I don’t know why I am so averse to buying toasters. But the fact is that for a number of years I’ve been eking out other people’s cast-offs, rather than invest in a new one. As my mother progressed to a four-slice machine, we stuck with her old two-slicer. Sprinting up and down the kitchen to reload the thing every few minutes whenever the three of us were having a toast-themed breakfast, I must have burned off enough calories to cancel out my consumption of at least the crusts.
It was not my fault that the toaster lives so far from the kettle – blame the electrician who sited the sockets in my cottage so eccentrically. But it dawned on me eventually that promotion to a four-slice toaster would save me an awful lot of time and trouble.
I therefore declared the demise of my old white two-slice toaster and decided to splash out (not literally – although that certainly have hastened its end).
I thought choosing its successor would be a simple task. Surely there can only be so many variations on a theme, even in the ever-growing Argos catalogue? But no. There was page after page of the toaster and its cousins, with mind-boggling, unheard-of (by me) features now apparently all the rage. A toaster that changes colour at the same speed as the bread? A little annexe in which one can simultaneously boil an egg? Bun-warming attachment, anyone? This decision was going to take longer than I thought.
Eventually I settled for a shiny new aluminium one which offered all sorts of extras that I didn’t know until now that I’d needed. The bagel feature, for example, handily toasts just one side of the slice – ideal for muffins and teacakes. The optional “reheat” button is brilliant on a school day, when my complicated early morning choreography means I’m never in the kitchen when the toast pops up. The subsequent quick blast is just enough to ensure effective butter-melting – the hallmark of a perfect slice of toast.
Before my purchase, toast in my household had become a snack of last resort, I so hated using my naff old two-slicer. But now my microwave hardly ever gets a look-in. When the cupboard is bare, its my multi-tasking toaster that comes to the rescue. Hungry, are they? Then let them eat toast!
Post-script: I still retain a strong allegiance to another small electric kitchen device eloquently referred to recently by a Malapropian relative as “The George Formby Grill”. Now there’s a gadget to conjure with – hot food and ukelele tunes at a single stroke. What’s not to like?