Sunday, January 10, 2010

Requiem for a toaster

My parents bought me a toaster in 1992. At the time I was still at an age where my parents would buy me things, but all ready of an age where my parents would buy me such things, things I needed more than things I wanted or desperately desired. We were the kind of family that when we went to the movies didn't buy popcorn or sodas. It's not that my parents didn't want to spend the extra money, or that they were trying to save our appetites for a dinner that would follow (or - except for a few unmentionable years - were trying to protect my waistline). It's just that we didn't believe in these things. Popcorn was nice, and soda was nice, and I never lacked for these things. It's just at the movies we didn't believe in them

(Strangely, all these years later, I still don't believe in popcorn at the movies. I am so absorbed in the film that even the basic process of shoveling food into my mouth is too distracting -- although perhaps this is the time to confess that for few years I used to take pasta to the movies. I mean if you are going to eat, then why not eat really good food?)

In the 18 years that have followed, I have taken that toaster for granted. For, you see, I am not really a toast person. Toast has never been a breakfast food for me. Nor do I take toast with an omelet at lunch or brunch. And when I eat bagels , I eat them untoasted. Nonetheless, it follows my blindly and loyally wherever I go.

I have from time to time used the oven feature. But really when I use an oven I need a real oven for baking. And I don't eat much frozen food. But still sometimes the oven has come in handy.

My parents bought me the toaster because they thought I needed one. There is a pretty lengthy list of things my parents bought for me, generous as they are, and most of the items on that list proved to be pretty useful. (The one item that stands out as less used than the toaster was an electric can opener. I got rid of it years ago. Not because I don't open the occasional can, but just because the mechanical variety seems to take just about the same effort and take up less space. I still don't understand why someone would need an electric can opener. I'm not being judgmental here, or, I hope, unappreciative of a thoughtful gift. I'm just trying to understand.)

In any case, after a long gap, and for some random reasons, I bought a loaf of toasting bread the other day, popped two slices in, and depressed the button. Nothing. I was taken a back. There are few certainties in our world, but this is one of them. When you depress the toaster button, the heating wires turn red, and the two slices are on their way toast heaven.

It stood there, inert, mute, cold, lifeless. My toaster was no more.

* * *

I miss my toaster for all these reasons, except the toast. But I am gleefully, and guiltily, thrilled to recover the counter space, the one most precious ingredient in my kitchen. And I have plans for that space, such plans! But more on that some other time.

For now I would like to remember the toaster that my parents bought for me 18 years ago, and the 18 years we have lived together since then.



I had better just confess this now. I've become a toast addict.


If Jane said...

i too am at lost, why? people eat popcorn at the theatre! i've never done it in my life. nor do i do it at home.
i am a complete toas addict since day one. (and what a crime...unless you buy a bagel do you even think to eat it untoasted?;;)

Bombay Beauty said...

My addiction to toast started simply enough -- Just back from travel, it was -10 C here, with the closest source of food the deli across the street and the simplest food bread... How to break this habit?

Indeed, if bagel, only fresh! I was wondering if we would get into the NY vs. Montreal bagel thing -- but believe it or not, I missed trying the Montreal bagel when I was there!

If Jane said...

tried both...the montréal bagel is better than the new york bagel! HA!

l said...

Fun post! :)... I am in complete agreement with Jane on all counts. ;)

high said...


Bombay Beauty said...

Interesting comment high... Google translate tells me this is what it means:

Friendship, like a tree, to be slowly cultivated in order to grow true friendship, and to go through hardships and challenges, can Everlasting Friendship.

Hope I've gotten it right!


Anonymous said...

Yes, never been able to eat at the theatre, somehow feels trivial and distracting.

What is Montreal bagel?


Bombay Beauty said...

Ah Mia -- this is a a land mine filled territory I enter. But basically Montreal has a tradition of deli foods that is parallel to, and as venerable as, the New York tradition. For example, Montreal has its own version of pastrami, which I recall you tried when you were in NYC. And they have their own bagel tradition which began at the same source as NY bagels -- Eastern European Jewish immigrants. And now it's a major border war: whose bagel is better?

Though I've never tried the Montreal bagel, I respect the fact that it is made in wood-chip fired ovens. The Montreal bagel has sugar (and no salt?) The NY bagel has salt... While reading up on this, I learned that bagels (beigels, or at least their predecessors) have been sold in London since the 19th Century. So perhaps we should put down our warring bagels... and eat them!


Vinteuil said...

to ease your curiosity, BB: after a full day of practising the violin that has exacerbated my tendinitis and finally getting around to preparing dinner, I would love to have an electric can opener!

Bombay Beauty said...

I had been wondering. It was gnawing away at me. Know I know. Thanks. bb

Bombay Beauty said...

Know I know was of course exactly what I meant, not now I know or anything else!

Anonymous said...

I suggest you buy a panini press, maybe not a huge one, they are very useful and toast really well.

Mia's sister

Bombay Beauty said...

Well said Sister Mia, well said. I do love those spring-balanced models they use at Italian bars. I don't suppose I could get one of those on my counter though... bb

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