Food separatists of the world unite

My name is the scroobious pip and I am a food separatist.

Andrew has reminded me again of this quirky habit of mine.

Andrew: ‘What would you like for breakfast woman? Do you like English muffins?’

Me: ‘Yes!’

Andrew: ‘So a poached egg on a muffin?’

Me: ‘No!’ [Frown]

Andrew: ‘I don’t get it. You like poached eggs, you like English muffins why can’t you have the two together?’

Thankfully, he doesn’t argue.

Andrew: ‘Ok, an English muffin it is you weird little creature.’

Yet the morning’s enlightenment didn’t end there. This morning I learnt that all my life my mother has been doing it wrong. Yes mum – are you listening – wrong! Did you know that you can simply prize apart an English muffin? You know what happens when you do this? The muffin is SMOOTH. All these years, my mother has retrieved the muffins from the freezer and used a breadknife to separate them. This results in little ‘lint balls’ of muffin on the surface. These burn faster in toaster and so you end up with a muffin of uneven carbon pigmentation. This morning – thanks to 4 – my muffin was perfectly smooth. He still burnt it though. Smoothly burnt.

4 also burnt his toast last night. Well, that’s my interpretation of what happened. I sniffed that distinct flavour in the air and said to him – ‘Andrew have you burnt the toast?’

Reply: ‘No I just cooked it a bit longer.’

It does not surprise me that small appliance companies spend so much time promoting how their product will get you the perfect piece of toast. I think a perfectly toasted piece of bread is like a mirage… yet we continue to desire it, hanker after it, and screw up our noses when that burnt smell is near. Sometimes I think the toaster manufacturers are laughing at us all. A particularly intriguing toaster was one I encountered in a motel in Dubbo. Each guest would go up and stare for a moment at the toaster. It was more like a castle on stilts with the drawbridge half down. Tentatively, people would pick up a piece of toast and place it on the tilted drawbridge. Some pieces would slide straight in… others needing some nudging. Either way, the castle’s mouth swallowed the toast and it proceeded to slowly trudge through the castle’s belly. Here’s where the stilts come in. When it got to the rear of the castle, the piece of toast made an unceremonious ‘SPLAT’ onto the table below. Bemused, people rescued their toast only to discover it was like an Englishman trying to obtain a tan. They turned the said bread, and gave him another pass through the castle’s throat hoping to get something looking vaguely like toast at the end.

Yet a blog piece on toast would not be complete without a final tribute to my mother’s love affair with the worst toaster in the world. I’m not sure who manufactured this monstrosity of a toaster. Kambrook? Breville? Sunbeam? I’m sure if it were any of them, they would all deny responsibility. It was not a pop up toaster. They were for fancy yuppies. It was not one of those bread cage devices. It was like a book with the spine on the table. The ‘heat’ came from the pages in the middle. You took the front cover and lowered it down to table level and popped in your toast and then let it go back up to the pages. The exercise was repeated for the back of the book.

What an appalling design this was. To start with, the little handles on the sides for the toast were made of metal. That was fine when you first put the toast in. Yet when it was time to rescue your toast from the clutches of this evil toaster, everyone would perform the ‘shaky fingers’ dance from the heat… flicking them in the air after each touch of the toaster’s wings. And of course, these flaps were spring loaded. So a quick touch with your finger wasn’t usually enough to have the wing down long enough to rescue your piece of bread. This was design fault number 1.

Design fault number 2. No timing device. Hmmm… what’s the saying? A watched pot never boils. Well a watched toaster doesn’t toast properly either. You start out diligently. Watching. Waiting. Checking (and burning your fingers again on design fault number 1 in the process). Of course, it looks lily livid. So you return the arms to the upright position and proceed with the toaster’s flight of death. You may think I’m being melodramatic but had you been witness to the crispy carcasses removed from this device and the speed with which the kitchen filled with that ‘I cooked it a bit longer’ type smell, you would back me 100%. If you were vigilant and with practice perhaps you could get your toast exactly as you wanted it… were it not for design fault number 3.

That’s right, not one, two, but 3 design faults! (Remember readers, my mother had a love affair with this toaster so we HAD to keep it). The third fault was wing associated. The metal drawers over time, heat, and people banging them repeatedly back against the central spine had warped in shape. The bread never sat flat. This meant an uneven toasting. While one corner of the bread went black, another remained white! Add to this that my mother often stored bread in the freezer. It would warp into whatever shape mum needed to make it fit in the overstuffed freezer. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Retrieved freezer bread that looks more like a spiky starfish than a square piece of food. This added to the uneven cooking and the chances of having a perfect piece of toast were as likely as a cat choosing to sit on the dirty washing when there’s a pile of clean available.

Kambrook, Sunbeam, Breville – are you paying attention??? Whichever of you made this toaster… you caused me serious psychiatric damage as a child… just to get a piece of toast!

Do you think mum would part with this toaster – the WORST toaster in the world? Not on your life. The day it died, she was geniunely put out. In searching for a new toaster, mum discovered they didn’t make this style anymore (gee… I can’t think why not?). So she had to buy one of those pop up toasters only yuppies used. To this day, mum will tell you that she’s never had a toaster as good as this one. Her love affair with it will be only understood by her.

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Posted on November 12, 2011, in Waffle and Nonsense and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Now I do find that odd; the fact that you don’t like a poached egg on a muffin. i had my poached egg on a bagel this morning, all the time wishing I had some muffins or crumpets.

    I’m European mixture, like most English, and I definitely don’t tan. I am pale blue most of the year. It takes me all summer just to turn white.

  2. I cannot remember when that first old fashioned toaster died nor the difference between Toaster 1 and Toaster 2. But i do remember total confusion at breakfast time at various holiday places when confronted by modern toasters.

    Maybe we only got modern toaster 3 because you can no longer buy the old fashioned winged types.

  3. megansmanifesto

    Though not a food separatist, myself, I do appreciate an absence of lint balls on my english muffins. Who needs that kind of crap during breakfast? Mornings are much better smooth, if a little burnt.

    This post is hilarious! And you are an amazing writer. Definite props, lady.

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