Monday, March 07, 2016

Toasters!

     Toasters and I have had a long, unhappy relationship ever since I decided to put my simple, solid Sunbeam out to pasture nearly thirty years ago.

     What replaced it was "the toaster with a brain."  It must have had one; the level of malevolence it exhibited would have been impossible otherwise.  Several others followed, all unsatisfactory to some degree.

     But the current one--!  Like most modern appliances, it was probably made in China or Mexico, but the way it treats bagels has me wondering about a certain European country and a time machine.  It's been cooking along, doing an adequate job with English Muffins and even pumpernickel.  Yesterday, Tam picked up a package of "Everything" bagels, a treat I cannot resist.  Popped one in the toaster this morning while I vulcanized an egg* and about flipover time, it occurred to me that I should have heard clicksproing!  I had not and a quick look showed the bagel halves were commencing to begin to burn.  Caught it in time and a little knife work over the wastebasket took care of the damage -- but this was the exact same setting I'd used through two packages of the aforementioned (just plain old muffins in the UK) muffins plus a whole loaf of dark bread and the start of another.  Suddenly, it wasn't just wrong, it was way wrong.

     I thought I had reconciled with the Toaster Lares and/or Penates.†  Now I'm starting to wonder if I even should.
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* I like the yolk broken and fried hard, a kind of "unscrambled" egg.  And I wonder why they seat me below the salt?

† Penates seem to be the likeliest to be in charge of toasters per se, with the Lares making sure I check on the infernal machine in time.

12 comments:

Blackwing1 said...

I first ran into Lares and Penates at a single-digit age in the short novelette "Lone Star Planet" by H. Beam Piper; had to go to the encyclopedia to look it up. It's from the scene in which the judge is handing the machete back to the guy who had been tried (and acquitted) for undue/excessive violence in killing a politician; he was instructed to "...hang it in the house with your Lares and Penates; and pass it down as an inheritance..." since the politician in question had introduced a bill imposing an income tax and method for withholding thereof.

With regard to the counter-top appliance in question; well, you can always go back to the small wire frame that fits around a burner on the stove.

Our toaster (the good, solid one) had a cord that frayed and almost shorted out right next to the strain relief. We tried one of those "smart" toasters and it went toes-up in about a month. I bought some appliance cord wire (with the old-fashioned looking exterior of braided whatever) and took the cord off the old toaster, put on a new plug, and we've been using it ever since.

Roberta X said...

H. Beam Piper, slyly educating the young since right about Day One of his professional career! That may have been the first place I met the term, too -- there or in High School Latin.

I miss Piper a lot more than I miss Latin.

Roberta X said...

My old toaster is actually in retirement at the North Campus of the Skunk Workings. Perhaps I should check it for mice and, if okay, take it home. (Alas, it has almost certainly been visited by mice.)

Brigid said...

When my beloved Russell Hobbs toaster got damaged in moving, I found a replacement, never expecting to pay $100 on a toaster, but it's pretty much bulletproof. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/oxo-2-slice-toaster/?pkey=ctoasters-ovens%7Ctoasters%7C&&ctoasters-ovens|toasters|

Comrade Misfit said...

Am I the only person who wondered if this post was going to be about Cylons?

Comrade Misfit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.W. Drang said...

We gave up on "modern" toasters and went with a toaster oven. Toast may not come out perfect, but it does come out toasted, and it gives us a little more versatility for when two things need to be bakes r roasted in an oven too.

And I think you an count me in among those who miss H. Beam Piper and who probably learned the phrase from him.

And I read the title and thought "Wonder if she got a new toaster? I doubt it's Cylons." (Which makes checking the "I'm not a robot" block amusing.)

Phssthpok said...

Whatever you do... *DON'T* put any waffles in there...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KyRCQp32p8

Richard Tengdin said...

we fought the battle at home, and finally went with a Cuisnart toaster oven because it actuall has a dark-medium-light dial for the toaster function. It doesn't hurt we can toast 3 split english muffins at the same time for 3 hamburgers....

Overkill for a party of two but still, we wanted the dial instead of the clicking timer to be set for every batch....

Anonymous said...



If the 'ye olde' toaster is too encrusted with rodent feces, check eBay and be prepared to cry...

But you'll have the toaster!

Douglas2 said...

With regard to mice, I was just a little uncertain about the toaster after returning to our cabin one summer. It got immersed in soapy water and thoroughly scrubbed in and out with a bottle-brush, and then thoroughly rinsed under 140°F running water. I did leave it to dry a few days before plugging it in.

I figured I would be unlikely to ever use it again unless it had been thoroughly cleaned, so if it hadn't worked afterwards it would have been no loss.

markm said...

I had to replace my old toaster last year, and I found a new one just like it - that is, no electronics, just the old electromechanical timer knob. It was $11, I think at Meijers.