the Metaphysical implications of a toaster

3 November 2004 at 12:56 Leave a comment

What is it with me and toast?

I always burn it.

I know I’m complaining, but I don’t really want a solution. It’s really my own fault, and I know it, since I refuse to buy a toaster.

I think most kitchen appliances are superfluous. My definition of a ‘Superfluous Kitchen Appliance’ being any electrical appliance that has only one function. Of course I have the major appliances: oven/stove, refrigerator, microwave, they each perform multiple functions, but the only other appliance I have is an electric water kettle, which not only boils water for bb’s coffee and my 3 pots of tea a day very quickly, but has the benefit of turning itself off so I don’t forget and let it boil down to nothing, ruining yet another cooking pot. My mother had the crepe maker (she never made crepes), the pasta machine (used…twice?), the potato peeler, the veg-o-matic. You name an appliance, I’ll bet she’s had it. Some were used with gusto, but many others were pulled out once a year, once a decade, and then never used again. I prefer things to be a bit simpler: cutting vegetables? Use a knife. Knives have the added benefit of being easy to clean, unlike most appliances. Making pasta? Roll it out by hand. I have a really nice rolling pin, wooden, heavy, its ball-bearings whir away while you work the dough back and forth. Very satisfying.

But what do I have against toasters? I’ve fought against getting one throughout my adulthood (I had to give in once – bb wanted to be able to toast bagels, but that was in the States, and the plugs are different here…). The only way to toast toast without a toaster that I’ve discovered (and that was only since moving abroad) is to butter your bread and put it in the oven. I tried on top of the stove, but that didn’t work. It turned out like school toast, either only cooked on one side or entirely dried out. I actually did without toast for years just to avoid getting a toaster, so I was excited when the oven experiment paid off, but even my new solution is problematic: I almost always burn it. Or almost burn it. Or under cook it, and though warmed bread is nice, it’s not toast. Why can’t I remember it’s in there cooking? Maybe it’s because I virtually lived on toast as a kid, and with a toaster you put the bread in and that’s it. Your job is over. You can pour some cereal, leave the room, whatever, and it will pop up when it’s done, and usually with a nice loud ‘chunk!’ to get your attention. I’m conditioned to think that cooking toast is easy, a no-brainer, but an oven full of toast is deceptively silent.

So why do I avoid toasters? Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to just get a toaster? (bb wonders this…a lot.)

Toasters are a Superfluous Kitchen Appliance, taking up counter space and being entirely in the way when not being used and, in my mind, contribute to the ‘no-brainer’ society that we live in. People seem to believe that the less they have to think the better off they are. Forget ‘labor-saving’, these things are ‘thought-saving’. Just drop your toast in and turn your brain off, how rewarding! But I like to think, love to think, need to think, and the more I think the better I feel, the more alive I feel. I mean, think about it, I have just imbued a toaster with metaphysical significance, and how much fun is that?!

But ultimately, highfalutin’ philosophy aside, toast out of the oven is a lot better. You should try it. When you put the butter on before you cook it (as you cannot do in a toaster unless you’re prepared for a Useless-Appliance fire) the bread gets really crisp and is steeped in buttery, but not greasy, flavor. When you butter post-toasting, the bread gets all soggy and greasy. No longer appetizing to me.

So, as with most people, I bring trouble on myself. If I would just get a toaster, my toast wouldn’t burn, but if I get a toaster I will begin the creep toward an unthinking life, a mundane life, a life that seeks the easy way out. So I stick to my guns, and, as I had to do today, have to start making the toast all over again when I burn the first batch. And then sigh and ‘deal’ when I almost burn the second.

Overcooked toast is good with homemade cranberry jam, by the way.


Entry filed under: huh.

Milhone I may have mentioned that…

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What I’ve been reading:

  • James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D. (London, 14 King William Street, Strand: William P. Nimmo, 1876). 4 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 3, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985). 4 years ago
  • Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). 5 years ago
  • Stephanie Kallos, Broken for You (New York: Grove Press, 2004). 5 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 2, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985) 5 years ago

T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.



2003-2013 T. Anderson Painter
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