In 1893, the electronic toaster was invented to make breakfast a fun experience. But too many people avoided buying it, as it took time to make anything from scratch when people had to dress commute, and work really hard. If only there was a way in which breakfast was so delicious that one couldn’t resist it. This kitchen appliance made people sceptical. As there was no concept of electricity being 24*7, so how could the toaster be used? Besides, there was always a risk of a fire hazard. 

Granted, at first, people did not think that it was a mind-blowing invention.

Then, newer models were introduced. In some versions, the user could adjust the settings on the toaster knob, and choose the toasting level, from the lowest being the lightest, and the highest being the darkest. Other models automatically turned off the heating element when the bread was toasted. The rest, they say, is history. The toaster is a household staple appliance in the modern era.

Now that we know how essential the kitchen appliance really is, we want to talk about the whole relationship between bread and toaster; and the whole psyche behind grabbing a couple of bread slices and popping them in the toaster.

True, the word ‘toast’ means bread, but the verb ‘toast’ technically implies browning bread by allowing exposure to heat. Why do people do it today? One, it makes for a delicious breakfast. Toast has been turned into a huge phenomenon ever since the toaster came into being in the 19th century. But there is a much bigger reason why the Romans initially began toasting without a toaster! 

The Romans invented ‘toasting’ as a way to preserve bread that was going stale. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

By scorching bread, food that could have been wasted was being turned into something delicious. The slices of bread were toasted on the bonfire. It was also delicious! Of course, that’s interesting information, especially knowing that we have a completely different perspective on what delicious is. We relate it to being this food that was created by a machine. 

We get that everyone loves to eat toast. But nowadays, toast is the foundation for a whole new brunching scheme. I mean, we all have seen people hogging out on those delicious creations in the realm of french toast alone. But we miss a very important point that cannot be grasped on the surface. 

These creations which centre around bread are actually pointing toward something happening today: we all want good quality bread, and we are willing to pay for quality experiences. Gone are the days when we had to get by eating butter and toast. It’s high time that the middle-class learns about the importance of giving respect to the food culture we live in. You don’t need a second awakening to see that the breakfast culture has completely changed. If you're still using the toaster every other day, perhaps you need to ditch it for a while and experience the array of new choices that we are surrounded by today. 

Perhaps you could decide for yourself if ditching the toaster is for you. Many restaurants and cafes are using newer ways to crunch up a slice of toast. Toast on the barbecue is a fancy option. Or, how about a skillet? In India, ghee toast is one of those snacks or breakfast meals that are made on a skillet, and one bite is enough to tell you that this version of toast beats the one that was created by using a toaster. While you may think our culture is quite traditional, think again. India is the home of interesting, creative genuises. 

Ghee Toast. Photo: Anu Radha

Yes, technological inventions are awesome, and we cannot do without them. But sometimes, we need to ask ourselves whether simply pressing a button really adds quality to life.