Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ode to Toast
There is something about the simple goodness of a piece of toast with a sticky, sweet jam or jelly. The yeasty smell as you toast it in the toaster. The crunch of the crust as you spread a thin layer of butter over it. The slight melting of the sweet jam. The way the bread crumbs fall easily onto your shirt as your consuming it. There are so many things I could say about breads and the oh so many recipes for bread that make great toast, and so many more things I could say about spreads for your toast, from jams to jellies to butters. But this post wont even go that far.
See, this post is just about that TOAST-ing action of making toast.
I am very particular about my toast. Not so much the bread, because quiet frankly even though I don't like white bread for much, I'll even take that toasted. But its the quality of the toasting itself. I need my toast to be uniform, evenly toasted on all sides to all edges. Sometimes in my toaster the bread doesn't go down all the way, so you're left with this kind of warm, and kind of mushy top part that isnt quiet toast. I find that unacceptable, but will eat it because I dont like to waste food. Burnt toast, on the other hand, is literally for the birds. Campfire toast and toast made under the broiler are two ways to make toast that should be done out of sheer necessity only, as using those methods it is impossible to make well-toasted toast.
My need for perfect toast led to a domestic disturbance in my household. Until about six weeks ago, my toasting tools consisted solely of the toaster oven my boyfriend has had since college. You know the type that inhabits every college kid's kitchen counter top or dorm room, costs about $15 at Wal-Mart, and is crusted on the bottom with melted cheese and crumbs? Yes, embarrassing, I know, an almost-30 year old lawyer and I have a toaster oven that's junk. You know why? Because they are ALL junk!! * ( Ok maybe not all of them, but the ones that are within my range of willingness to pay? None of them strike me as particularly stellar).
And how am I now a connoisseur of toasters? Well, in order to remedy my toaster oven problem (and the whole causation of the domestic disturbance), I bought from the aforementioned store a toaster oven that had a toaster built in the back. To switch to the toaster function you just pushed this little lever, and wah-lah, your toaster oven is now a toaster. I paid a little more for it than I wanted, but I needed an upgrade BADLY, and this one seemed to do just what I wanted - make toast AND crisp up boyfriend's pizza crusts.
Well, boyfriend finds out about this, and being that he is much attached to, well, most everything he owns mainly for sentimental reasons, and gave me alot of grief, DAILY, about replacing his beloved toaster oven. Much of it went like this: "But the toaster oven we have works fine" (No, it doesn't, it does not toast evenly due to the layer of funk in the bottom, the element only heats in the dead center, and sometimes it catches on fire), or "But I've had that since college" (College was over 10 years ago dear). So when my newly acquired toaster oven arrived, I actually did not introduce it into my domain until a few weeks later. As boyfriend was leaving for a road trip for work, he saw the box in the living room and said that I should go ahead and get the new thing out while he was away so that he didn't have to notice the old one being gone.
I did as instructed. I was so excited to make a piece of toast that was uniformly golden brown. I could almost smell the toast toasting. Much to my disdain, I unpacked the thing and low and behold, its only a TWO SLICE TOASTER / TOASTER OVEN!! For as much as the thing cost, it should MAKE the bread and then toast it. I promptly packed it back up, took it back to the store for a refund, and bought a six dollar toaster (Yes boys and girls, you can purchase toasters for SIX DOLLARS), and have been in toast heaven ever since.
Just goes to show you...that while I would LOVE to have a hugely expensive convection oven, 12 slice, fit a whole pizza inside toaster oven, I can be just as satisfied with a six dollar toaster.