Toast is simple?
Toast is simple you say? You just put the required number of slices of bread under heat and that is it? Oh foolish child, this is one of the most divisive subjects ever debated on the internet. A simple question about how dark you like your toast will set off a heated debate covering the palid 'hot bread' faction right through to the 'charcoal' lovers and everything in between.
Toast is defined as 'sliced bread browned on both sides by exposure to radiant heat, such as a grill or fire'. It's the level of browning that causes debate. In this case I am talking about basic toast made to eat just with butter and a simple spread, not toast for sandwiches or some other toasty related recipes as they usually need slightly less 'done' toast.
This is complicated enough before the additional factors of how much butter should be spread, or if jam or marmalade are wanted or if Nutella should ever be allowed near toast (just no). I am keeping to discussing the toast itself in this piece.
Personally I like well done toast, I am quite happy if it is a bit burnt, so looking at the chart above, anything above the mid point of the second row is fine but perfection lies in the bottom row.
There are those who say the way you like your toast gives away personality traits, for example according to American food psychologist Dr. Christy Fergusson, toast holds the key to how motivated or how spontaneous you are. This is mainly based on how dark you like your toast, she draws a basic correlation between someone who likes dark toast being more patient and less spontaneous because you s imply have to wait longer for darker toast to cook. As my friends will tell you I have no patience, I could not be bothered to wait in the queue when it was being given out, so this is a pretty simplistic message, decent toast is something even an impatient person will wait for.
Toast as comfort
There are few things more comforting when you have had a bad day than tea and toast, my recent life is full of hospital visits and the nurses are always offering me tea and toast, it just makes you feel better. However, the act of making toast for another person is fraught with peril.
How can you love someone who thinks toast is a slice of warm bread? Imagine yourself in a fairly new relationship, you make tea and toast for them and they sneer at your lovingly prepared, perfect in your opinion, just slightly burnt offering. Is that the end?
Does it make you a bad person because you did not take the time to enquire about their toast based preferences? It is a minefield of possible upset, just over that one thing we see as simple.
It is comfort we are looking for, or trying to give, and if it is not right then the object of your affection might feel pressured into eating it and feel uncomfortable as a result. They say opposites attract, but pale toast eaters push the limits surely?
How to make perfect toast
As I am based in the UK, celebrity chef Delia Smith holds sway with cooking instructions, so I am going with Delia's perfect toast rules.
1. Pre-heat the grill for 10 minutes on high.
2. Place the bread on the grill tray 10cm from the source of the heat
3. Toast on both sides to your preferred shade, then remove immediately and put in a toast rack. This allows the steam to escape so the toast becomes crisp.
4. Eat it straight away before it can become soggy and do not wrap it.
5. The better the bread, the better the toast. It is also preferable if the bread is a couple of days old.
How do you like yours?
Are you a supposedly impulsive, spontaneous pale toast lover? Or like me shouting at the toaster to hurry up because although you are impatient you like 'decent' toast? Here's a slightly more detailed and nuanced toast colour chart below, where does your preference lie? I am a good 3 or 4.
Let me know in the comments below where you are on the chart, or have you eaten half cooked or burnt toast because you could not bear the hurt in your loved ones eyes if you critisised their toast making abilites?