Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Marriage Is Like A Toaster

5-Grain Sandwich Bread
(or... How we kept 4 toasters out of the local landfill)

Last year for our anniversary, our toaster died. For the fourth time. Or, should I say... for the last time.

I'd better start from the beginning. One year and one month after receiving our lovely big toaster as a wedding gift, it stopped toasting. It, of course, had a one-year warranty. Our newly-married budget would not allow for it's replacement in kind, so we would have to buy a cheap new one... or have it repaired.

Words That Start With "R"
What are the green 3-Rs again... Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle? What ever happened to Repair? Is it lumped under the Reuse heading? It needs to be its own "R". Twelve years ago, it looked like the honeymoon was over for our wedding-toaster when I realized that small appliance repair was apparently a lost or dying art. Too many years of people thinking that the fourth "R" stands for Replace. I found one repair shop though, and they told me on the phone that if they couldn't fix it there would be no charge. If they could fix it, $24.

Such A Deal
Well, the way I saw it, even a cheap toaster would cost us something in that neighborhood, so fixing it would be like buying that same $60 toaster at 60% off. We decided to go the repair-route. That repair lasted us 6 years before the toaster bit the dust again. Back to the shop, and another $24 fix job. So we've put a total of $48 into it (or by my calculations, bought a $60 toaster for 20% off).

Fast forward four years. Once again, kaput. The shop had moved, but was thankfully still in business. This time it was the circuit board. Our tally is now up to $72 for a $60 toaster. I looked over at Hubby on the way home, "You realize this was the last time?" He nodded in reply.

Requiem For A Toaster
When the oft-resuscitated toaster kicked the bucket last September, Hubs brought up the R-word: repair. I used a different R-word and reminded him of our toaster's history, the timeline, the math. He nodded again... remembering.

It Was Finally Time For A Replacement
Time now to research brands and models, features and reviews. Tedious stuff. But we take our toast seriously. And after living with that toaster for 12 years, we both had definite ideas about what we each wanted in a new one:
  1. I bake a lot of rustic round loaves of bread, and I prefer toasting whole slices. 
  2. Hubs has strong feelings about different manufacturers and their quality. 
  3. We both wanted something simple and basic. One that does what it does, and does it well.
The field of contenders was actually pretty small after we combined our needs and requirements.* Which toaster we ended up with, isn't important to this story. Toast is so subjective anyway. A real hot topic. I'll just say though that we found exactly what we wanted, it cost more than I'd hoped to spend, but then it's also been 12 years since we've shopped for a toaster. I really can't complain!

Happy Toaster-versary!
So here's to our toaster... It's one year later and we're still really happy with our second ever toaster. In honor of the occasion, I baked up an awesome bread recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks:

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread from page 130 of Good To The Grain by Kim Boyce
Find the recipe adapted over at the Diary Of A Locavore blog ...or better yet, just go get the book from your local library or bookstore. It's a great introduction to baking with different grains and flours. I've baked up at least a half-dozen of the recipes so far and have loved every one.

My Notes: Just for the heck of it, I substituted Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Rolled Hot Cereal for the oats. And since I didn't have any bread flour in the cupboard, I simply used 2 cups of all-purpose flour and added two tablespoons of gluten. The bread tasted—and toasted—great!

* This is all about compromising and it begins with respecting each other. It's a very grown-up thing to do and it helps build a happy marriage. Consider it my Marital Tip Of The Day. Cheers!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Take a moment to say "Howdy!"... I'd love to hear from you!