THE KITCHEN MONSTER
We needed a new toaster, okay? To replace our two-slicer that each day figures out anew how it will approach our bread. One day, doubtless after a hard night, it can’t rouse itself to fire up all its elements, so it browns each slice on one side only . . . or, alternatively, it browns one piece and ignores the other. Or sometimes, in an ebullient spirit, it keeps browning until it burns. Trouble is, like a teenager with moods, you never know what you'll get.
Before we got around to buying something better, Tracy inherited a lot of Diner’s Club gift points from Brad. “What do you need?” she asked.
“A toaster!” I cried. “With four slots.”
“Well,” she said as she looked over the catalog, “here’s one.” And then in a softer tone. “It also cooks eggs.”
This I couldn’t imagine. But I told her to order it anyway.
Yesterday it came. So let me paint the picture. For two-thirds of its length it’s just a four-slice toaster. But then the last third sports two little frying pans that stick out into space, apropos of nothing, except that the pans also have lids and non-removable, further-protruding knobs, making it a ship that grew too big for its berth.
At the moment the thing is sitting on my drain board like an obese, but shiny squatter, taking up so much space I can hardly cook around it. It’s waiting to be placed where it goes-- which won’t happen until I dismantle a quarter of the kitchen. As I work, I keep giggling, and from across the room Bob hears me and says, “What were they THINKING?”
As I push it aside, discovering there’s nowhere for it to go, I keep picturing what went on in the board room of West Bend. “You want to invent WHAT?” the president asks, and the inventor says earnestly, “Who wouldn’t want a cooks-all appliance?” and board members shake their heads and one says, “Not MY wife,” but the president finally says, “Well, we’ve got some development money. Give it a try.”
“Five thousand?” the inventor asks, to which the daring president answers, “Why not five thousand?” Then, as my grandson says, “They never did much field testing.”
I can tell you what happened next. West Bend was saddled with five-thousand “gifts”, which they pawned off on Diner’s Club, and Diner’s Club is currently left with four-hundred and ninety-nine, because we have the other one.
Bob, who tries to find a spot for everything, can’t figure out its placement. The only reasonable scenario (egg pans in) would leave the controls buried against our refrigerator. Egg-pans-out, means I’d have to reach over the little darlings to get at the toaster slots. We are currently engaged in a typical Wills debate. “Let’s make it a humorous white elephant,” I say, and Bob says grimly, “It’s an elephant, all right—but I intend to keep it.”
So I’m now asking the world: Is there anyone out there who wants a toaster that also cooks eggs?
Speak up. I can’t hear you.