Unitasker Wednesday: Toast Rack

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes โ€” we donโ€™t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Back in ye olde tyme days, toast was typically made in a home’s hearth using a device that looked like a rake or a pyramid shaped gewgaw that is still popular with camping enthusiasts. With the invention of electricity, the rake and pyramid were pushed aside as people started toasting their bread speedily under their oven’s broilers or in toasters or small toaster ovens. Gone were the days of slowly attending to toasting bread over the fire, people could now let a machine make their bread dry and brown for them!

My guess is that it was around this transition period when this week’s unitasker selection hit the market. With toast coming out of the electrical appliances so quickly, it must have been stacking up faster than folks could eat it. And, since apparently plates didn’t exist in the 1800s (except, they did), there must have been a need for a Toast Rack:

Since we now have plates (and by “now,” I mean “have had them since the dawn of civilization”), we can use plates to hold toast. This is such a terrific advancement! Plates! In fact, plates can hold lots of other things. No, it’s true! I’m not kidding around with you. Plates really can hold all types of food in addition to toast — like cake and steak! They’re amazing. I’m very pro-plate.

(Also, I strongly recommend reading the Toast Rack product description, where it tries to justify the device by saying it can also hold waffles. Awesome, because who doesn’t love to display their waffles before eating them?! Oh, and the user review from Marcus is priceless: “Who settles for horizontally stacked toast?” Hee.)

Thank you, Chaya, for sharing this device with us.

88 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Toast Rack”

  1. posted by Annan on

    I have actually seen one of these in use! When I was in England a few years ago, the restaurant at the B&B where I stayed used them to bring toast out from the kitchen. I thought it was quirky but nope, never really did get the point.

  2. posted by Martin on

    I was going to say, that here in the UK the toast rack is a very familiar piece of breakfast table clutter. I think these days it probably is limited to use in B&Bs and hotels and I’m afraid I also can’t see any practical use for it either. It must be cultural.

  3. posted by guest on

    oh..the uninitiated.. there is a big difference. noticed when you stack toast on your plate and it becomes all soggy because of the condensation underneath? that’s what this device is for. you are welcome.
    it also looks pretty and your guest can pick between different slices. On odd days, without toast, you can store your newspaper and CDs on it.

  4. posted by Sue on

    I wouldn’t buy one, but my grandmother gave me an old one with four slots and I use it to hold my kitchen sponges. (We would need a spare one for the gluten free toast.)

  5. posted by Debra on

    Doesn’t the toast get cold faster than on your plate?

  6. posted by Erin Doland on

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and admit I LOVE soggy, buttery toast. Who wants to eat dried out bread? It’s the time on the plate that makes it yum-tastic ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. posted by MissPrism on

    Another Brit here, also astonished that this is the first time you’ve come across a toast rack! Every hotel in Britain has these on the breakfast tables to keep the toast from going soggy. I don’t bother with one at home, but I know lots of people who do. And oddly, even though it clearly is a unitasker, I’d never thought of it as one, let alone as a ridiculous one – any more than I would a milk jug or an egg cup. It’s just part of breakfast table furniture.

    Sugar tongs, though, do always strike me as a pointless affectation.

  8. posted by MissPrism on

    Oops, tagfail. Sorry.

  9. posted by MissPrism on

    Ha! The sellers of these sugar tongs claim that they will “start a whole new trend for sugar lumps” – i.e. having bought sugar tongs especially to serve sugarlumps, you will also have to buy sugarlumps especially to serve with your sugar tongs. It’s a unitasker symbiosis!


  10. posted by Katie on

    You can take our apple corers and our banana slicers but you can never take our toast racks! The toast rack uses less space on the table than a plate. And if your having a full english breakfast there’s no room on your plate for the toast when you start. Definitely a useful gadget.

  11. posted by MissPrism on

    I now have a strong urge to invent nonexistent unitaskers and insist that everyone in Britain owns one. But of course I wouldn’t do that.

    Katie, do you favour a bone china or a silver plated chutney-spout? I have a smoked glass one, but only because it matches the marmalade screen.

  12. posted by Chris on

    I WOULD buy this. I hate it when I put toast on my plate and the bottom gets all wet and soggy from the steam. Gross. If you like soggy toast why not just eat untoasted bread?

  13. posted by Jeanne Thelwell on

    @Erin – So you like soggy toast. I don’t. So what? If I have a tool that gets me toast the way I like it, hooray for me.

  14. posted by Anne on

    I live in England and I must say I’m astonished that this item has been selected as some exotic, weird and wonderful contraption. You might as well have featured the umbrella as a unitasker! It’s perfectly common, especially, as people above have noted, in hotels and B&Bs. The idea is to keep toast crisp rather than soggy when making a lot of slices for a larger group of people. And the toast doesn’t end up “dry” since the butter or spread will provide the necessary moisture.

  15. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Jeanne — We don’t sincerely care a bit if someone actually owns these items or not. Life is short and it’s fun to laugh once in a while. I own a good number of the items we feature (like the cherry pitter and the ice cream maker and a pickle fork and a bunch of other stuff). In fact, I’m still considering ordering one of those cork presenters we featured last week. Just to have it. No other reason. It makes me laugh and I love laughing.

  16. posted by A. Person on

    As a Brit, I too, am surprised to see this end up on your Unitasker list.

    As others have said, it takes up less space than a plate, and stops the toast going soggy from sitting on one.

    And it’s not that toast should be dry either, it should be crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle.

    You sound like my mother whose “toast” is little more than warm bread. Yuck!

    What next, the butter dish!?

  17. posted by Erin Doland on

    Also, if I were a wealthy billionaire, I would totally start a unitasker museum. Think of it — the museum itself would be a unitasker! It would be a tribute to manufacturing genius ๐Ÿ™‚ I keep trying to convince my friend who works at the US Patent office to let me come and see their collection of bad idea devices. He says it doesn’t really exist, that people don’t usually send their devices in with their patent applications … but I think he’s lying. There has to be a giant warehouse of inventions somewhere.

  18. posted by Liz E. on


    While I don’t share your love of soggy toast, I do share a good chuckle with you about this contraption. At first glance it reminded me of a mail sorter–and honestly, without a doubt, I believe that’s what it would become in my house!

    Thanks for yet another delightful Unitasker Wednesday post. It’s seriously all for fun and I personally look forward to it each week!

    P.S. My solution for non-soggy toast? Leave it in the toaster to cool until you’re ready to eat; nothing else to clean up after breakfast ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. posted by Emmy C on

    Another surprised Brit here. These things are legitimate! Yes, they are unitaskers, but if you use something every day surely they become a bit more acceptable…?

  20. posted by Holly on

    I also saw these staying in a British hotel. The only problem I saw with it was that the toast cooled off quickly meaning the butter would no longer melt. At home toast is breakfast and not a side with breakfast so it goes straight from the toaster to the plate so the butter can melt onto the lovely hot toast. mmm… dammit, now I need to go buy bread for toast.

  21. posted by Anne S. on

    This isn’t really a unitasker. My mom used one to sort the mail on our hall table.

  22. posted by CM on

    Yup, totally normal in the UK (not that I live there, but I’m familiar with these). For those of us in the US who are not privileged with inherited toast racks, I use a mesh cooling rack for waffles — it serves the same purpose of not letting them steam and get soggy, AND it’s a multitasker because its main use is to cool baked goods while allowing circulation of air underneath. I rarely have so much toast that this is necessary.

  23. posted by ninakk on

    I used mine as a cd stand for years.

    I never made toast in large amounts but would definitely like one once my family is larger. Laugh all you want, but to me it is the same type of tool as a knife. If you don’t want your bread to go soggy and you do make more than a couple of slices at once, what else would you use to keep the bread standing rather than on top of each other? Putting the slices on a plate would cool them off a lot quicker and I’m not turning on the oven just to warm one plate.

  24. posted by Alison on

    First – I totally had to go get bread out of the freezer and make toast.

    Second – my my, people do get testy when called out on their kitchen unitaskers! Whenever it’s kitchen related I know there will be a multitude of defensive comments.

    Pop! Toast’s up – may even use a napkin…

  25. posted by Andrea on

    My father always calls these “toast coolers.”

  26. posted by Beth on

    The whole purpose of a toast rack is to produce cold, dry toast.

    I prefer my toast fresh from the toaster. Buttered immediately. Eaten still warm.

    So in my world, a toast rack is not only unnecessary, it is actively hateful – an abomination that ruins every piece of toast that’s forced to sit on it.

    But I recognize there are people who feel differently. They can have all the toast racks they want, so long as I don’t have to eat cold toast with them.

  27. posted by Julie Bestry on

    Hee. Before I read the post, I thought this was going to be about a mail/file sorter. Some toast-avoidant soul must have repurposed one of these long ago for the office.

    I, too, was coming in to point out that the condensation makes piled toast icky, but wondered why anyone would ever make more than two pieces of toast at a time. (Then I realized there are people on the planet willing to cook for others as well as themselves. Quaint.) I must also admit, while I own a toaster, I haven’t even made toast in close to 30 years. (I do, occasionally, toast a bagel, but one would never refer to a toasted bagel as toast.) I am now craving toasted Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl w/Streussel, a mainstay of my childhood snack arsenal. Mmmmm.

  28. posted by Jane on

    Interesting! As a Brit, I too never saw the toast rack as a unitasker before now, but it really is. I don’t own one as the toast in our house is eaten pretty much as soon as it’s ready and our kitchen is so small that every utensil and kitchen device has to “earn its place”. I seem to remember my grandmother did have one though and it is useful if you’re feeding a lot of people at once or if you need large quantities of cold toast (e.g.for eating with soup, pate or soft cheese). It does mean the toast goes cold pretty quickly though, so for everyday situations I’d stick to the plate method!

  29. posted by Nana on

    Got one as a wedding gift! [from a singularly pretentious friend] re-purposed it on my desk… where it ‘classes-up’ my mail.

  30. posted by Martin on

    Great article Erin, had a great laugh reading all the comments too.

  31. posted by chacha1 on

    I have some Sun Maid raisin bread at home and I totally want a toasted slice right now. THANKS.

    I fall on the side of those who like their toast warm, and since (like Julie) I don’t often have to cook for a lot of other people, my kitchen is set up entirely for *my* convenience … nothing to stage items that I made for someone else. They can get their own goshdarned toast.

  32. posted by dy on

    I’m with those who use them to sort/hold mail, only mine holds some file folders. Then again, I don’t even own a toaster.

  33. posted by lethe on

    I’m Dutch, not British, but I also own a toast rack (inherited from my mum).

    I mainly use it (as did she) for quickly thawing out slices of bread from the freezer, though.

  34. posted by NYC_apartment_dweller on

    I personally *love* the idea of a toast rack, although I don’t own one. It’s totally romantic and (to me) conveys images of little pots of jam and lace curtains and the idea that SOMEBODY ELSE IS MAKING ME BREAKFAST. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That being said – soggy toast is vile. If that’s what you want, you should toast a batch of bread in the oven, freeze it and then then throw it in the microwave as needed. Ew.

  35. posted by mijk on

    I totally expect offended englishmen in your comments. I like toastrecks you can pick up great secondhands ones in english carboot sales and reuse them on your desk for paperwork!

  36. posted by mijk on

    Also as a dutchman seeing a toastrack means I am on a uk holiday so they fill me with happiness!

  37. posted by WilliamB on

    I don’t think this is a unitasker. You can sort all sorts of small stiff things in it: toast, mail, CDs, bowl lids, tupperware lids, etc. Of course if you used it for tupperware lids you’d have to dump out the lids to use it for toast, but that’s true for all storage solutions.

    I’ve seen it used in Europe and Canada, toast in rack to prevent sog, whole thing wrapped in large napkin to preserve heat. Because, indeed, who wants one’s toast too cold to spread and melt butter?

    I don’t own one, don’t plan to get one.

  38. posted by infmom on

    The toast rack is from the era where the servants made the toast in the kitchen, and delivered it to the table in the toast rack, already cold. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. posted by djk on

    Oh goodness, this is not some unusual unitasker. The point is that the butter must be cold, and cold butter tears soggy bread. I used one of these for years, as I’d lived in northern England in my callow youth and learned to eat dry toast with cold butter and Marmite (this is a preference, just like the American idea of “hot toast” is a preference) and drink gallons of tea.
    The toast rack is meant to cool toast quickly so it is a crisp dry bread.

    As far as preferences go, why do Americans insist on calling tea “hot tea”? Tea IS a hot drink. …and if you quibble with that, perhaps you could question your own argument that toast is not necessarily, by definition, hot.

  40. posted by Anne on

    @Alison – People aren’t getting “testy” because the toast rack is being criticized (although I think a lot of the criticisms are weak), it’s because this very common, everyday item (in England) is being presented as some exotic, preposterous contraption on the same level as the “hot dog dicer” or the “Ben and Jerryโ€™s Euphori-Lock”! I think it just irks people when Americans think “If *I* haven’t seen it before it must be weird or ridiculous”.

  41. posted by Robin on

    So it’s great for serving cold crisp toast but why does anybody want their toast cold?

  42. posted by ninakk on

    Continuing from my post above. The dishwasher is a unitasker; I don’t have one. The microwave is a unitasker; I don’t have one. The clothes dryer is a unitasker; I don’t have one. I make do with one bathroom for a family. I make do with one wash basin and one faucet for a family.

  43. posted by Kathy on

    Lethe – great idea, using a toast rack to thaw bread. But you know what I do when I need to thaw a couple of slices of bread? I put them in the toaster! I don’t turn it on, just let them sit there for a minute or two while I’m doing other sandwichy sorts of things.

    And djk – but cold butter tears cold, dry bread, too! I think the American method of buttering toast (certainly my method) is to butter the toast as soon as it comes out of the toaster, so that the butter melts. We don’t use enough butter to make it soggy, just moist. And buttery.

    Yes, it must be a totally cultural thing. Eating cold, crisp dry bread with cold butter doesn’t appeal to me at all. But I do like crackers! Go figure.

  44. posted by Barbara on

    I’m an American and I remember these fondly from my childhood when mothers still cooked breakfast for the family. I think there’s still one in my mother’s cabinet now. Although, since Mom doesn’t cook, it hasn’t seen the light of day in quite a while.

  45. posted by Katharine Holden on

    I’ve seen toast racks similar to this in British films and television, and also 1950s/1960s American films like one of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson romantic comedies. In the American films in which the toast rack shows up, the kitchens have every modern convenience, there’s a plastic or plastic-coated something everywhere, and everything matches the wife’s pedalpushers.

  46. posted by Katharine Holden on

    I guess if you eat your toast cold, this toast rack is a convenient little holder. But if you eat your toast hot, it’s a unitasker.

    Fun! I love that we’re not all the same.

  47. posted by Mags on

    Another British person pointing out this is not some strange and bizarre contraption. I come from a large family so we’d have 12 slices of toast on the go in the morning – you need somewhere to put it without it going mushy. And it is totally still warm enough to melt butter – especially if you keep your butter in a covered butter dish on the worktop not in the fridge.

    The clue is in your opening paragraph: “a machine make[s] their bread dry and brown for them”. So why on earth would you soggy it back up?

    Now, about this strange American unitasker of a mailbox outside the house instead of a letterbox in the door. Why set things up so you have to get wet to fetch your post instead of being able to collect it off the doormat still in your pyjamas…?

  48. posted by Erin Doland on

    @ninakk — Those aren’t unitaskers, those are single-purpose items. Single-purpose items have great utility for *most* people on the planet, and they are most definitely NOT unitaskers (unitaskers lack utility for *most* people on the planet).

  49. posted by JustGail on

    @djk – some call it “hot tea” so it’s clear they are not talking about iced tea. Sometimes, especially in summer, it’s not clear which is meant when someone asks if you’d like tea.

  50. posted by ninakk on

    Oh I wouldn’t agree with you at all Erin. Especially the function of the microwave and dryer can easily be replaced by something else. The microwave is absolutely ridiculous and has no function what so ever to a huge percentage of the global population.

  51. posted by ninakk on

    JustGail, the rest of the world drinks their tea hot and it is clear tea is hot. Iced tea is a lot more uncommon.

  52. posted by Mags on

    I’ve only ever encountered iced tea in America. Cold tea is something you use to dye things, not drink! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. posted by Erin Doland on

    @ninakk — I rarely use the microwave, so I probably agree with you on that. However, I think if I were to write a unitasker post about the microwave the comments disagreeing with me would be far worse than they are to this little toast rack ๐Ÿ™‚

    And now I’m craving tea …

  54. posted by Rich on

    Erin, I usually have a good chuckle at your Unitaskers & think, “Oh, who WOULD ever buy that ridiculous thing?” But I must take you to task on this one, I fear. My toast rack usually serves to store/sort my daily mail. If I do decide to have friends over for tea, however, the mail gets tossed aside in favor of some toast to have on hand in case anyone does fancy a bit of refined sustenance. (No one wants to see the host slaving over a toaster, after all.) So: not a unitasker at all, I would argue.

  55. posted by Beth on

    I saw this and thought of this paragraph from a book that I found in the comments on another blog here: http://separatedbyacommonlangu.....0930926371

    Kate Fox: ‘Watching the English’ (2005, p.312-3):

    “The ‘toast rack’ is a peculiarly English object. My father, who lives in America and has become somewhat American in his tastes and habits, calls it a ‘toast cooler’ and claims that its sole function is to ensure that one’s toast gets stone cold as quickly as possible. English supporters of the toast rack would argue that it keeps toast dry and crisp, that separating the slices of toast and standing them upright stops them becoming soggy, which is what happens to American toast, served hugger-mugger in a humid, perspiring stack on the plate, sometimes even wrapped up in a napkin to retain yet more moisture. The English would rather have their toast cool and dry than warm and damp. American toast lacks reserve and dignity: it is too sweaty and indisceet and emotional.”

  56. posted by Kate on

    Dude, not a unitasker. It’s a toast rack. Something used every day by millions and millions of people.
    This strikes me as one of those ‘I’m an American and we don’t use these in America and I think it’s funny therefore it’s a unitasker’ things you come up with every three months or so. Reverse that and a coffeemaker is a unitasker. Why have a coffeemaker when you’ve already got a jug, a mug, and a spoon, all things that are definite multitaskers?

  57. posted by Henave on

    @djk- I live in Georgia and here the tea is always iced and sweet (I don’t care for it myself). It is very cultural in the south and if you are ever offered “tea” it will be iced tea with the designation being made for hot tea by saying “hot tea”.

    Also, no one here seems to eat cold toast! Our toast is always warm with the (copious amounts of) butter (or more likely margarine) melted and perhaps dripping off of it. In fact if you had a guest and the toast had gone cold, you would apologize and make them some fresh, warm toast!

  58. posted by Another Deb on

    Last year when I visited the UK, we encountered toast racks at every B&B. There were several places with whole collections of them displayed in the shelving just as china plates were displayed on the walls. I didn’t understand why people wanted a device that kept the toast isolated from it’s warm neighbors but, thanks to the comments above, I can appreciate cultural preferences for crisper vs warmer bread. I am now a total “cream tea” fan, by the way!

    On a side note about tea, my Yankee ear spent an embarassingly long time trying to figure out what they wanted in Texas when they asked for “ass-tay”.

  59. posted by Jeremy on

    This Australian is pleased to read so many posts defending the Toast Rack..
    Though designed with a single task in mind, its uses are multitude, from storing toast, letters, cards, and vertically, cds, to becoming the ribs of a scrap metal art installation.
    Laugh only at the assumption that the Toast Rack is a unitasker.

  60. posted by Linda on

    Some of us in the south only order “sweet tea” and it is cold!

  61. posted by KelKel on

    This is a good lesson to not get our shorts in a bunch if an item we have a fondness for gets mocked a little. Toast Rack/Cooler Defenders, take note. And now proceed to mock this comment too. Go on. It will make you feel better. I’ll even start you off…”Oh you smug soggy-toast eating Americans are all the same…”. lol

  62. posted by Lynn on

    You can also find them, if you are very lucky, on eBay in chintz or other china patterns, for an arm and a leg and your firstborn male child. We wants one, but would rather spend the equivalent on a peck of laceweight cashmere yarn.

  63. posted by Quill on

    Toast racks have been around since at least the Regency period. A little research could have told you that.

  64. posted by Mark on

    These things are quite common around New Zealandโ€ฆ they are a bit useless though, as the toast gets cold if you leave it in the holder for more then a few minutes.

  65. posted by Lisa on

    Also can be used to sort mail, dry lids of snap-on containers, display Christmas cards, oooh drying lasagna noodles?, displaying tiny plates, organizing paint brushes while painting. Plus – bonus keeps toast from getting soggy.

  66. posted by Rally on

    I concur with the others on hot/iced tea – here in Phoenix, it’s usually iced tea by default, but in general if you were to ask for tea, they would want to know if you wanted it hot or iced.

    I’d say the toast rack seems to have many functions after all!

  67. posted by alfora on


    Is something really a unitasker if you use it every day?

  68. posted by Christine M on

    I prefer to butter toast as soon as it pops up from the toaster because I like it melted into the bread. However, I see this as a nice way to serve toast to a group of people when I won’t be buttering their slices ahead of time (e.g. extended family or friends over for breakfast/brunch). (No, I do not have one, but I have no objections.)

    I am also not sure why people consider this a new item as this has been around for “ages”, and no, I am not British :).

  69. posted by Karen (Scotland) on

    lol! I used to own one of these until I realised I hate cold, dry toast and, if I don’t get to eat the toast before that point, I don’t want it. Even if making a whole load of toast for friends/family/guests, I’ll either throw it at people as it’s ready or use the grill in the oven to make more in each batch.

    Wish I’d held on to my old one for defrosting purposes (as suggested by Lethe, Netherlands, above).

    I’m in the UK but think the American soggy toast is definitely yummier. Nothing worse than a layer of fat sitting on cold toast – better to melt the butter through it (so I can pretend the fat isn’t there…?)

  70. posted by ninakk on

    Has anyone ever heard of butter that isn’t cold directly from the fridge or melted on the stove? Room-tempered butter? Wow, what an invention.

  71. posted by Anna on

    @ Mags, who asks:

    Now, about this strange American unitasker of a mailbox outside the house instead of a letterbox in the door. Why set things up so you have to get wet to fetch your post instead of being able to collect it off the doormat still in your pyjamasโ€ฆ?

    In case this is a rhetorical question and you really don’t know…..Outside mailboxes are for use by postal workers driving cars, as happens in many areas where the mail route covers many miles. Letterboxes in the door are used by postal workers covering their shorter and more densely populated routes on foot.

  72. posted by heathercheryl on

    I can think of other uses for this toast holder, like a mail sorter, desk accessory to hold the files you are working on, but for toast, no thank you.

  73. posted by Marie on

    As the wife of a Brit, I am very familiar with this gadget (which as many people point out is most popular in B&Bs and hotels). I think it’s also popular among Anglophiles in the US who think the toast rack is very quaint!

    Personally, I have always disliked toast racks…because I like my toast HOT. I’d rather have it be soggy than hot, and when you put toast on a rack, it invariably cools off.

  74. posted by Rondina Muncy on

    You received an incredible amount of responses on the toast rack. Although we Americans don’t use it like the Brits—it will serve a purpose. When you make FRENCH toast, the bread ideally needs to sit out for a few hours and dry out. That means dry, not brown. I ran a bookstore for a while and used a similar wooden device to hold up books. The Container Store used them for product display. I made my own using dowels. I found that they were perfect for sitting out thick bread slices to dry for French toast. The Container Store sells these now. (Not the metal ones; the wood ones.)

  75. posted by Charity on

    In the UK, even in rural areas, we don’t have mailboxes -the delivery worker just parks and walks. I suppose it is less efficient, but the Royal Mail is still (just about) a public service, not privately owned.

    I own 2 toast racks ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. posted by Henave on

    In rural areas of the south in the US (in my personal experience), your mail delivery goes down a few notches from having a mail box at the end of your drive. If you live in a small town that does not have home mail delivery, you have to drive into the nearest post office and get it out of a P.O. Box (post office box) or on rural routes you might see mail boxes grouped together for homes that are miles apart, which would also entail a drive. I grew up having to drive to the post office and use a P.O. Box address and having a mail box at the end of my driveway now feels luxurious! I was 25 years old before I lived somewhere with my own mailbox:) This includes apartments which also have communal mailboxes that you have to walk or drive to access.

  77. posted by Julie Bestry on

    @ninakk I lived many decades on this planet before learning that there were people who didn’t keep their butter in the fridge at all times (except when using it). I was quite appalled the first time I visited a friend, saw her butter was out and “helpfully” put it away, only to have her stop me. Not putting the butter back in the fridge would be like leaving the milk out — to this suburbanite, the idea of having the milk out of the fridge for more than 60-90 seconds was tantamount to inviting the Plague! To this day, butter left out doesn’t raise my eyebrows, but the idea sure does turn my tummy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  78. posted by Mark on

    Have you ever tasted the difference between toast put on one of these for 2 minutes and toast stacked on a plate?

    I know we use ours regularly.

  79. posted by Asaf on

    I avidly read your very informative and entertaining columns. But I disagree with you on this one. Toast Racks have an essential function: to chill the toast without condensation ruining its crispness. Plates can’t do that, unless you laboriously lean toasts against each other.

  80. posted by Mel on

    Small books (or stacks of cards) would look TERRIFIC in that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  81. posted by ChrisD on

    Hee. I thought of the Kate Fox quote the minute I saw the picture and I knew lots of Brits would jump up to defend dry toast versus soggy toast, I’d have done it myself if I’d been earlier.
    Maybe no one person said this but it was quite funny to see people saying ‘Erin this is a cultural thing just because it is not used in the US it is NOT an strange device’ and ‘tea is always hot, why would someone need to question that’ Yes, tea is always hot in cold countries, not all of the globe is cold.

    A nutritionist friend told me that margarine is the work of the devil (not in those words) and that everyone should use butter. The spreadable straight of the fridge thing is a major consideration, but nowadays everyone I know keeps their butter out. But then that is clutter on the counter, which would annoy me enough to be equivalent in heart attack terms to the margarine. Maybe a small butter dish can be kept in a drawer. For health and safety you could put out a small amount (a weeks worth?) of butter at a time and keep the rest in the fridge/freezer.

  82. posted by ajeanne on

    Okay then… there are people who prefer their toast to be cold! Who knew? When I was in England, they brought toast to the table in a toast rack. I thought, “WHY would anyone do this to perfectly good toast? It will obviously end up cold and dry!!”

    I had no idea until reading the comments here that there are people who WANT cold, dry toast.

    Also, apparently, there is an affection for cold butter, too, rather than melted butter on warm toast. Okay! Why not?

    Warm beer, anyone? ๐Ÿ™‚

  83. posted by Brian (Shadowfoot) on

    I like my toast rack here in NZ. When I’m making toast for the two of us, it prevents the toast becoming soggy while I’m buttering and eating my first piece. The warmth of one piece of toast helps keep its neighbours warm, meaning I have hot dry toast without having to get up from the table and get it from the toaster.

  84. posted by mags on

    @Anna – it was more a point about how cultures vary and unitaskers depend on context. I cannot understand the point of a mailbox because it means the householder gets wet/cold going to fetch post, and the only task of it is to hold post. A lot of Americans don’t get toast racks for the same cultural reason. So maybe a tad more research and cultural consideration is needed before catagorizing something a unitasker?

  85. posted by EraserGirl on

    growing up, i never knew it was for toast…ours was a mail sorter.

  86. posted by Rebs on

    I have an antique toast rack at my front door. It’s where I sort the incoming mail, or prop up some paperwork that I need to attend to.

  87. posted by jessiejack on

    @lethe and Kathy – great tips for thawing frozen bread slices before using them! I dont have a toast rack but could use the toaster compartmentl

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