Q: I too value the ideal toast. I have been experimenting lately with all sorts of modifications to my toasting technique, which, I might add, is quite good. Switching plug orientation, adjusting the room temperature, and synchronization with lunar cycles have all proved indespensible techniques. However, now that I am approaching the height of toast enlightenment, I am most perplexed by one question: What is the proper way to insert toast?
– Toasted in New Haven (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A: Firstly, let me say that you are on the right track in your quest for perfection of toasting technique. For those readers unfamiliar with the intricacies of gourmet toasting:
Plug orientation is critical. If the plug is inserted into the outlet upside down, the incoming electrons will notice this immediately. As we know from our previous discussion of the “Electron Anxiety Effect”, they are extremely nervous and fickle little creatures, and such a drastic upheaval of their familiar “conduit to toast” may ultimately result in their refusal to enter the appliance at all.
Room temperature is of utmost imporance. If all other conditions are satisfactory, the average adult electron will willingly enter a toaster at just about any physical room temperature. However, for optimum toast, our goal should be to bring the room temperature exactly to the point at which the electron will say to himself, “Hmm, it’s such a nice day, I think I’ll bring the wife and kids with me today.”
Obviously, more electrons mean toastier toast! Experiment to find the temperature at which your electrons are most comfortable.
Synchronization with lunar cycles will have a profound effect on the quality of your toast, with a full moon being the optimum time for toasting. When the moon is full, the earth is positioned between the moon and sun. When a toaster, with its unique geometric and electromechanical properties, is subjected to the directly opposing gravitational fields of these celestial objects, a resonant microgravitational field results. The electrons in the toaster are temporarily caught up in the swirling gravitational vortex, lingering in the appliance longer than they had originally intended. While this technique often results in electrons being late for appointments later in the day, the end result is toast of a uniform texture and consistency.
But for truly sublime toast, one must also master insertion technique. Because bread slices are inserted before power is applied to the appliance, we need not worry about the idiosyncracies of electrons, as far as our insertion technique is concerned. However, we do need to be concerned with the electromagnetic synchronization that occurs between adjacent slices of bread in a loaf.
Electromagnetic synchronization in sliced bread, also known as carbohydrate polarization, is a process that takes place gradually in the hours between the slicing of the bread at the bakery and its eventual insertion into your toaster. Each slice has an adjacent “counterpart” with whom it gradually achieves an electromagnetic equilibrium over its entire surface. Due to their immediate proximity, and a certain amount of inevitable emotional attachment, the two slices eventually grow to share an electromagnetic charge.
(The heels of the bread, due to their low social status and general unpleasantness, have a neutral charge. Thus the electromagnetic pairing of slices begins at the first non-heel slice.)
So how does all of this relate to toast insertion technique? Well, if the electromagnetic synchronization of two slices of bread is broken before toasting occurs, the culinary repercussions are severe. The taste, texture, and spiritual value of the affected slices will all diminish by an average of 62%. Indeed, non-simultaneous insertion of electromagnetically paired bread slices can result in an asynchronous breakfast.
So the goal, evidently, is to insert the two slices at precisely the same moment.
– Dr. Toast