Just before we last departed this town and rocketed north for another luxurious turn at Anne’s cabin in the woods, our brave little toaster of many years died. The mechanism that held down the bread was getting flakey and had become increasingly more difficult to use, leading to frustration in trying to get it to lock and hold down my English muffins in the morning. It was too late to do anything about this situation then, we were too busy, hell bent to get out of town. At the cabin, I did some research (looked up toasters on Slate) and selected our new appliance. It was expensive. Anne correctly pointed out that we could afford six cheaper toasters for the price of the one that I selected, substituting quantity for quality, but it looked so cute. Styled in mid-20th-century modern, it comes in a selection of ’50s retro colors, suitable for both Avant Garde hipsters and aging boomers. We chose a stately cream color.
I allowed our order to sit in its virtual shopping cart for the three weeks that we were out-of-town, and only pulled the trigger after we had returned home. In the interval I had heard that there is now currently a run on all things appliance like, but our new toaster arrived unexpectedly early. Yesterday, when I retrieved the morning paper, it was sitting out on our front porch, likely all night, having been deposited by one of Jeff Bezos’ minions. The fuse kit package for the RAV4 was there too, but that’s another story. With excited anticipation, I rushed the package to the kitchen table and opened it. Inside was another cardboard box and inside that one was a third box. Anne made a joke about nested Russian dolls and a tiny toy toaster, but three boxes were all that there were. I extracted our Smeg, my precious, and began unwrapping all of the plastic that still contained it.
Anne began reading the owners manual, out loud, starting with the lawyer’s part about what not to do. Imagine, one should not take a bath with the toaster and imagine further that they would not have stated that unless someone already had. Moving on to the more useful part of the manual, she explained its features. In addition to the browning selector knob and the bread lift lever, both of which the old toaster also had, this new one has a bagel button, which allows one’s bagel to be toasted on only one side. Somewhat counterintuitively though, the sliced bagel must be inserted insides out. There is also a defrost button for toasting frozen bread. You wouldn’t want to have to move the browning selector, once you’ve discovered its optimal setting and because among two people there can sometimes be a difference of opinion about the correct amount of browning the best toast should have, there is a reheat setting, for that little bit more. Because I had not expected the toaster’s arrival, I had planned a no-bread breakfast. Instead, I first used our toaster to brown bread for lunch sandwiches. I was quite impressed with the toast that it produced and am pleased with my purchase.