Ode to Toast

When I write this blog, I sometimes I try to focus on new things I have not tried, interesting facts, or weird thoughts I have about all things food. This post is a celebration, an acknowledgement of a staple that is dear to me -- the humble, venerable, and always dependable, toast. Yes, I am referring to slices of bread that are crisp due to the application of heat. It occurred to me that toast is not just a 'filler' food, but a true friend that always comes through in times of great hunger or indecision. 

No, I have not been drinking. I am serious - I love toast! Some of my favourite comfort moments involve toast in some way. I remember coming inside from blustery winter days, and warming up with hot chocolate and toast with peanut butter. Whenever I am ill, toast provides me sustenance until I am able to stomach more substantial fare. No great breakfast is truly complete unless it includes proper slices of toast on the side. Nothing causes greater salivation than homemade bread, toasted, slathered in butter.

Toasting bread apparently became a 'thing' for the Egyptians who discovered that this method was a great way to preserve bread in the searing heat. From there, it spiraled out of control; toast began popping up everywhere. Toasted bread also served a practical function that made it's way to the bottom of a glass. The Romans discovered that very crisp (burnt?) pieces of toast would absorb odd flavours or perhaps, poisons, that were lurking in drinks. If you consider how activated charcoal works in water filters, they were on the mark with this discovery, giving us the tradition of having a 'toast'. 

Alas, the toast you and I are most familiar with had a surge in popularity with the advent of the toaster. No one really knows who invented the first electric toaster, but somewhere at the turn of the 20th century, the idea of passing electricity through a wire to create heat resistance was married to another great new invention: sliced bread. The first automatic pop-up toaster was on the market in 1925 by the Waters Genter Company, and was the first toaster that could toast bread on both sides at the same time. Let's face it, if toasting bread took you twice as long, you'd be less inclined to make it. I speak from experience, having made many an improvised toaster with a wire coat hanger for use on the stovetop. It will do in a pinch, but it's truly not ideal. Hooray for the pop-up toaster!

Toasters have become sexy kitchen items these days, especially those retro style art-deco toasters that look too pretty to use. Do people really use them? It would be a shame if they didn't. Rather than turning your kitchen into museum, why not just go to the Toaster Museum: http://www.ralphkeyes.com/etc/toaster-museum.shtml?

I suppose the title of this week's post would be a misnomer if I didn't actually come up with a few lines to show my appreciation for toast in poem form. So here goes:
  On sunny days when the heat is high
  And it's far too warm to roast,
                                                       I look inside my pantry 
                                                      Always there, for me, is toast

                                                     Fish may be the staple
                                                     Out here on the ocean's coast
                                                     Nothing tastes better with chowder 
                                                    Than a side of homemade toast
                                                    Buttered, jammed, or drizzled
                                                    With honey, or syrup I must boast
                                                    As a crouton or a finger
                                                    Oh how do I love thee toast!

My apologies everyone. :)


  1. Sweetheart....I Love you! This made me laugh and also, remember how wonderful toast really is!

  2. Aww - I love toast too! I don't say that lightly. Many times the humble slice of toast has saved me from excrutiating pain as I have a sensitive stomach and I love spicy and acidic food *sigh* I'll never learn, but toast has been a very very good and loyal friend ;)

    An engaging, entertaining and informative read, as always!


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