Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Post about Toast

Today is the 81st anniversary of the day that commercial bread was sold pre-SLICED! This was of course one of the first examples of food being marketed for convenience. Think what a boon this must have been to housewives. Those of you with kids, how nightmarish would every day be for you if your kids were unable to make themselves a PB&J on their own and get out of your hair for 10 minutes.

This of course made me think of a commonly used phrase we've all heard. Used as a benchmark for any new innovation of any kind, something is often referred to as "The best thing since sliced bread!". This makes me wonder. what was the best thing before sliced bread?

I of course was distracted, as I thought about the added, unseen beneficiary to this invention...toast could now be made more consistently and better to a persons taste now that bread slices were more uniform.

You think this is a small thing? How much better is your quick throw together pasta dinner accompanied by some garlic toast? How satisfying is that simple slice of toast with butter and jam for a quickie breakfast? How much better is an english muffin or bagel if it's toasted? The answer to all these? WAY BETTER! Go ahead...right now...as you're reading this...wherever you are...at home, the office, the library...yell "CHEESE TOAST" at the top of your lungs and see how many people around you yell back, "HELL YEAH! I'LL TAKE SOME!". You'll be surprised.

The toaster was around before the commercial advent of sliced bread of course, but I was amazed at the different forms it took on in it's development. Our old friend Milton the toaster shows us a few (very few it turns out) examples below.

with a "toast keeper warmer".
Mmmmmmmmmmm steamed toast!

Some of these appear to have doubled as torture devices as well.
So for today, your homework assignment is to "STICK IT TO THE MAN" and the global economy and spend a few hours at work perusing http://www.toaster.org/museum.html
It's just good advice and you'll be glad you did. Remember, "Toast, it's what's for dinner."

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