the ones I use a lot and don't want to fill my kitchen with stuff that just sits there collecting dust and dirt and never serving a purpose. These, however, are one of the things from Lakeland that actually do come in very handy and, whilst I wouldn't say that I couldn't live without them, they do certainly serve a purpose in our house.
When using normal sized shop bought loaves these are pretty much redundant as the pop up feature on our toaster is sufficient enough to raise large slices of bread up enough that you can lift them out easily without burning yourself. For anything else, however, these tongs have saved me from burnt fingertips on a number of occasions. When I'm toasting homemade bread, crumpets, waffles, potato waffles or smaller slices of bread and they don't lift up enough inside the toaster, these tongs reach down inside the grill part, clasp whatever is inside and lift it out easily enough.
They are very simple to use and you don't have to apply much pressure so can easily be used one handed. As they are so long and thin they fit easily inside the toaster slots and, being made from bamboo, they don't conduct heat either so you don't have to worry about any burns.
The only slight negative thing I have to say about these tongs is regarding the magnetic feature. If it wasn't there these tongs would likely get relegated to the back of the kitchen drawer and never see the light of say again, so it is handy having them within easy reach as, otherwise, I would likely just be my usual impatient self and use my fingers then end up cursing whenever I burnt myself. Having the magnet on means you can stick them to the side of the toaster and they're always there, ready to use when you need them.
Being the borderline OCD that I am, however, I like things to be straight and neat and that is where the design flaw with these tongs appear. Even though theoretically they should be heavier at the magnet end, when you attach them to your toaster the pincer end always falls down so that instead of laying nice and straight they are always wonky and lopsided. This doesnt make them fall off the toaster, so the magent does actually work, it just doesn't fit in with my ideas of neatness! As I said, this is only a slight negative and probably wouldn't bother most people but is one area that these could be improved.
All in all, if you use your toaster a lot and often get your fingers burnt then I would recommend these tongs. At only £1.99 I think they're good value and have turned out to be one of those weird gadgets that do actually serve a purpose and get used. I'll never understand why toaster inventors can't magic one up that has heatproof seals around the edge of the toaster slots to stop you from burning your fingers, but until one of them does, these tongs make getting your toasted goods out from the hot slots easy and painfree!
Toast tongs: I lived without them for many, many years. Did I manage? Did I cope? Oh yes. Yes, I enjoyed many a toasty moment before the toast tongs made their way into the CrazyEgg household, and not once did I think, "I need some toast tongs." But then I saw these in Lakeland and I KNEW I had been missing out after all. I knew without a shadow of doubt that this product would allow me to experience a perfection hitherto unknown during the ingress and egress of bread based products into the jaws of my toaster, the Breville VTT122.
"Pah!" I hear you exclaim. "Toast tongs?! What frivolity is this? What 'here today, gone tomorrow' product have we got now?"
I can only implore you to read on and reconsider if you are still sans toast tongs.
Beautifully smooth bamboo is used to create the tongs, the two sanded arms being glued together at the top. They sit comfortably in the palm of my hand and can be closed easily by applying pressure with my thumb and index finger. They are approximately 20 cm long and 1 cm wide. A small magnet is glued on at the top, allowing them to be attached directly to the toaster. Where to situate them is a decision for the owner: I prefer the discreet 'behind the toaster' approach since the tongs do not lie flush with the wall of the toaster, but stick out at an angle. Others may wish to display their tongs at the front.
This convenient storage facility means that when a toasty moment threatens to go awry they are to hand. Imagine the scene: you are eagerly anticipating your toasty treat following completion of the Maillard reaction to your preferred level. The toaster tries to eject the toast, but it gets stuck. What do you do? Well readers, this happened to me only yesterday with my chosen afternoon snack of Plum Bread: a wonderfully moist loaf full of plums and destined to be eaten toasted with lashings of butter. The toast got stuck with the toaster's eject device unable to operate fully. That's right, my plums had got stuck, and they were preventing the mechanism from working. Why, I just reached for my toast tongs and prised the plums away from the bars inside allowing the toaster to return to its 'at ease' position. Because the loaf was small the toast remained inside the toaster. To avoid burnt fingers I used the tongs again, allowing me to retrieve my two slices before they went cold so I could enjoy them with melted butter.
Safer than grabbing a knife!
Quicker and cleaner than turning the toaster upside down!
I am very happy with my toast tongs. :-) £1.99 from Lakeland.