this is bread, not toast, and leaves of unidentified origin

An Argument for Raw Toast

Bread is a terrible wedding gift, but pop it in an oven and give an amazing toast. 

The debate point of bread being ‘raw toast’ is long since past. The HuffPo did a stunningly in-depth piece on bread being ‘raw toast.’ This alone should indicate that the horse has been beaten, its pockets emptied out, and abandoned by the side of the road.

The question is now how raw can toast be?

I’m absolutely terrible at guessing how long something should be in the toaster oven. I burn everything I put in there. I’ve even set a toaster oven on fire, and singed the cabinet it was attached to. I’m fairly creative when it comes to cooking methods, as I only have a small fridge, hot plate, and toaster oven. I can reheat leftover Chinese takeout in a skillet like a pro. When asked to broil a cheese-laden piece of bread for a jerry-rigged grilled cheese, I freeze up. I hold a B.S.; it really shouldn’t be this difficult.

What compounds my frustration with my toaster oven inabilities is that I hate burned toast. Charred meats, overly crispy vegetables, and crunchy cookies are terrible, but burnt toast makes me want to scream. It’s an absolutely irrational, bitter piece of hatred that will always be a part of me. I prefer my toast barely crisped, just very slightly crunchy. The only indicator that the bread is toasted should be a light golden color and slight resistance when biting down.

Considering my preferences, it’s then that the line between “bread” and “toast” becomes blurred. When does bread become toast? Upon insertion into a toaster (or toaster oven)? After the application of heat? When bread is put into a toaster, and toast comes out – you can’t explain that!

Toast is bread browned by radiant heat, according to quite literally everyone ever. The browning is a result of a Maillard reaction – the reaction alters the flavor of the bread, and makes it firmer. There are many articles about the toasting process – including a novella by The Atlantic – and about the question of how bread becomes toast. My question, however, is regarding the absolute minimum reaction needed to still be qualified as toast.

A Maillard reaction is a form of non-enzymatic browning which typically proceeds rapidly from around 140 to 165 °C (280 to 330 °F). Enzymatic browning requires enzymes and exposure to oxygen. This results in things like browned bananas, or dried fruit like figs and raisins. The Maillard reaction is amino acids reacting with sugars at elevated temperatures. Taking the above range of temperatures as truth – though it is more of a guideline – the logic is that 140°C (280°F) is the lowest temperature at which “toast” is created. (Suck on that, thermodynamic physicists!) 

Toasters and toaster ovens often have dials with a 1 – 6 range, or a wheel with “toast,” “broil,” “warm,” marked on it. This is irritatingly non-specific, if one requires precise temperature control for their toast. If there is a knob with temperature on the toaster oven, it may not go all the way to the low 140°C (280°F) setting, forcing one to rely on the judgement of the “toast” setting. Horrifying.

To clarify, I do understand why the dials are they way they are – the dial is simply determining the current sent through the heating coils to produce a certain amount of heat, which definitively does not correspond to a temp. Putting a temperature feedback loop in the main cavity costs money, and I like my cheap goods!

I demand temperature accountability for my toast. We, the non-burned-toast-lovers, need fine temperature control. I don’t want a hint of grill marks, scorch, or char. The toast should be so raw that it could be described in song as amber waves of grain! Raw toast forever!

Be well in peace, always yrs

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how can I make this into $SHOP?! A soapbox thought

Soapboxing is Dumb, Let’s Reconsider

soap·box: ˈsōpˌbäks/ noun a box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker.

The action of getting up on one’s soapbox (to soapbox [v.]) is someone with a strong idea, needing to share it in the moment, finds something to stand on. Often the impromptu platform for soapboxing was that of its name sake – a crate used for shipping soap. Soapboxes were a key component of street oratory; sidewalk speakers who were holding meetings or making speeches needed to put themselves above the crowd to be seen and heard. This also created controversy: it pitted public order against the freedom of anyone to speak out loud. It also set up “rival” soapboxers – someone who would be there to offer opposing opinions. Skilled speakers had to be quick on their feet, loud, and armed with wit.

Social media affords us the opportunity to hop up on our soapbox without abandon; clamoring and unfiltered. For better or worse, we’ve enabled opinions to be shared with everyone around the globe. World leaders celebrities and Joe-off-the-street can hop online and broadcast their feelings with three taps of a finger and 140 (or 280) characters. It’s simultaneously an wonderful resource, and a horrifying insight into others’ lives. I can know exactly what skincare routine my favorite B-list sci-fi celebrity utilizes, and also know how my coworker feels about their customers.

I think that this could be made so much better. I propose the idea of soapboxing be taken literally. Boxing is just two people, generally wearing protective gloves, throwing punches for a predetermined time in a boxing ring. Soapboxing would be boxing, but involving the usage or application of soap and also public speaking. If someone has an opinion and would like to speak on it, they need to arm themselves with bars of soap, and start throwing punches while talking. Fists clenched tightly around the Irish Spring bar, and shouting their outlook on corn futures in relation to $SHOP shorting. If there is someone with an opposing idea, they also ought to take up soap and begin swinging.

I’m aware this idea needs some polishing, and I’m open to suggestions. Perhaps there’s the caveat that your feet must remain on a literal soapbox while punching? Maybe the actual soap boxes themselves should be used as the weapons. Or even the boxing ring could be soap-coated, and the contest is to stay upright while also communicating your ideas. Though that may be heading towards mud wrestling. We’ll muddle through the fine details on that later.

There is progress to be made in getting up on a soapbox, and we’re the ones who have to figure it out. Social media has been a step up, but we can’t take a soapbox at face value. We need to have soap and faith – cry havoc and let slip the soapbox of war.

With greatest esteem and respect I am, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble servant

someone had some serious focus on this pile of clothes

I Moved a Pile of Laundry From the Chair to the Bed & Back for a Week – You’ll Never Guess What Happens Next!

Right hand to God, I think 60%* of my Facebook feed is terrible clickbait.

I get it, I really do. Somehow you have to break the flow of constant images and information competing for attention and make someone click on your article. A really easy way to do that is to have a cliffhanger-like title. It’s so common that there are literally websitessubredditsFacebook pages, and twitter accounts designed to go through the article so you don’t have to.

My favorite articles are ones that pair the “what happens next!title with an unrelated image.  Though, let’s be honest – it’s rarely an article. It’s usually 26 semi-related slides that all require different pages to be loaded. Gotta maximize that ad revenue, son!

The articles’ contents are really just appealing to the lowest common denominator – unabashed and morbid curiosity. I say this with at least four clickbait-y gadget reviews in my reading list. There is no condemnation from me for clicking on one of these articles. Seriously; cliffhangers have a long and storied (sorry) past of hooking a crowd in to obtain interest and engage them. Clickbait titles are just very tiny cliffhangers. It’s what you lean over your desk to discuss with your coworker instead of dealing with Cheryl from accounting. The end of last night’s popular sitcom; the articles with titles proclaiming “x celebrity did this action and you can too!

I’m not saying anything new, but I would like to propose alternate clickbait. Title your photos with “My baby did this, and I can hardly believe it” and put their (normal) action in the caption. Like, we all know your baby has smiled – it’s gas, by the way, it’s always gas – but spice up the presentation. Maybe your baby’s month-by-month photos with the stickers could be something like “My baby is the size of a vegetable, and I can’t believe it!” It’s a pumpkin.

If our lives are going to be slowly consumed by clickbait, let’s embrace it, and make it our own.

Oh, if you were curious about the laundry situation, I’m still resolving it. The bottom drawer of my bureau has broken (the front panel has come off) and I’m whining and moaning about whether to repair it or purchase a new dresser. While normally I’d have just fixed it by now, the drawer is an amalgam of tiny nails, dovetail joinery, and a little bit of glue – I’m not even sure where to start. The whole bureau is a masterpiece of 80’s construction and style. Purchased for the grand total of “I found it on the side of the road,” it’s been a faithful companion, but I might just have to take it out back and put ‘er down.

Sent From My iPhone

*The other 40% of my Facebook feed consists of about 10% personal posts – life stuff, kids, event photos – and 30% cat and dog photos. I have no regrets.

someone took a close-up of grapes, idk man.

An Argument For Grapes – the Ballistically Smart Fruit

I’d like to pick a fruit fight.

A bowl of grapes sat on my desk at work, and the thought of flicking one across the room to bounce off a forehead was really tempting. My family and friends can attest to the fact that I have hucked a fair amount of fruit at them over the years. In fairness, some of the fruit-throwing was provoked. If someone says “do it, you won’t,” what is there to do?

In case there was concern, I did make it through the work day without any grapes flying through the air.

Reflecting on all the fruit-launching, I’ve come to the conclusion that the grape is the best choice for throwing.

Consider your personal favorite fruit. If you were to try and throw the fruit, what would that look like? Some fruits are just stupid choices, like cantaloupes. They’re weighty and all they do is bulk up fruit salad. A blueberry isn’t a bad idea, but it’s so light that doesn’t fly well, and someone’s gonna be pissed if they have to scrub a purple stain out of clothing. There are others choices probably better suited as biological weapons, like durian. Durian could arguably be an effective ground-based weapon, akin to a caltrop.

Enter the grape.

Grapes fly with a reasonable degree of accuracy, don’t leave marks if you hit your target (though they’re heavy enough to irritate), grapes taste good, they’re light, and easily obtained. As a bonus, if the grape is ripe, there’s no spatter on impact or airborne scatter.

Regardless of what kind of grape it is, I’ll peg it across the room, no questions asked.

If you’re wondering what kind of person thinks about these arguments, I make no apologies. I went to grape lengths to compile this. Don’t be sour.

Eat it, nerd.


The Rules of the English Language:

bal·lis·tic: (bəˈlistik/) adjective – relating to projectiles or their flight.
ad·verb: (ˈadˌvərb/) noun – a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc.