Choosing the best toaster for you and your family should be a simple matter, especially since most people are very familiar with this reliable small kitchen appliance. But today's toasters include more bells and whistles than the simple bread toasters of the past, complicating your selection process. Ancient Romans toasted bread over fire; in fact, the word "toast" derives from the Latin "tostum," which means "to burn or scorch." In more modern times, the 1900s saw the first pop-up two-slice toasters. And even most recently, four-slice toasters, six-slice toasters and toasters with wider slots were invented in the early 1980s.
Today, you can choose a toaster with wide or extra-wide slots, bagel or homemade bread slots, or even self-adjusting slots. You might choose a specialty appliance like a hot dog toaster, a pastry toaster or a toaster that can reheat your coffee cake. Or you can choose a model with a defrost function that takes a bagel from the freezer to the table in one step. The best four-slice toasters might have slots wide enough to accommodate a sandwich cage for toasting whole sandwiches. Consider toasters with a slide-out crumb tray, a timer, a non-stick interior, or an alert that signals when your toast is ready. Choose a traditional stainless steel toaster to match or complement other small appliances like your single-cup coffee maker or juicer.
Your 4-Slice Toaster and the Perfect Family Breakfast
Many people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Perhaps that's why whole sections of the local grocery store are devoted to made-in-the-toaster treats aimed at helping you start your day. But there are other ways your toaster can make a big contribution to a memorable family breakfast. Imagine that you get up early to make breakfast for the family. You use a hand mixer to create your special waffle or pancake recipe before everyone else gets out of bed. Then, when your family members are ready to gather at the breakfast table, you use the waffle maker to make waffles, or the electric griddle to make pancakes and eggs. With coffee and juice already on the table, all that's left to do is to pop bread in the four-slice toaster to create a plate of toast to accompany the eggs. You might even make your waffles or pancakes in advance, then use your toaster to reheat them before serving them to your family.