The quest for the perfect toaster

My Mom is the lucky owner of what seems to be the single remaining toaster of the side-opening variety in the whole country. She looks after it lovingly, and it repays her gratitude by continuing to work after I don’t know how many years.

We, meanwhile, are on our … third? fourth? fifth? … pop-up toaster, because the darn things keep dying. Naturally, they do so shortly after the warranty has expired. And the screws are so well-concealed and recessed that you need special surgical equipment to take the bloomin’ things apart for DIY repairs.

On Saturday morning, therefore, we embarked on a quest for the perfect toaster.

We headed out to Canal Walk, because that is the nearest shopping mecca in this neck of the woods. Apart from that, we thought we’d find the greatest possible variety of toasters there. We ended up walking through Game, At Home, Woolworths, Boardmans, Clicks, Mr Price Home Store, … um… I’m sure there were more, but I can’t remember their names.

[By the way, did you know that it is possible to buy TOASTERS over Kalahari.net??? Have a look here. I am dumbstruck. I thought they just sell books and DVDs and stuff? Wow.]

In the end, we bought a little Sunbeam from Game. πŸ™‚ Giggle.

Here he is:

World: Meet Our Sunbeam πŸ™‚

However, I need to gripe.

All the toasters we saw were pop-up toasters. Even the ones listed on Kalahari.net are pop-ups.

One would think that, in the 21st century, the manufacturers of toasters would be capable of coming up with an alternative design to the ubiquitous pop-up.

What about all those bread-eaters who DON’T exclusively use sliced bread of the square or rectangular sort?

What about those of us who would really like to toast a bread-roll or a croissant or a ciabatta?

Those of us who don’t want to turn on the oven every time we want to heat up a couple of yesterday’s rolls for this morning’s breakfast?

No, we poor people are forced to slice our non-conforming rolls and croissants and ciabattas and paninis and baguettes into fine slices, which requires considerable manual dexterity that not all of us have. Not only that, but the chunks tend to get stuck in the ‘teeth’ of the pop-up, so you end up sticking knives and forks into the slits to dislodge them.

Which, of course, is just asking for a quick, painful and dramatic electrocution by toaster!! (Hm… I wonder how many of those there have been?)

And if you’ve ever tried to feed the crumbly slices of a croissant into a pop-up toaster, you’ll know that you are likely to have more burnt buttery crumbs and squashed flat pastry than the delicious, airy melt-in-your-mouth croissant you fantasised about in the shops.

Our Sunbeam, the toaster we have now purchased, is not the cheapest one on the shelf (which happens to be the one we bought last time), but it is the second-cheapest! πŸ™‚ We figure it’ll die on us within 2 years anyway, so what’s the point in splurging on a luxury high-tech model that comes with bacon fryer and egg-poacher? Actually, you may think I’m kidding, but there was a toaster with attached egg-poacher! Look – this is it: Review of Tefal Toast’n Egg. Isn’t that just extraordinary?!

No, the sole reason we bought our new ‘Sunbeam’, is that it happens to be the only one we saw in the whole of Canal Walk that has a little flip-up thing at the top, on which you can – supposedly – toast rolls and buns and croissants. This is what it looks like:

Can you see the little metal bracket that slides up?

We tried it out immediately when we got home, and it worked.

Kinda.

Not all that effectively.

But it does at least blast the rolls with heat from beneath, so they are more or less warm. Well, warm enough to allow the butter to melt into them. Which is just one of those essential features of having fresh, fragrant Saturday morning rolls with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, don’t you think?

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