Toast: A Heated Debate

My good friend, Loth, from across the Atlantic, inadvertently started something of a feud about toast on her blog the other day. While she maintains the UK rights to this feud, I’m claiming North American subsidiary rights. Because it’s just too good to let them have all the fun.

The feud is basically between the Cold Toast Eaters (CTEs) and the Warm Toast Eaters (WTEs). The first group likes to let their toast cool by making a little tent with the slices and waiting for it to become edible. Or, for those of us with some sophistication, we use one of our toast racks from our toast rack collection:


This isn’t mine, but I wish it was. Mine are very boring.

When the toast has cooled, it is nice and crispy and crunchy and delicious and ready for a topping. Now, whatever you put on it will stay on top, not disappear into the bread.

The WTEs on the other hand feel this is a toast abomination; that butter and everything else demands to be slathered[1] only on hot toast so that when you bite into your now soggy, taupe-coloured bread —  butter, honey, jam, marmite and/or runny peanut butter will ooze out and off it and dribble down your chin and onto your clean pajamas.

I’m going to remain neutral on the topic for now.

You should know, however, that toast was originally a method of preserving bread so it wouldn’t get stale so quickly. The word “toast” is from the Latin tostum, which means “to burn”.

The Egyptians of course originally invented bread and toast about 5000 years ago. I say “of course” because the Egyptians invented pretty much everything in the world, leaving only a few bits and pieces for Thomas Edison to clear up later on.


The French seem to be CTEs, according to Charlene, who has recently returned from a trip to Paris. French toast, contrary to our eggy, fried notion of the dish, is really an almost inedibly hard baguette toasted and cooled to a granite-like consistency.

You can buy toast on eBay with the images of the Virgin Mary or Jesus or even Obama appearing on them.


There’s an entire blog devoted entirely to toast, toast recipes, toast photos, toast haiku, toast news, toasters and discussions about toast.

I’m very fond of toast. I probably eat toast every day. Toasting bread brings out its flavours and makes it easier to digest than plain bread.

I always eat my bread toasted; even if I’m making sandwiches ahead of time to take to work – nice dark, thin, crispy, crunchy slices of cold, wholegrain toast.  

[1] “Slather” is one of my least favourite words in the entire English language. It’s ugly. It sounds messy and sloppy. Your face has to get ugly to say it. You almost always spit when you say “slather” because just thinking of the word instantly causes saliva to flow into your mouth. I would like to get rid of this word.


58 responses to “Toast: A Heated Debate

  1. WTE. That’s me. The only downside of breakfasts at b&b’s in the UK was the cold toast. I loved the crazy “fry ups” for breakfast; but not the toast. Maybe I should try that toast blog!
    Seems to me you are a CT person, or you wouldn’t have more than one toast rack…

  2. Hot, scrummy toast with the melted butter and strawberry jam (or, alternately, the melty, gooey peanut butter and Billy Bee creamed honey) dripping off it is Ambrosia of the Gods.

    Cold toast that at least had the toppings put on it while it was still hot,scrummy toast prior to being relegated to cold-toast status is acceptable but far from ideal — you should eat faster if your toast is getting cold.

    Cold, naked toast is just plain wrong. It makes the baby Jesus cry.

  3. haha, my dad bought a toast rack from the auction of the estate of AY Jackson. There was never any option – we were a very serious cold toast family, slightly burnt, lots of chunks of butter (chunks because it wouldn’t spread) with gobs of homemade strawberry jam.
    sigh. the good old days when people made toast for me 🙂

  4. WTE, definitely. And I am already hungry, so now you really have me going through my cupboards for food. No toast, unfortunately – I don’t even own a toaster. But if I did… WTE.

  5. You said it!… warm toast brings out the flavours, especially the nutty taste of toasted seven-grain bread. I usually have toast everyday as well, and especially enjoy my toast while waiting for my oatmeal to go through it’s mandatory 30-minute simmer.

  6. I had no idea that people would eat toast cold for any reason other than by accident (in the way that so many of us moms end up eating cold meals because the wee kids distract us).

    Cold toast is sad. Totally agree with louise on that one.

  7. I’m with Mary Lynn. I had no idea people ate cold toast on purpose. Before this subject was brought up, I had no opinion whatsoever. Now I’m firmly in the WTE faction and quite adamant about it. I almost want to sway people my way. hmmm. I guess polarization is innate.

  8. Nancy – Aren’t you clever for working that out! Yes, I am a CTE. I love it when they scrape butter on their cold toast in shows from the UK. It’s such a comforting sound.

    Louise – Naked toast never. The ideal is to make your toast nice and dark. Stack it in your toast rack. Make the rest of your breakfast and by the time your ready your toast has cooled off nicely so that nothing you smear on it sinks in. And, the toast is now crispy crunchy, not soggy, drippy.

    Meanie – Do you still eat your toast cold? It shouldn’t have any black on it, though. That’s nasty. And yes, the butter needs to be cold, too – not soft like when it’s been out of the fridge too long. And, I’m sure your kids are old enough to make toast, aren’t they? It’s the least they could do.

    Gila – WHAT? You don’t own a toaster? And you have no bread in the house? Holy crap. This is too much for me to process. I’ve never heard of such a thing. It’s like you’re an alien from a far off galaxy or something. Wow.

    Skylark – So, you’re a WTE? And you have toast AND oatmeal for breakfast?

    Mary Lynn – It’s not sad at all. It’s delicious and noisy. I don’t like eating soft, soggy bread. I was raised on good, hard rye bread and solid crunchy white. The first time someone gave me a peanut butter sandwich on WonderBread I thought I was going to choke to death. I screamed bloody murder and started desperately to scrape the glutinous mess out of my mouth. My parents and our hosts came running to see what was going on. Heimlich maneuvers were brought into play. Very traumatic. I never want to go through that again.

    Laura – See my response to Mary Lynn. Perhaps you people should broaden your horizons? There are entire nations out there who wouldn’t dream of eating warm, soggy bread. Maybe it’s YOU who need to be converted???

  9. I think that letting toast cool before buttering is a sin. Nothing’s worse than eating a poached egg on hard, cold, brittle toast. Toast should be crisp, but never crunchy and brittle, spraying crumbs everywhere as you bite into it.

    I like to eat hot toast with butter, and jam, or maybe honey. Light rye toast goes especially nicely with butter and honey..

    If you do it right, it isn’t soggy at all, just golden and crisp on the bottom and gently yielding on the top.

    Toast racks should be prohibited by law. The main joy of a toasted tomato sandwich (besides the heavenly taste combo of tomato, mayo, salt and pepper) is the contrast between the hot toast and the cool tomato. No butter, just mayo spread on the toast as soon as it comes out of the toaster.

    That’s it. I’m starting the ETHODBAA (Eat Toast Hot, or Don’t Bother At ALL). Who’s with me?

  10. There is so much wrong here I can’t get to all of it but just a few thoughts.
    Toast is supposed to be warm!
    No one in their right minds refers to getting all toasty under a blanket on the couch meaning cold and hard and crumbly.
    The main purveyors of cold toast are English protestants who hate the very thought of anyone enjoying any part of this life.
    These same people are reviled the world over for their culinary creations and believe a stiff upper lip is the height of pleasure.
    Slathering is actually a French sexual activity and rightly so causes saliva production.

    Now all you CTE’s go for some therapy and try to live properly form now on.

  11. Wow, until I read this post I didn’t know there was such a thing as a CTE. I just assumed *everyone* liked their toast warm. How else will the butter melt?

  12. XUP: Maybe that’s the key to the polarization. WTEs tend to *want* stuff to sink a little bit into the toast (“golden and crisp on the bottom and gently yielding on the top” is the perfect description, alison).

  13. Bandobras said all there is to say: cold toast is wrong; there are mental institutions for people who think they like it.

    I’ll add that “cold toast = good” was probably a clever marketing strategy by downtrodden restauranteurs during the War.

    – RG>

  14. Alison – Hard, cold, brittle toast – stop you’re making me hungry. Restaurant toast is always soggy – why is that? How is it even possible to butter hot toast and not make it soggy? And mayo on hot toast? Aggghhhhhh.

    Sky Girl – I’m obviously in the minority here. And the interesting thing is that it seems most people haven’t even tried toast properly prepared. Perhaps we need a Toast-Off??

    Bandobras – Aren’t you the dude whose mum made tea in the good old UK fashion, thick enough to stand a spoon in? There’s no way you can drink that stuff with wussy, warm, drippy toast. Come on! Fess up. Your mother never in a million years let you eat warm toast. It gives you worms, you know.

    Dave – What sheltered lives you people lead. Does it not occur to you that some people might not like their butter to melt into their bread?

    Louise –Oh please, toast that’s buttered while hot is NEVER crisp on the bottom and “gently yielding” on the top. It’s soggy.

    Grouchy – I’m beginning to take offense at this blatant vilification of CTEs. Don’t we have a right to live our cold toast preference lifestyles without discrimination, bullying and name-calling? Is there no one out there who will come out of the toast rack and help me explain how the love of cold toast isn’t a perversion; isn’t some sort of mental illness?

  15. When I eat toasted sandwiches, the toast scrapes off the skin on the roof of my mouth. Regular toast (hot or cold) doesn’t do that. So I eat toast but not toasted sandwiches. Interestingly, all the while I was having chemo, bread was not appealing to me and I don’t think I ate any toast/bread to speak of for those 5 months. I still haven’t got back into it.

  16. wow, a lot of haters out there. coldtoastaphobes. I may have a flag made for us cte,s to hang from my window, proudly. I may have to get my “throw the windows open to cool the toast more quickely” scottish father to engage in the debate.

    you are all probably putting margarine on your toast.

  17. As she rolls over in her grave my beautiful SCOTTISH mother is aghast at even the thought of ;
    A being associated with the English.
    B Cold toast, why it’s practically and oxymoron.

    This is the same woman who poured her coffee out of the percolator while it was still boiling and started drinking immediately. That was how she killed any worms.

  18. I prefer Spam.
    There’s an entire blog devoted entirely to spam, spam recipes, spam photos, spam haiku, spam news, and discussions about spam.
    Why, just yesterday I had a lovely meal of egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam.
    Spam and cold toast is good too.
    With spam.
    Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam! Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam. Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Spam spam spam spam!

  19. XUP, I just looked it up in the DSM IV, and defensiveness is clearly listed as one of the symptoms of advanced CTED (Cold Toast Eating Disorder).

    I’m worried for you. Please, for your own health, have a nice, warm slice of toast.

    – RG>

  20. First, the men with the butterfly nets are looking for Trashee.

    Secondly, how do you make your toast? In a pop-up (yuck!) or the old-fashioned kind of toaster that has a proper name, but I call my the flippy-door kind. I wouldn’t own a pop-up.

    In the flippy-door kind, you can toast the bread to just the perfect degree of toastedness. Or, like a roommate I had in college, think it’s a pop-up and forget about it until black smoke comes pouring out of the kitchen, and all the smoke detectors in the apartment start to shriek.

    We had an ancient flippy-door at the cottage. I think it was wedding gift for my parents in 1951. It finally burned out a few years ago. But my stepmother found a new one (!). “Where?” you ask. Why, at Home Hardware, of course.

    My toaster was gift from my Mom gave me when I left home for the first time, 32 years ago. Long may it live and toast.

    And oh yeah, I’m a WTE.

    One more quick thing: In every Chinese restaurant north of North Bay, the waiter/ress always asks, “You want toast with that?” I’ve never been anywhere else where that option is offered free with the meal. It’s soggy, butter-laden and the perfect accessory to Chinese food.

  21. I guess I’m more passionate about toast than I realized. Sloppy writing in the post above, with redundant and missing words.

  22. Julia – Wow. Isn’t that interesting. A day without bread is like a day without food to me. I can’t imagine it. Were you a big fan of bread before?

    Meanie – Make sure there’s a nice colourful toast rack on that flag. I think we should have a cold toast pride parade as well. And proudly wear cold toast pins on our lapels. I’m really feeling the coldtoastial hate.

    Bandobras – The word “toast” only means it HAS been toasted. It doesn’t carry with it the necessity of warmth. It’s really just the process of finishing off the baking of the bread. We buy it half done and finish baking it in the toaster. I don’t eat warm bread or warm muffins or warm cake either.

    Trashee – Hey get your own blog, dude and talk about SPAM there. This is a toast post.

    Grouchy – Leave me alone you bastard. All of you, leave me alone. There’s nothing wrong with me, do ya hear? Nothing!!!

    Bob – Ya, there’s something seriously wrong with Trashee. I once had a flippy toaster, too, but forgot about the bread all the time so now I have a nice red toaster that always toasts my bread to perfection. Toast with Chinese food? Why, aren’t there already enough carbohydrates? I’m really sad that more people haven’t discovered the joys of cold toast.

  23. I don’t much mind whether it’s hot or cold.


    Except when I’m putting peanut butter on it. Peanut butter must melt on toast.

  24. Warm or cold, I’m always surprised that people still use toasters. The proper way to prepare toast is in a toaster oven with the butter on it already. The butter is pre-melted into the toast so there is no hurry to butter it later and it can sit on a plate for a while or you can eat it right away. Do people really still use toasters?

  25. Warm. Toast has to be eaten warm. Unless it was already buttered and then left over from breakfast and your mother put it in the fridge “just in case” and then after school you got home before your brother so you got that leftover piece of toast first and slathered (yes, slathered) honey on it and wolfed it down. Ah, good times.

  26. Jazz- Thank you for at least being open-minded enough to consider bi-toastiality. It’s much appreciated. I disagree about the drippy peanut-butter, but that’s okay.

    Trashee – Have you ever actually eaten Spam – actually?

    Geewits – Oh! My! God! This is all just getting totally out of hand. Toasting the butter right into the bread? Whatever next??

    Pinklea – We used to get the same thrill from my Dad’s day-old sandwiches. If he didn’t eat all of his lunch or went out for lunch he’d bring the leftover sandwiches home and whoever got to him first would get to snarf down those slightly dried up sandwiches.

  27. There is more cold toast eaters than just my aunt? (gasp) I had no idea it was widespread.

    If it because of some calamity, say an ill-timed, not-ignored phone call, the toast can be microwaved to soften and then retoasted to get to just the right amount of crispy heat again.

  28. CTE is an abomination. I can’t get over anyone wanting their toast to be hard and crunchy. Eat a bag of croutons if you’re going for crunchy. Or I have some stale bread you can have. I usually save it for the ducks, but it’s free to anyone who wants it. Yuck.

    “Slather” is an icky word. I also dislike “slacks” and “cranky”. When I become World President I’ll get rid of all three of those. The first one is a favour to you, XUP. You owe me one.

    (Also, my latest and greatest blog post is about you. Be very afraid!)

  29. Right, I have to jump in here now. I am neither English (perish the thought!) nor Protestant (more sort of wishy-washy atheistish) but will defend to the last my right to have toast that is CRISPY! If you apply butter to hot toast, it melts and you have hot soggy bread, which is uncontrollable and has to be eaten at speed if you want to avoid clothing-related disasters. WHEREAS if you let the toast cool just a little, you have still slightly warm, structurally stable, crispy goodness that you can eat at your leisure without the need for protective clothing.

    And BTW what is a toaster oven? I don’t think we have those in Scottish Land.

  30. Wow. Hmmmm. The things we debate! I don’t really care if my toast is warm or hot, but I definitely like it well done, and preferably dry. I also toast my bread for sandwiches, it’s the only way the poor thing can handle all of the drippy tomatoes and pepperoncini and pickle slices I must pile on.


  31. Pearl – Microwaved and re-toasted? Gadzooks. See what problems you WTEs cause yourselfs. Bless your auntie and her civilized toast-eating ways.

    Maven – Thanks for getting rid of slather for me. I rather like slacks and cranky, though. And thanks for the voluminous praise on your blog. Too bad about your soggy toast eating ways or we could become great friends.

    Loth – You don’t have toaster ovens in Scotland? Gee. They’re tiny ovens,usually a bit smaller than a microwave (you have those, right?). They have an upper and lower element and you can bake or broil stuff or heat stuff up in there just like in a real oven; or you can turn on the “toast” feature and toast your bread if, for some reason, you don’t have or don’t like your regular toaster. And THANK YOU so much for telling these people how toast is really made.

    Jacquie – Like Jazz, I want to thank you for at least being bitoastial and not narrow minded like the rest of these boors.

  32. I’m not sure we can ever be friends now—you and your cold toast. What kind of person does that? It HAS to be hot to melt the butter, the peanut butter and/or the jelly. Next thing you know you’re going to tell me you don’t like your bacon crispy. Or your fake bacon (you don’t eat meat, right?). Sigh.

  33. Bandobras – Not at all. Some of us don’t depend on inanimate objects to provide warmth in our lives is all.

    Mo – What’s all this emphasis on melting stuff? Why does everything have to melt? I like my jelly gelatinous. My peanut butter, buttery, my butter resting softly on my toast. Why does everything have to disappear into the bread????? And ya, I like my fake bacon fairly crispy. I like crunchy things, so sue me.

    Geewits – Not for having opinions, but for calling those of us without the same opinion crazy or insane or abominators. You didn’t, so I’m sorry I put that boor comment to you. I meant all you WTEs in general. I’m sure you’d be happy to allow us to live our lives in peace.

    Mary G – And how do you like YOUR toast?

  34. I think I scared the wits out of my cousin the first time I came into the kitchen one morning and saw her waving the toast to get it to cool faster. I screamed and grabbed them out of her hands and frantically slathered (I hate the word too, but it is so sptly descriptive in this case) the butter on it before it could no longer melt in.

    It takes special skill and a degree in chemistry of butter meltability to get the right crispiness retained on the bottom of the toast. I’ll teach you when we get to France, where it seems they know bupkis for Real Toast.

  35. Cold toast? Isn’t that an oxymoron? People actually eat cold toast? What’s the point?

    We have a toaster oven for all our toasting needs, and we butter the bread BEFORE it goes in the toaster.

    Huh. Cold toast.
    For real?

  36. Really this is so silly next you’ll be saying that some people like cold soup. It just ain’t right and we can’t give in to the crazies every time they claim they should have the right to do what they want.
    It’s a perversion of the way nature intended things to be.
    We didn’t invent fire so we could have things cold.

  37. Obama Toast: Totally freaking me out.

    I’ve got a new one for you. I toast my bread, let it cool down and then pour cream of mushroom soup over it. So is it hot or cold? Don’t know, but it’s delicious.

  38. i never considered CTE option, but i like it. i especially like the idea that you can spread things easier. one of my biggest peeves is when the bread rips when you spread peanut butter. i might prefer the WTE for butter melting properties b/c i like melted in butter.

  39. Since I love peanut butter on toast, I always let the toast cool first…or else my peanut butter just ends up all runny and ruined and not the thick, peanut-buttery goodness God intended.

    There’s also just something about the texture and feel and sound of cold toast. So. Much. Better. And really? The fact I eat my toast cold speaks of its importance to me considering my love for IMMEDIATELY STUFFING FOOD IN MY FACE.

    Sign me up for the CTE group therapy appointment, I guess?

    OMG, Cedarflame. “Big crouton.” HAHA!


  40. Violetsky – You have so much to teach me. It’s a good thing we have decades of doing nothing but lounging by the beach next to our villa. But I really thought you, of all people, would be on the cold toast side. (I feel so alone)

    CP – Oh, you’re like Geewits with her pre-buttered toast. And YES!! COLD TOAST. The point is that the bread is crispy and crunchy – like Melba toast or crackers only bigger and more flavourful.

    Bandobras – I do occasionally eat cold soup. I’ll never forget this cold, slightly gelled consommé they served in the Bahamas before dinner every day. It was awesome.

    Sheri – What about the toast you eat with your breakfast? Is that cooled down, too? I think you have cold toast leanings you might want to explore. And the Obama toast – don’t freak out too much, people make those deliberately with some sort of laser torch thing. You can also buy special doo-hickies that scorch any design you want into your bread.

    Cedar – It could be a really big crouton if you toasted lots of delicious herbs and spices into it.

    Geewits – Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with croutons.

    Leah – Oh Leah, bless your soul. Please give the cold toast option a try. Butter doesn’t have to be melty to be delicious. Nice cold butter curls spread on crispy, crunchy toast. You don’t need anything else. Give ‘er a try.

    Lesley – I love you. I love you. I love you. I was so afraid, when I saw your name in the comments that you were going to be on Mo’s side and lambaste me for being a toast pervert, too. Now I’m so delightfully surprised and happy, I can’t begin to express myself. So it’s you, me, Loth and Meanie firmly on the CTE’s side. Jazz and Jacquie who are bi-toastal and then there are all the other coldtoastophobes who are horrified at the idea of not slathering crap on hot toast so it all sinks in and soggifies their bread and dribbles stuff all over their clothes. What an adventure it’s been.

  41. See, that’s the thing. Our toast is equal parts crunchy AND warm. If I wanted to eat cold butter on a hard cracker, I would. 😉

    The only exception I have to “buttering before toasting” is with peanut butter. I put the bread in the toaster oven and then pull it out immediately to SLATHER (heh) on the peanut butter so that it has a chance to melt and become wonderful melty peanutbuttery goodness. My husband LOVES the crust that forms on top of the molten lava peanut butter when you do it the other way around, but I burn my mouth EVERY time.

    Either way, warm toast is not limp, soggy toast. I’ve never dripped toppings on my clothes. I have noticed, however, the the crumbs are practically uncontrollable the colder the toast.

    Cold AND messy? No thanks! 😉

  42. CP – Feel free to continue enjoying your weird toast and I shall continue to enjoying my uncontrollably crumby toast. Deal?

    Charlene – Hey, your comment #50!! Congratulations. I’m looking forward to the French bread.

  43. XUP and Lesley: The two of you can have each other with your cold toast weirdness. Melty is good. Soft and warm is heaven. (Okay, this is starting to sound like porn).

  44. Mo – Ya, well you can keep your soft, warm “toast”. Lesley and I like ours hard and loud.

    Jobthingy – Boring…. I’ll make you some toast sometime and convert you

  45. WTE. Nothing better than the smell of butter melting into hot toast. Oozing into every crumb. Dripping down your chin with that first bite. God that sounds delicious.

  46. Re: your query, I do like bread of all kinds. And my husband has been making all our bread since he discovered cooking last year. There’s nothing like a slice of warm bread, fresh out of the oven. Except if you’ve been put off it by the chemo. So I do expect to go back to it when my taste recovers. I know my taste is gradually getting back to normal because I have a tiny glass of wine every couple of days and each time I do, it tastes a little more normal. But I still can’t drink much of it. Maybe by the Summer. Wine and bread – two ancient staples that didn’t taste right. Interesting.

  47. Gurlnextdoor – Weeeeeell. Okaaaaay. Enjoy! But please do not judge us normal people who like to eat our toast the normal way. Thank you.

    Julia – How about cheese? Bread and wine and cheese?

  48. Ok, while nursing myself back to health the last couple of days, I decided to do my own testing.

    Warm toast:
    * is ready to eat sooner
    * butter melts on it
    * more readily absorb honey so that it doesn’t flow off the sides getting all over the place

    Cold toast:
    * you have to wait for it to cool
    * butter doesn’t melt on it
    * honey readily flowed off the edge all over the plate and my shirt
    * makes that scaring noise that XUP finds so satisfying

    Even with all the toast accessories that you can buy, I think I’m a WTE.