In life, there is often a struggle to find a balance in things, whether it be work and leisure or just how much vegemite to put on a piece of toast. For me, it’s the lightest of scrapings which no one else can ever seem to manage. I wouldn’t say I’ve even perfected it myself. Occasionally I feel the inherently Australian urge to ingest some delicious yeast extract, and in my excitement I can be a little heavy-handed with the knife. There’s no going back from there. Once it is ingrained into the porous platform that is bread, you just have to grin and bear it.
When I do get it right, I feel a sense of accomplishment, and I know that it is “just right”.
There are a number of things in life that seem to be a struggle to get “just right”. My first proper example is that of the humble toaster. Master invention. Turns any old piece of stale bread into a warm, edible platform upon which one can layer anything from banana and honey to mashed pumpkin with a sprinkle of seasoning. Hashtag toast. Hashtag bread. Hashtag toasted bread… #whenwillhashtagsdieout #pleasemakeitsoon
Back to the toaster. Something about it is lacking! It’s the ability to get it right EVERY TIME. It’s not too much to ask, is it? A light, golden crisp? It seems that even when using the same setting, the toaster likes to “spice things up” a bit. I once made the mistake of setting it at the half-way mark. Setting 5, or something like that. Out from the ashes rose a piece of smouldering charcoal, still smoking. Umm.. I’m sorry, did I have it set on BURN??!!
Now, I know some people will ark up and start harping on about how much they love burnt toast. “Good for your teeth”, “Delicious”, I hear them say. Firstly: Wrong. Just wrong. Secondly: That’s all well and good, but at least let it be the last setting! Heaven forbid one should set it to the last setting by some casual slip of the finger. I’m picturing nothing. Nothing is what I can imagine popping up at the end because I imagine all that would exist would be the charred crumbs of a bread that once was.
So, I set the toaster low to setting two, just to be on the safe side. Out it pops. I don’t know at which stage bread actually transforms into toast, but I can tell you now that this ain’t no toast. I might as well have layed the bread out onto my palms and cast it in the vague direction of the sun. Not even a light toasting. So, in it goes again. I WILL remember to stop it half-way through. I WILL remem- Oh look, a catalogue!… Minutes pass… What’s that smell? Charcoal. Again!
Anyone who’s anyone has done the toast scrape. When it’s a bit charcoaled but not beyond edibility, so you get a knife and proceed to
scrape off hack the toast until burnt bits fall into the sink (making sure to forget to wash them down so that they stick to any piece of cutlery or crockery in sight). The gluten-free toast eaters know all too well this scenario. Well, they darn-well should if they own a $9 toaster from Kmart. Not a chance of discarding two slices of that stuff! There’s a couple of bucks right there.
So, one miraculous day you manage to work out the perfect toaster setting. Three and three-quarters. You feel like a… dare I say it, Toast Master *ba doom ching!* ‘Scuse the pun. All is going well, and then… That familiar burning smell again! You frantically push the manual eject button, hoping to salvage it, but alas, it’s too late. What went wrong? (You ponder in your first-world-problem-filled-mind). I shall tell you what went wrong. Living with other humans, that’s what went wrong! Unbeknownst to you, before your delicate breakfast dance with the toaster, some slobbish toast-hogger has had the nerve to come along and toast their bread to golden perfection. Blissfully unaware, you have popped your bread in on the perfect setting without factoring in the ‘Toaster Cool Down Period’, which as we all know can be bypassed by simply shifting the setting down two notches.
I’m not finished there, people. Next in my line of sight is THE GRILLER. That handy little mini oven that I never think to use. I’m not sure why. Oh that’s right, because it is USELESS! I didn’t even know the name of it until recently. I spent my entire childhood calling it “the gorilla”. Just like when I used to cheerfully chime “cheese!” while clinking my glass against someone else’s during a toast. Gah! Don’t mention toast.
Every so often I get a brainwave. I don’t need a whole oven, and the barbecue is waaaay too much effort.. Oh yes! The griller! Some sausages, you say? Coming right up!
After turning them using a fork and great difficulty far too many times (Where are those bloody tongs?!), I finally concede that the medium setting is better off being employed to make semi-dried tomatoes. At this rate we’ll be here til Christmas. And I’m not talking about you reading my blog. Don’t get cheeky. I crank the griller up full ball. I turn to get something. I turn back, squatting down at the grill with my face in blistering heat, trying to gauge whether they’re cooked or it’s just the reflection from the grill.
Wait a second, is it “griller” or “grill”? Now I’m confused and slightly embarrassed. At some level I’m aware that it’s late and my brain isn’t functioning well, but I just can’t manage to filter out important details from the non-important. I feel like there’s a good chance I could inadvertently write something incredibly offensive or racist and click “publish” and wake up to a hate following bigger than the 2014 Bachelor’s. If only people knew/cared who I am. I think I’m pretty safe *tries to use reverse psychology to get famous*
Aaanyway, I digress. What’s new. Where was I? Oh yes, squatting in front of the gorilla. So. The grill/griller seems to finally be working. I pull out the tray and look down in horror at the blackened sausages. Five fat sausages, sizzling in a pan. One went pop and the other went bang! There’s a reason they weren’t under the griller. It’s because they all would have gone BLACK while their insides stayed PINK.