That’s because I had the good fortune to grow up with a mother who always made her own bread. This was long before so-called “artisanal bread” (a silly term that’s always irked me) became common in supermarkets, and my mom refused to buy what she disdainfully referred to as “that white sponge,” aka Wonderbread.
The smell of toast transports me instantly to a cozy breakfast table. It ranks alongside lilacs and the ocean as the smells I love most. When my brother and I were little, we’d save our Easter chocolate and use a knife to shave bits of it onto buttered pieces of my mom’s hearty white bread. Nutella is just a pale imitation.
Peanut butter on toast, toast with beans, toast dipped into soup, croutons (really just cubes of extra-crisp toast) toast topped with sliced tomato and melted cheese … I love them all. I adore crumpets too, but they’re not toast and that’s a discussion for another time.
When the low-carb mania took hold about a decade ago, toast — and bread generally — became an enemy practically on par with smoking (remember crustless, low-carb pizza? The insanity). I ignored it. There was no way I was giving up toast. Not a chance.
Marty loves toast about as much as I do. But making toast on a boat is problematic. A toaster takes up precious counter space and would have to be stowed when we’re underway. Toast can be made in the oven, but that’s a lot of trouble to go to and propane to use for just a few pieces of bread.
I’ve made toast in a frying pan, but it takes a long time and involves much flipping over and repositioning the bread and pressing it down with a fork to get it evenly toasted.
We tried a Coleman collapsible camping stove, which only cost around $6 — and we quickly found out why. The metal scorched and warped on the first use. The toast was burnt in some places and uncooked in others. Into the garbage it went.
We found another collapsible stovetop toaster that has a mesh net where the toast sits to evenly distribute heat. But it only toasts one piece at a time.
There was no easy way to make toast onboard, we concluded — until Marty read about a stainless steel stovetop toaster made by New Zealand company Dixon Marine Products. The company’s website describes the Golden Brown Toaster as “an amazingly successful product for which the demand is insatiable. ”
While that might be a bit of a stretch, we figured it was worth a try. We ordered one from GoWesty.com, which also gave it high praise, promising toast in less than a minute and declaring it superior to the Coleman version.
The toaster arrived yesterday, which of course meant a toast-and-cheese dinner to try it out. I can’t say if the bread actually toasted in less than a minute, since I wasn’t timing it, but it was definitely fast and much quicker than our toaster oven at home.
The result was delicious, fairly evenly toasted bread.
I only have two quibbles with it. One, the toasting area is too small for some types of bread, especially artisan-style loaves, which tend to be bigger. We cut our slices in half to fit. Similarly, the ledge the bread sits on could be a little deeper. If you were toasting a bagel, it would probably have to sit on the rim of the ledge rather than fitting inside it.
And at $34.95 it’s a little spendy, considering you could get a decent regular toaster for around the same price.
But when we’re moored in some beautiful anchorage enjoying coffee and toast in the cockpit, or holed up down below as the rain pelts down, I’m sure it’ll be well worth the money.