Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, January 6, 2012

toasters - why don't they work properly?

Why can't someone invent a toaster that works properly?
I mean for longer than the first few days of use!
And affordable for the masses of course!

How many of us buy a new toaster every year or so, in hopes of evenly coloured golden brown bread to start our day with?

How many of us put up with the same old toaster....and bread that is unevenly toasted?

Bread that is browned only on the bottom half of the slice?
Bread that is browned only on one side, with the other side being barely coloured?
Bread that is browned only in the middle while the edges are warmed and slightly crispy but certainly not browned.
Bread that is browned, but only barely, on either side, no matter how high a setting we choose on the dial?

I have a toaster that I bought within a month of moving here and for a few days the toast was lovely.
A little darker than golden, coloured from crust to crust, both sides the same shade.
Very nice.

Now?  A small circle of bread in the centre of the slice is browned, one side darker than the other.
Hmpf!!   and Pffft!!

This has been my experience with toasters for most of my life, which is why I gave up on them at an early age and resorted to toasting my bread under the griller.
Of my gas stove.
Now that I have an electric stove, this is no longer possible.
Okay, it is possible, but I'm not prepared to pay a fortune in electricity bills just to enjoy a bit of toast in the mornings.
Because, as you may recall, an electric grill takes forever to heat up, (costing thousands of dollars, which may or may not be a slight exaggeration), and even longer to cool down.

So I went back to a regular toaster, for the not so often occasions that I fancy a bit of toast with my juice.
And I was happy with it for about a week.
Now?
I'm not happy.

Is there a toaster out there that does evenly browned slices of bread?
From crust to crust.
Day after day, month after month, year after year?
Something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy?
Something that doesn't take up all available space in a kitchen, especially a kitchen that has only two square feet of available space? (Possibly two and a half...).
Something that doesn't require a degree in rocket science to operate it?

23 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

The whole problem started when they made toasters that popped up by themselves and that had multiple settings for light, tan, toasted and charcoal broiled. Back when the toaster had two sides that you pulled down and turned the toast around in it yourself the toast was always perfect. Fortunately ours has a pop up button which we check regularly through the toasting. It's the only way to get perfect toast.

The Elephant's Child said...

And on the rare occasions when I want toast I use the grill. I have lost count of how many toasters we have had that promised the world and delivered not a lot.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I don't trust them. They lead me into a false sense of security by popping a perfect slice of toast out and then, when I'm at my most vulnerable, lay a piece that's burnt to a cinder. Happens with every toaster I've ever had.

They want world domination - and they are wearing us all down - slowly and inexorably.

I feel a new post coming on...

:0)

Cheers

PM

Toni said...

Ours is a monster, it takes up a massive amount of room and it doesn't toast the top of the slice.
You gotta give it points for enthusiasm though.
The toast doesn't wheeze out the top like happens with some toasters. Nope, ours get launched.
You can catch it on your plate if your reflexes are good enough.
We've had toast thrown into the sink 2 feet away, and once a piece flew into the air and landed back down on the toaster, standing up on it's edge.
So we figure it has entertainment value even if it doesn't cook the toast right.

Elisabeth said...

I have this horrible fantasy about toasters, River based on the thought inculcated in me as a child that if you stick in your fork to retrieve that tiny bit of toast lost below in the toaster you could electrocute yourself, unless you first turn off the power.

I also remember the story of a family that died in a house fire several years back and the fire was apparently started overnight while they slept because someone had left a piece of cooked toast in the toaster overnight and had not turned off the power and soon the toast caught fire and the rest of the place then went up in smoke.

So now I make sure there is never any dead toast left in the toaster. Grim tales that come out of toaster stories and I'm sure there are more out there, River. Thanks for the inspiration to rattle on thus and now: Beware.

Andrew said...

In my experience, no.

R.H. said...

My old man toasted thick slices of bread in front of the fire, propping them up on a fork, it was too hot to leave your hand there. The toast always had ash on it, but you couldn't taste it.
With a toaster you
have to keep checking the slices, moving them around. It's a job.

Windsmoke. said...

About five years ago i bought a Kambrook dual slice, pop-up toaster model no KT97. It has Six Toast Settings plus Reheat and Defrost buttons in that time it hasn't missed a beat perfect toast every time :-).

River said...

Delores; I remember those toasters, if you got too heavily into your book, the toast burned and the kitchen filled with smoke....

EC; I'd love to go back to using the grill, but it's electric and takes too long to heat up. Just not worth it for two slices.

Plasman; I wait with bated breath for your toast post.

Toni; you have a toast launcher! Maybe yours WAS designed by a rocket scientist.

Elisabeth; I've heard those stories too and always unplug the toaster to retrieve any broken bits from the bottom. I don't believe the house fire one though. Bread left in will n ot catch fire unless someone keeps holding or pushing down the lever to keep the element heating. Perhaps instead the wiring shorted out.

Andrew? No?

R.H. we did that too as kids, we'd use the biggest forks we could find, usually the carving forks, and hold the bread over the flames in the old wood stove. Best toast ever!

Windsmoke; Kambrook? Right then. My next toaster will be a Kambrook. My current one has 7 settings and in the beginning cooked perfect toast on 4 and a half, now I have it on 5 and a half, but it only cooks the middle circle.

R.H. said...

It's the coals, red hot coals, for the best toast experience.

Here's a little anecdote, totally gratutitous: In Grade 2 we were asked to draw a picture and tell a story about it. I drew the old man up on the roof doing something with the chimney while mum (who didn't know) was lighting a fire in the hearth. The old man burnt his hands I said and was astonished when everyone laughed, because it was a true story.
At the time I thought only made up things were funny. I've learned different since.

Kath Lockett said...

Funny thing is that here in Switzerland toast is unheard of as 99% of all bread sold is in baguette form, so we eat it fresh and untoasted.

Therefore, the toaster we did buy has virtually only been used in the first six weeks when we were in our pitiful hotel and now gets dust on it more often than breadcrumbs.

River said...

R.H. you're right, coals are better, but we were often too impatient to wait. We did have some amazing toast and milo late night suppers thoughas the fire died down. Loved your grade 2 story.

Kath Lockett, never been tempted to diagonally slice a baguette and toast the slices?

Tempo said...

There is no electric toaster that toasts perfectly, good toast needs fire of some kind I think.. the best toast is done on a piece of fencing wire held over a warming fire at 5am on a freezing cold morning while out camping.

River said...

Tempo; that's one method I've never used. Camping is just not my thing. I'd happily camp in a five star hotel...The best toast I ever had was made over the old wood fire, slices of bread on the big long carving fork.

FruitCake said...

Remember when people would get married and among the wedding presents were half a dozen toasters? The sort that cooked toast evenly? The ones with swing out doors? Electric toasters of the manual, non-self-turning-off kind?
Asked what she wanted for her 60th birthday a few years ago, The Other joked half-seriously "an old-fashioned toaster". Ooh, said a friend, we've just bought our first automatic toaster and the one we got for a wedding present 500 years ago is in the shed.
Said friend keeps hinting that if only she had known... but we ain't letting it go for no amount of money.

Love the story of the Apollo space docking station toaster, though.

R.H. said...

I've been itching to tell the Elephant's Balls on Toast joke*. But (as my latte social science niece would say) I "wondered if I should".

But here it is:

A bloke enters a cafe and orders elephant's balls on toast. The waiter goes off to the kitchen. A minute later he returns: "I'm sorry sir, you can't have that."

"Why not?

"We've got no toast."

-Robert.

*Told to me by a dirty old drunk in the wee hours at the Pieteria all-night cafe.


Well. I was young.

R.H. said...

No names, but a certain homosexual commenting here will not endear himself to other customers by writing Christmas as christmas.
It may be clever, and terribly brave, but gives all other poofs a bad image.

River said...

FruitCake; I remember many jokes about weddding gifts being dozens of toasters and not much of anything else useful. surprisingly, I didn't get a single toaster when I married.

R.H. HAHAHAHAHA!! I think that's very funny.
I frequently write Christmas as christmas. Mostly it just happens becaue I forget to capitalise it. Then I forget to correct it. I don't think it matters all that much.

R.H. said...

Thanks, it matters when it's deliberately done to upset people.

Toni said...

just as an afterthought -- Ruth Cracknell wrote a beautiful and really sad memoir called Journey From Venice, and in it she mentioned that she and her husband were living in this tiny place that had the worlds' oldest toaster, it took forever to cook the toast but it was perfect. Dry and light and crispy. Maybe that's the secret -- slow cooking!!
I thoroughly recommend the book.

River said...

R.H. never mind, you won't have to see the word here again until December 25th.

Toni; I've read that book. That would be like making toast in the oven, the bread would dry out before browning so would be very crisp.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Don't get me started ... we had a completely useless toaster that didn't work. Pilchard did some 'tests' on it then proudly announced that 'it works when there's no bread in it'!!!

Silly me. I thought putting bread in it was the whole POINT of toasters!!!

River said...

Red Nomad; that would have to be the most useless toaster in the history of toasters.