The Art of making Toast

Toast, how can anyone not make toast? I struggle a bit with the fancy stuff that goes on top, like spreading the butter, and even cooking eggs. I can turn an egg into a soufflé, I can make a brilliant cake, even knock you dead with a frittata, I don’t mean literally, I wouldn’t poison anyone, not unintentionally, but frying the buggers has never been my greatest achievement. But toast is easy, right, you stick in toaster, push down button and wait for the pop. Admittedly there are different types of toaster, there are those that don’t quite do the even browning. So, you compensate, taking the bread out and turning it around. You’ve got a dial on the side, or the front, and some even have a dial or buttons on the top. Choose your setting.

Here’s a short funny story for you. About a year ago, a friend of mine explored the world of toasters, his old one, finally giving up the ghost, you could say it was toa… no I won’t do that to you. After many years in the toasting game he finally discovered that the numbers on the toaster were minutes. It was such a revelation, it became a FB phenomenon. Did we rib him a tad? Are we still doing it? Hell yes. I mean how hard is it to make toast?

I bring up the subject because toast is a good analogy, I’m getting sillyphosical today, it’s a good way of looking at your problems. Along comes this irritant, I don’t know let’s just say that the neighbour next door has been pouring Jeyes Fluid on your flower bed. Jeyes Fluid for those of you that aren’t too sure is one of the super powers of the Disinfectant World. If it was a Marvel character (had to get the new Avenger movie in somewhere) it would be Loki. A bastard to get rid of, strong and powerful. Always about as a last resort and not something that you would admit to using. As for my neighbour, let’s just say there are some really nice dandelions growing that will need a helping hand when it comes to spreading their seeds. He has a lovely lawn just waiting to be set to seed. Not Loki, although no doubt if he was a gardener, it would be a strange and wonderous garden, I mean the neighbour.

Back to toast and problems. You have bread, that’s the problem. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Looking at Mixers one day in the Electrical store we came across a couple carrying around a piece of bread. Now call me a problem solver, but if my bread doesn’t fit my toaster I cut the bugger down, and if toasting was the only thing I did with my bread I would explore the possibility of buying specially shaped bread for my toaster, they do make it you know. I don’t think I would be going around the shops and cursing all toaster manufacturers because my specific white rubber loaf slice isn’t compatible with any make of toasters on this earth. It was funny. Of course, I had to agree whole hearted with them, and when the lady stated that she had read up on the Interweb about a certain toaster being perfect for her slice, only to find out that when she came to try it out, it wasn’t, I couldn’t help but point out to her that maybe the manufacturer was breaking the law and the Trade Description Act. That if she was concerned enough she could complain bitterly and get something done about it. What I expected was a giggle, what I got was a number of questions as to how she would go about making the complaint. I advised her to go to her local Citizens Advice Bureau, sorry girls and boys. But that is a case that I would love to watch unfold.

So, the problems there, and it doesn’t fit in the toaster. It isn’t going to be solved by putting it in a box, pressing the button and waiting for it to pop back up, all done and dusted. Like the lady with the sliced white, my problem needs cutting down to size. This problem is a big crusty slice. It’s wholemeal and fresh. Fresh bread never toasts right and if its wholemeal you’re never sure whether to toast it for less time, because it’s brown already, or whether to stick to the normal time and get a darker effect. Then of course the crust has a habit of getting blackened and stuck in the side of the toaster.

After making some phone calls, that’s side A cut, writing a letter, because of course, you can’t phone anyone in today’s world. Press 1 on your keypad, 6, 32 and 104, to get through to an adviser that stated that I have to hand in my request in person, at the point of contact to the director of services, in a sealed envelope, certified by a solicitor, place in a sealed metal box, and chained to my wrist. All I want is a copy of a letter that they have already sent to me.

Letter written, side B cut.

Now if you are like me, you can’t stand things being unequal, so you hack at side C and D. That’s a copy of the letter saved on the Cloud and on the computer. And then print a spare copy to put in a file in case you ever need it.

The bread is prepared, now to make toast. Choosing the time is tricky, this is a new bread, as it is a new problem, so I’m not too sure how long it will take. I’ll give it what in the professional world, they call a reasonable time. Three minutes, being equal to 14 days in this case.

Time to brew a cuppa and wait. A problem is never solved by standing around watching the letter box, or watching the leak, you have to do something. A watched toaster always takes longer. So, whilst my bread is toasting I go away and do other things. I get the butter out, the marmalade, and I prepare the coffee pot. Just as I look into solutions to my problems for when the answer to my letter arrives.

Pop, clunk, the toast emerges and the response arrives. Now not too happy with either I put the toast back in, I like my bread to toast a bit longer, and I’d like my problem solved not given lip service.

At this point I’m still waiting for the second Pop. I’ve turned the toasted bread over, as I have, the problem in my head, I’ve decided what to put on it when it’s done, just as I have decided what to do once my problem is resolved.

My toast will be made and I will enjoy the fruits of my labour, and if I’m patient and diligent and have chosen the right toaster, I will have a good start to the day.

My problem is still being sorted out, but as with the toast, I have taken my time and been patient and made sure that I have asked the right questions, so when the problem is resolved and I can sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour, it will be a good start to the rest of my live.

You see Toast is just another problem, once you have mastered the art of toasting bread, you can tackle anything.

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