“To set but a low value upon toast is to expose one’s deficiencies in right appreciation.”
—E.V. Lucas, ‘When Toasters Disagree’ (1906)
For as long as I can remember, I have loved toast—the delicious simplicity of a single slice of bread warmed to golden-brown perfection and topped with creamy butter, jam, cinnamon-sugar, or a thick slab of cheese. The mere smell of toast takes me back to my childhood and a distinct sense of comfort. Even when home sick from school, toast was the one food that my body could tolerate. It’s no accident that toast has worked itself into the titles of several serious memoirs, such as food writer Nigel Slater’s Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger (broadcast as a BBC drama last December) and the touching Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt. Even celebrity Teri Hatcher seizes on the humble metaphor of toast for her book Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life.
My love of all things toast is no secret to those who know me well, so over the years I’ve been gifted with a fair amount of toast-related items ranging from miniature dollhouse-sized toast, to a fine-art monograph of photographed toast bound in shiny gold paper, to a campfire toaster contraption essential for all outdoor toast enthusiasts. When I was living in New York, and before we were dating, my now-husband sent me a vintage toaster with a side of ceramic toast that he had made as an art major in college. Some things are simply meant to be. The adorable wood toaster complete with wood toast was a gift from him after we’d married.
Seeing the Softies sad toast at a Chronicle editor’s desk proved to me that I’m not the only one with a soft spot (pun intended) for toast. Toast is everywhere. Far from being relegated solely to the world of food, toast is king in the craft world (and seems to like moustaches and all things French as much as we do)…
and in the art world (yes, these are works of art made entirely out of slices of toast):
It’s in pop culture (from the holy to the ooh la la to the latest in sleeping comfort).
It’s even in music (I already love OK Go and this gorgeous collaboration with illustrator Geoff Mcfetridge of Champion Studio gives me even more reason to love the band):
For me, toast is a reminder that there is beauty and inspiration (and even tastiness) in the simplest of things, whether it comes buttered, served sweet or spicy, or enjoyed straight up. So let’s hear it… a toast for toast!
Jennifer Tolo Pierce