Surely nothing could be easier than making toast. In these modern times, all you have to do is drop sliced bread into the toaster slots, push the lever down, and toast will pop right up when it’s done.
It was much trickier in my childhood. Our toasters were primitive appliances, with fold-down doors on either side. They demanded vigilance and patience, with disastrous consequences if we wandered away. These were the days before fire alarms, so burnt toast could be very burnt before the smell roused our attention.
My family also had a camping toaster, a simple wire mesh contraption held over a flame. I remember the toast it made was particularly delicious—very crisp on the outside and somehow fluffier and moister inside.
Either way, there was nothing difficult or complex about toast. Or so it seemed.