Requiem for a Toaster

As near as we can figure, it dates from 1999 – a gift to christen the newly renovated kitchen at our previous house. It was ever the cheerful toaster, like a ray of sunshine in the gloom of west Michigan (what KitchenAid refers to as ‘Majestic Yellow’). With a somewhat retro appearance, it has browned innumerable loaves of bread and untold truckloads of pop-tarts.

Only in the last year or two had it begun to show signs of aging. The large plastic tab used to lower product into the chamber and begin the toasting process worked its way loose, causing one’s thumb to sometimes slip during the downward push. An inconvenience easily overlooked for such a trustworthy friend.

Its demise was swift and, I can only hope, painless. While some might label me as lazy, I like to think that I was saving energy. During reconnaissance in the bowels of the freezer, where half-bags of tater tots and long forgotten veggie sausage patties lie in cryogenic stasis, slowly becoming entombed in ice crystals, I came across some Trader Joe’s hash browns. Pre-formed, like what you might get at McDonalds, but without the ‘golden arches’ guilt. Just the thing to break me out of my breakfast rut of toast and a banana. I would resurrect one of these potato hockey pucks, maybe throw a fried egg on top, a little OJ…

I was already salivating as I pulled them from their frosty sarcophagus.

But my anticipation was put on hold when I read the instructions. 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Seems like an excessive output of energy for one measly hash brown patty (imagine my family’s joy at having Captain Planet in their midst). So I opted for the toaster. It would probably take a few cycles with the browning control set to 11, but the process would still come no where near expending as much fossil fuel as the oven.

In it went, with me leaning over the bread slot to keep an eye on how brown it was getting. And a smug smile on my face for having outwitted the energy wastrels at the TJ’s test kitchen.

The fatal flaw in my plan – as the patty warmed, it also softened. So much so that when the toaster timer hit its limit and tried to pop up, the patty had slouched casually to one side, catching on the wire innards of the chamber and keeping the mechanism from fully ejecting. A fork meant to dislodge the flaccid spud cake proved ineffective, merely tearing pieces loose that then tumbled into the guts of the toaster. All I could do was tip the entire kit and caboodle over and shake violently until the patty fell limply to the counter, along with several decades worth of accumulated bread crumbs.

And when I set the toaster back and went to put the patty in for a second time because, well, it wasn’t done, the locking mechanism that keeps everything in the down position no longer locked.

At that moment I thought I heard the sound of ‘Taps’ being played…gently.

Even bringing all my formidable handyman skills to bear (which in cases such as this usually involve banging on the recalcitrant device with varying degrees of force) wasn’t enough to mend its broken soul. It still heats up, mind you, as long as you stand there and hold the lever down, but that appears to be a deal-breaker for some.

It was the trendsetter, with enough cachet to dictate the design of our current kitchen here in Colorado. The mixer, purchased in the same ‘Majestic’ hue, the backsplash chosen for its hints of pale yellow, the matching butter dish, salt box, sugar bowl and wall pockets that would contrast perfectly with the smoky green color chosen for the cabinetry. So nothing else will do. And, of course, it’s been discontinued.

I’ll see you in Hell.

And in the mean time, mornings will find me standing over the toaster, holding down the lever. Because it’s either that or another kitchen remodel.

24 thoughts on “Requiem for a Toaster

  1. You might find (and pay a hefty price for) a Smeg replacement. It seems to me that they may have that colour.
    I too wanted to build my kitchen around a certain red shade of kitchen aid–which they then discontinued.
    I also discovered a Japanese toaster that looks so cool (Balmuda) but comes with a price tag that rivals the Garmin I want for my bicycle. If I believed the toaster would last as long as yours, I might consider it….

    also Dash mini Toaster comes in yellow

    Good luck

  2. You put it back in? Lucky you weren’t electrocuted! I checked eBay, and they have 2 white ones of the same model, and one yellow poster that’s sort of rounded a childlike. Sorry for your loss. If stainless would at least work with the mixer’s bowl. Sorry for your loss. I still miss the Bosch that I killed about 15 years ago.

  3. KitchenAid is such a good brand. That color is great, too. It sure beats the Harvest Gold that my mother had. Between that and Avocado, the 1960s were a little — something. I did take a peek in the listings, and lookie here. It’s almost as attractive as yours, if you could find it.

    • “…if you could find it.” There’s the rub. We’re now using the toaster from the RV…squat, black, like having a bowling ball sitting on the counter. Let’s hope Modern Homes and Gardens doesn’t come to call any time soon.

  4. So sorry about your toaster! I’ve had those Trader Joe’s hash browns, and they are good. I just used a toaster oven, so I didn’t have to heat up the whole oven, and of course, I did my part to save the planet by cooking (and eating) more than one at a time. I do hope somehow you find another one to match the missing toaster, and that you gave it a decent burial in the back yard.

  5. A classic!!

    On Thu, Feb 4, 2021 at 1:01 PM Lies Jack Kerouac told Me wrote:

    > Lies Jack Kerouac told Me posted: ” As near as we can figure, it dates > from 1999 – a gift to christen the newly renovated kitchen at our previous > house. It was ever the cheerful toaster, like a ray of sunshine in the > gloom of west Michigan (what KitchenAid refers to as ‘Majestic Yellow” >

  6. Bwahahhah! Another remodel? Pish posh! I admire your dedication, but here at the house of toast addicts, we’re on our third toaster in 21 years and because we’re four and not six again, we downsized to a 2-slice toaster so we feel luxurious or I feel spoiled, or somethin. Everything is stainless steel now, hm? We got white. Once the toast addicts leave home, we may even put it in a cupboard.
    Ye olde red stand mixer is still kickin tho 🙂

  7. Pingback: Toasters of a Lesser God | Lies Jack Kerouac told Me

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