The Golden-Brown Age of Toast
A 6000-year history

Nothing MoreThan Fillings:
1. The true story of Pop Tarts
2. Toaster Pastry Facts

Mutant Spawns of Pop Tarts
Strange and failed toaster foods

Hot Slots
Recipes for your toaster

Plugged-in Toasters
Links to other toaster-related sites

Best Thing since Sliced Bread
Eggos; Lenders' Bagels; Thomas' English Muffins

    Illustration by Russ Burtner;
    reprinted by permission of the artist

 Mutant Spawns of Pop Tarts
Strange and failed toaster foods

Not every toaster food product has been a success. Here are some that weren’t:
Downyflake Toaster Eggs. It was just too strange an idea.

ReddiWip’s Reddi Bacon. Bacon grease tended to leak, creating a fire hazard.

Toaster Chicken Patties. Different grease, same fire hazard.

Electric French Fries. According to one critic, the toast-shaped slab of potatoes “looked like a picket fence, tasted like a picket fence.”

"Toaster Breaks" Pizza
What with all the failed toaster foods of the past, you'd think that corporate America would be toaster-shy. Especially considering how much easier it is just to make a microwave food. Lately, though, the "Hot Pockets" company has been heavily advertising a product called "Toaster Breaks," featuring various pizza combinations that can be taken out of the freezer and heated up in a toaster cycle or two.

It seems to be doing all right in the market, despite the unfortunate name that sounds like a prediction of doom for your toaster.

“Like a good neighbor or a cheerful co-worker, toast can make life richer without much fanfare.”
    Bob Condor, Chicago Tribune

The funny thing, is that this new and original product sounds suspiciously like the toaster pizza that won first place in the 1995 Fourth Annual Product Development Competition held by the Institute of Food Technologists. A team of students from Cornell overcame difficulties like dripping cheese and tomato sauce and ran away with the prize.

Unfortunately, they didn't get any money for their idea, despite the similarity between their product and Toaster Breaks. We asked Ellen Chamberlain, a member of the team, about the new product. "Yes, we have noticed this "novel" idea that recently hit the marketplace. No, we did not receive any money for it," she wrote in her e-mail. Still, she was philosophical about the situation. "As students, we are at a disadvantage to gain control over these products due to lack of funds and production facilities. Our main point in working on these products is to win a competition. Which we did. We are satisfied."

For a look at the technical difficulties of making pop-up pizza, check out this media release from Cornell about the toaster pizza team. Here are some excerpts:

The prototypes...consists of two dough discs filled with cheese, tomato sauce, and pepperoni. They require 1 1/2 minutes to cook at a medium setting....Fluted edges keep the ...sauce and cheese from leaking into the toaster. An acetylated monglyceride barrier between the crust and the sauce is the secret to the crisp texture, and a thick paste-like sauce prevents "squirt out" when the consumer takes that first all-important bite....

The team researched toasters. "We relied heavily on a study by Pillsbury that charted thousands of toasters for spring, shape, and size for the Toaster Strudel," said [food chemist Michael] King. "Based on that study, we came up with an optimum weight of 50 grams, an optimum width of half an inch, and an optimum diameter of 3 3/4 inches."

For the entire press release, here's the URL:

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