There can be only one
Soon into my courtship with my future husband, I realized that I would be facing the challenges of a mixed marriage. Not because I am Jewish and he was raised Methodist. Not because I am a Yankee girl from Chicago and he is a Southern gentleman from Kentucky. Not because I am a tea drinker and he is coffee. Not even because he was a teenager in the '70s and I was a teenager in the '80s.
My parents still have the toaster oven I grew up with, the top mottled with black on the chrome surface from more than one plastic bag of bread being rested on top while in use, melting plastic firmly to the scorching surface of the appliance. No one in my family ever owned, to my knowledge, a slot toaster. They were a strange appliance only ever seen on TV where someone was asking someone else to Leggo their Eggo, or on cartoons when they cheerily shot toast like steaming missiles into the air for comic effect.
“Where is your toaster?” He queried one morning, sleepily, holding two pieces of bread and looking around my little kitchen.
“Right there.” I said, gesturing with my head to the counter, where my toaster oven sat.
“Where?” He said his gaze gliding right over the toaster oven as if it was invisible.
“Here.” I said placing my hand on the appliance.
His face fell. “That’s not a toaster. That’s a weird little counter oven.”
And so it began. Our mutual interest in converting the other to the proper toast making appliance. His arguments in favor of the slot toaster were strong. It is designed specifically for toast and only toast, and executes it well. His large two-slotter could easily accommodate bagels and other thicker breadstuffs. They got perfectly evenly toasty on both sides at your desired level of browning. It was fast and efficient and took up less valuable counter space.
My challenges, that mine not only did the same for toast, but also allowed for cheese toasties, a favorite breakfast of mine, effectively a lazy morning grilled cheese with a slice of cheese melted directly onto your toast as it cooks. Cinnamon toast, I argued, is no good if you just sprinkle cinnamon sugar on toasted buttered bread, you have to butter and sprinkle the bread before toasting, so the cinnamon sugar melts into a crackly crispy topping.
My new love looked at me as if I had sprouted a second head. Apparently he is immune to the pleasures of both cheese toastie and cinnamon toast and really just likes his bread efficiently toasted.
“Besides,” he said. “You have an oven right there. Next to your silly little counter oven. If you want a toasted cheesie or cinnamon toast thing, you could just do that in your oven.”
“Cheese toastie.” I pouted. And then I played my trump card. “But your slot toaster only does two pieces of toast at a time, and my toaster oven can do four, so we can make our toast together and eat our breakfast hot at the same time.” Because, love.
It was hard for him to argue with that, since the counter space issue, which was his most effective counterpoint, would be negated by the scale of a four-slot toaster.
When we moved in together, we kept my toaster oven on the counter, but stored his slot toaster atop the fridge. He had gotten used to making his toast horizontally, but wasn’t ready to fully give up on his vertical pal. But when we were purging the kitchen to do a renovation, and I took the now-dusty appliance down and looked at him, he smiled wryly. “It can go in the donate pile.”
We are now, as it should be, exclusively a toaster oven family.