New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Toast or How I sometimes make briquets using the "Lot of Smoke" method.

"A statesman is a dead politician. We need more statesmen." -Oscar Wilde

I have three toasters but I seldom use them as I like what is generally called Texas toast which is buttered bread grilled.  I don't know why it is called Texas toast because I'm pretty sure it was not invented there or that it is not served there anymore than anywhere else. I'd rather have a stack of that than pancakes any day.

I generally make mine on a tortilla griddle. This is an essential pan in my galley and resides on the stove at all times. It is so perfectly  seasoned that I can cook an egg on it without adding oil. Well, most of the time anyway.

The first toaster is a camp stove type and it works but only marginally. The bread is more dried out than toasted. There are others that work better but this one folds flat. A fork and a blow torch works better.
The second makes toast but not very well. It is a great little electric oven. It is amazing what you can cook in one but the toast from this one is not that amazing.
Once and a while I want toast like what pops up in the toaster in most American kitchens.
Toast is a wonderful and magical thing making stale bread not only edible but good. Hot crunchy toast with butter melted into it and covered with peach jam is about as good as a desert can be. When covered with strawberries and whipped cream it is a rival for shortcake.
The third is an early electric Knapp Monarch manual side opener and it makes toast. I believe it is from the thirties or forties. A.S. Knapp of St. Louis and the Monarch Co. of Webster Ohio merged in 1929 and produced a line of streamlined toasters. I think this is an early one as there is no switch. Plug it in and it's on with 400 watts of rompin' stompin' power. Simplicity in an art deco package.

As you can see it toasts one side of the bread at a time so when making toast you are actually cooking not just dropping bread into the jaws of a toast robot.  This model was advertised as a 'Turnover Toaster' automatically turning over the bread when the door was opened and it will some of the time. The door is designed to accept a slice of Wonder* white bread and when toasted on one side then flipped open the bread slides down on it's toasted side so when closed the untoasted side is next to the coils. It only works with standard white bread and then only sometimes. I imagine it worked better when the chrome was new and slick. It is corroded now so there is some added friction.
This was given to me about twenty years ago and it is still cranking out toast with the occasional charcoal briquet and smoke when I am a little absent minded.
Made in the U.S.A. back when Americans made stuff. They not only made stuff they invented stuff that was pleasing to look at. Now not so much.
There are several of these on Ebay.

*When I was a kid Wonder Bread built bodies 8 ways. I guess now it builds bodies 12 ways although they don't mention it on their white wheat. I sometimes "wonder" if I would have been taller if they had the other 4 ways when I was growing up. I still eat it from time to time only I buy the whole wheat white because it is better for you.  It is whole wheat or so I'm told using an albino wheat that doesn't make the bread taste like dirt.  Taste as good as any French bread but the packaging says made WITH whole wheat. Since the whole wheat is the third ingredient on the list after wheat flour and water it may be as little as a teaspoon.
When I want dirt I eat mushrooms.


limom said...

That is one cool toaster!
Or maybe it's hot!
Or something.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I like your toaster and I, too, think we need more statesmen.

Emmy said...

Cool toaster :)

Mmmm....but, now I'm hungry for a piece of toast!

Big Oak said...

Your camp toaster is what my grandmother used to make her toast (and us kids' toast when we stayed overnight). She'd stick it loaded with bread on the gas stove, turn on the gas, light a match, and after a little while, flip the bread over. When I camp I like to hold a piece of bread over the campfire to get a bit of that memory back.

Thanks for posting that photo.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ahhh... a salute to toast.. we could not do without it.. and you sincerely do it justice...

Chandra said...

Texas Toast may be a misnomer.
I made Texas toast, the way you describe it, before I knew where Texas was!

Peace :)