The One True Toaster

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.43.47 AMThe toaster is serious business in our house. I’ve had the same toaster since before Jeffrey was born, meaning it’s survived moves from San Francisco to Washington state, to Washington DC. It didn’t come into it’s hard-service years until Bean transitioned from milk to toast- and we’ve been sitting on the toast phase now for about {12y(365d)(3mpd(2e))} 22,280 English muffins/slices of toast. That’s just for Bean. Occasionally other members of the family enjoy toast, too- so it’s fair to imagine this brave little Toaster serving up this family, in all it’s incarnations thus far, upwards of 30,000 toasts.

And it’s dying.

Slowly… every so slowly, it’s been dwindling in it’s abilities, going from robustly crisping and browning our breads to the point where now, even turn all the way “6” it can only achieve an anemic tan and slightly floppy toast. The Toaster is dying. Long live the Toaster.

To give you some idea of how Important the Toaster is, when we travel, Bean wants to take it with us. He honestly worries about what he will do for toast when he leaves for college. When we stay with friends or family for visits, he stresses about their toasting abilities, and again wants to bring the One True Toaster along for vacation. While guests in Williamsburg, my friend had made sure she had peanut butter (no bumps) and jelly (no bumps) and we brought our own English Muffins. She prepared Bean’s toast for him in her (perfectly fine and working well) toaster, and he quietly sat looking at his food, one lonely bite taken. “What’s wrong?” I whisper in his ear. He looks upset, but he’s trying to be polite, “Their toaster is wrong. It doesn’t do it right.”

Years ago, Jeffrey jokingly said I should probably buy a backup of our Trusty Toaster. We laughed. It’s no laughing matter now- because the Toaster is dying, and they don’t make our model anymore.

I sat down to look up toasters, and Bean immediately and seriously joined me reading product-reviews on Amazon. He had his Kindle out and was setting up a “compare” screen. He was concerned with levers, buttons, toast settings, and weighed in with opinions of what was necessary and what didn’t matter. He doesn’t need a countdown screen, but he needs a Level 3 toast to be a nice even golden brown. (Did you know there are websites that will show you samples from different models on different settings? There are.) He wants to have a level to push it down because he likes the satisfaction of the click when it sets and starts to heat. He needs FOUR slots, not two. He likes chrome with black, not straight chrome or white- those combinations are “wrong”. He doesn’t mind using his wooden toaster-tongs to retrieve his muffins, so he doesn’t need an eject button. It was a bit of a lark at first, but it became clear this boy was dead serious and this was no laughing matter.

After reading several articles on toasters and umpteen reviews, we decided on the Cuisinart CPT-240TNFR Elements 4 Slice Toaster. It will be here Friday, and if it’s satisfactory, we will be ordering a back-up for him to take to college in 6 years. He even offered—bless his heart—to contribute from his own money to have a backup toaster this time- I suspect he’s miffed I didn’t buy a backup of the One True Toaster when I had the chance, and he won’t make that dumb mistake again.

The toaster is dead. Long live The Toaster!