Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Toast!

For a long time, we had no toast. That's right - no toaster oven, no pop-up toaster. I guess at first it was a matter of money or an I-don't-have-time-to-clean-one-more-appliance issue; but gradually our toastlessness morphed into a lifestyle - we were toast refuseniks. Oh, there were the times we threw caution to the wind and toasted several pieces of bread at once under the broiler...but days like those were few and far between. My children accepted that their lives included no regular toast.

Then, about 5 years ago, I found a stainless steel 2-slice toaster at the thrift store for 3 dollars. Deciding it was time to rethink my ban on toast and liven up our menu a bit, I took the creature home and stored it in a cabinet, whence we would take it occasionally in an attempt to toast our sandwich bread. This was always a challenging proposition, as our new acquisition was something of an overachiever with apparently only 2 settings - burned and incinerated. What could I expect for 3 bucks, anyway?

Inexplicably, the children loved that toaster. They would frequently beg to use it, but most times I refused - I wouldn't feel up to the whole drama of watching for flames, baking soda at the ready in case the bread didn't pop up in time. The days I gave in to their pleas were almost holiday-like in feel, the children merrily popping slice after slice in the toaster, chopsticks in hand for retrieving the inevitable charred pieces that would remain stuck in the depths of our stainless steel monster.

So earlier this year, having seen one too many blackened slices of bread emerge from the maw of our thrift-store purchase, I took the kids to Kohl's to purchase a real toaster. A Black and Decker 4-slice toaster, my friends, with a special setting for bagels and another special setting for frozen waffles. This baby sports numbered knobs which assign to each pair of toast its own particular level of doneness. And there are 2 removable crumb trays for ease of cleaning. It is a toaster to be proud of; a toaster, in fact, that demands to reside in full view on the kitchen counter.

6 months, people - that's all it took for my formerly unspoiled, grateful-for-burned-bread-once-in-a-blue-moon children to become the pickiest toast eaters of all time. Susie demands toast set no higher than 3. David (conditioned, no doubt, by all those years of overdoneness) needs his set on 6. Brian and Rachel opt for a middling 4. And none of them - none - will tolerate a sandwich served on plain old bread. You know, the soft kind that hasn't been heated, the kind that doesn't crunch?

The last time I tried to skip toasting the bread, they cried.

Why am I telling you this? I don't know. Maybe so that when my children are older, their spouses will understand how important their toasting rituals are to them. Perhaps it will give any unfortunate people who marry into our family a little perspective on how my grown children's toast history may have shaped their warped attitudes toward sandwiches and english muffins. Maybe, just maybe, they will understand how having a cheap (and lazy) mother can turn normal children into toast-deprived maniacs.

Because, really? What we are dealing with here is so not normal...

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22 comments:

  1. That is the reason why choices should be banned!! ... well not for me of course ... I cry if my toast gets burnt and can easily toast a loaf before I find the perfect combination!

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  2. All I can do is delurk and LOL at this because I just bought my first brand-new, from a real store, toaster that does all those kinds of new-fangled things. Like, a little tray on top for just warming the bread? Amazing! My previous toaster too was the incinerating kind and was never allowed to heat under a cabinet ever! LOL So this is hilarious to me because now my son and I have both become toasting snobs, and he's only 3.5. His poor wife.

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  3. Your toaster has a setting for frozen waffles?
    I now have toaster-envy.

    On our toaster, any setting over 2 charrs the bread beyond recognition. We got another toaster that burns equally well on any setting. It is currently residing in our storage room.

    I can't believe you went that long without a working toaster. I only like toasted bread on my sandwiches too.

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  4. Have you ever seen the BBC show, Red Dwarf? Your post reminded me of a skit in the show.
    Found it on youtube
    and another part

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  5. Are you sure it isn't normal? Because it is the same thing here, right down to the toaster.

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  6. And I'll bet not a one of them will grow up to be in the culinary arts. Ingrates.

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  7. Toast snobs...what will it be next?

    My toast experience broadened when we got a toaster oven, and nothing has been the same since. Oh, the things it can do...

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  8. When we were on our little "vacation" this summer, my children enjoyed the toaster at the house where we stayed SO much that they want to buy the place...
    Yes, they want to buy the house to get the toaster!
    We have toaster oven that I use CONSTANTLY...but they want the slot kind :)

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  9. Growing up we ALWAYS had junky toasters that never popped up on their own. You had to stand at the ready, peering down into the orange glow, monitoring the browning process. InEvitably, someone would pop some bread in and run off to do something- REally quick!-and forget it in there until the smoke alarm went off. Our toasters are a long-standing joke with our cousins...

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  10. Thanks for the warning. I'm now worried about our mostly toastless sons, esp. since the youngest occasionally lugs out the ugly old toaster oven for his breakfast.

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  11. My hubby is one of those toast snobs, I always wondered what kind of Mom would toast all their kids stuff and make them addicted to crunchy sandwiches. Now I know!!! LOL Thanks for the laughs :D

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  12. I'm inspired that in the absence of a toaster you didn't toast bread. For four years, I resisted buying a toaster by reasoning that I could toast bread just as well in my oven. So I toasted bread in my oven, the one that didn't have a working thermostat. I just put the bread in there and checked it every so often until it was brown enough. There was a lot of black bread. Actually, now that I think about it, there was a lot of black everything in that oven without a working thermostat.

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  13. Love a good toast story, lol! Now I have one for you :). My niece has always loved toast. She's 15 now and toast is still one of her most favorite things ever. When she was a toddler, not even old enough to speak coherently, mind you, I babysat her at her house one day. She grabbed my hand, took me to the fridge, pulled out the bread when I opened the fridge door, then handed me the butter and went over to stand near the counter where the toaster was. She had it down! It still amazes me to this day.

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  14. My toaster is on its last legs. Every day I expect it to spontaneously combust and give me an excuse to go buy a four slicer.

    It has rarely seen a slice of bread...oddly enough, my kids hate toast.

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  15. We've had an endless series of toaster ovens. It leaves the stripes on the bottom side of the toast, but it also heats pizza. Occasionally, my kids will look longingly at the the ones that pop the toast into the air, so you can catch it. That's how they work on TV anyway, and why wouldn't I believe the TV?

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  16. May I propose a toast? To finicky toast-eaters everywhere--to the number 3's and the number 6's, to the perfectly tanned and burnt crisp. May your butter always melt into the crevices of your English Muffins.

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  17. So it worked well? I've had the hardest time finding a good toaster. Fancy or expensive it didn't matter, they still broke so I ended up with a cheapo model and it works okay but at least it's been around over a year. And I figure if it breaks and I replace it it's still cheaper than the ones I was buying before. Glad to hear a recommendation though--though I don't know I want my children strung out on toast :)

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  18. this is the first "toast" post I have ever read.
    I enjoyed it very much.

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  19. Not normal? I have a bet that the toast issues and rituals are very normal to many families. Or maybe mine is just 'not normal' like yours. lol

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  20. My dad is allergic to chocolate. Loves it, can't stand to have it around because he can't touch it. Mom can take it or leave it, so they're a happy couple, and we kids got chocolate only ever at Christmas and Easter.

    I remember how stunning it was when the lady across the street gave us each a Droste chocolate orange. In the middle of the year!

    Of us six kids, my little sister and I are total, complete chocoholics and our two brothers somewhat so. The oldest is allergic, so she's got an excuse not to be. And one kid takes after Mom.

    So your kids and the toast? Sounds very familiar. I feel right at home.

    (And just as a p.s.? My mom was here for a month to help this year while I was recovering from major surgery, and at 78 I got her hooked on having a morning mug of hot cocoa like me. 78! I'm a bad influence...)

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  21. We have multiple toasters because of food issues and so toast is just way too complicated for me to take any special requests: you get it the way mama likes it (lightly toasted).

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