Toasters of a Lesser God

It looks as if there will be no early exit from the shitlist on which I find myself. The one I have occupied since killing my wife’s prized KitchenAid toaster several months back. Instead, it appears I have simply put a fresh coat of asphalt on the road to Hell.

The interim toaster was brutally utilitarian. Black, bulbous, squat – it was like having a bowling ball sitting on the counter. In all fairness, it wasn’t purchased with the kitchen in mind but rather pulled hastily from the RV to fill the gap until something more elegant could be procured. Serviceable but homely. And with every ‘ca-chunk’ of the popping mechanism, a reminder of my profound failures as a husband and a human.

And then, what appeared to be salvation. Long and sleek, at first glance it seemed to exceed expectations. The dearly departed had been a ‘one-slotter’ – a single, extended trench where two pieces of toast could be inserted end to end. This successor had the correct shape, so it would fill the vacant spot precisely, but with two long slots for toasting up to four pieces of bread at a time. Think of the entertaining possibilities!

Of course, there could be no getting around the fact that it was not the proper color (what KitchenAid called Majestic Yellow – a kind of pale mustardy hue that the bastards have discontinued), but at least it wasn’t bright red or cobalt blue. Just a neutral, unobtrusive white. Made by some firm I’d never heard of before but was willing to gamble on if it meant I could avoid another kitchen remodel.

But I may have to break out the power tools after all. Or continue the search. That’s because test slices in the new rig have been…inconsistent. What one would expect to be a moderate setting (somewhere in the middle of zero and six at the top end) is in fact more like ‘Center of the Sun,’ baking the bread to the consistency of a charcoal briquette. No doubt a person could fire pottery at the highest setting.

A few more slices were sacrificed as I tried to find this appliance’s sweet spot, which appears to be somewhere around one and a half. Though it’s hard to say exactly, based on the finished product. Thus far every piece of toast has come out resembling one of those sample paint cards you get at Lowes with all the varying shades of brown – a gradient scale, going from burnt russet to ecru, not only from one end to the other but also front to back. Regardless of its position in the slot.

As they say, you had one job.

And it doesn’t so much pop up as launch a piece of toast, like a pilot being ejected from a faltering F-16. You could lose an eye if you happened to be peering into the slot to assess doneness just at the moment of liftoff.

So while all men may be created equal, the same cannot be said of toasters. As for this one, PM me if your kiln ever craps out.

14 thoughts on “Toasters of a Lesser God

  1. My husband and I have been fighting the toaster war for 37 years. He’s of the charcoal briquette school while I prefer a gentle golden hue. If he loves the toaster, I hate it and vice versa. I have been known to hurl perfectly working machines in the trash, telling him they died just to force a replacement. All’s fair in love and war. And toast.

  2. Toasters are like cats, very idiosyncratic. Our current one could only dream of having a ‘Center of the Sun’ setting. Instead its highest setting is ‘Once in the same Room as a Candle’ which leaves a suggestion of toasty brownness on a slice of bread. Very underwhelming.

  3. After struggling with my toaster trying to achieve a nice, even color and crispness — up to and including taking the bread out and turning it around for a second toasting — I’m at the point where sticking a piece of bread on a stick and holding it over a campfire seems the better option. Granted, there’s nowhere for me to build a campfire, and who wants to do that on a daily basis, anyway? Still… I remember camp toast with affection.

    • Being mildly OCD about my toast, I have resorted to the flipping and retoasting trick as well. And, as I recall, we had a camp ‘toaster’ back in the day, a wire contraption that sat over a stove burner and held four slices of bread…the fun part was reaching in over the hot flame to turn the bread. But by God, we had toast out in the woods.

  4. You have too much time on your hands. Try the Salvation Army they usually have a few around. Take a loaf of bread with you.

    • Truth be told, this was a Goodwill find…brand new (from the look of it) but still, you get what you pay for. So I’ll probably go back to the regular retailers…just not sure if the employees at Kohl’s will appreciate me trying out the floor display toasters.

      As for having too much time, that is quickly changing. The RV is coming out of storage, so my free time just went out the window. It’s like having a second house, so my to-do list just doubled. I think I have the subject for my next post.

      Hope you are well.

  5. So funny. The toaster in the photo looks great. Not so great if it burns and launches toast at you. Our new toaster oven seems to burn stuff at random. I am never confident of the setting I choose.

  6. I’m reminded of lodge skiers, i.e. the type who have nice outfits and look good – unless they start skiing. On the other hand, you might be better off with one of them. If they start doing what they’re dressed to do, they’re toast.

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