A new display Making Toast Through The Ages opened today in St. Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Tor. This follows the cleanup operation that was necessary following the recent no entry vortex encountered by Percival Angstrom.
This fascinating display charts the development of toast since medieval times. Delicious toasted wholemeal bread has always been part of Glastonbury’s history – indeed it appears in the town’s coat of arms. The Domesday Book refers to the toasted sustenance that pilgrims enjoyed in the town of Glastonbury before making the final barefoot ascent to the tor summit. Visitors to the display learn that no mention is made of butter or marmalade in those early times – these innovations were to arrive in the early fourteenth century during Edward II’s reign.
Sponsored by Breville, the display includes a variety of gas and electrical toasters that have been used since 1912.
The most compelling part of the display is the lecture in one corner of St. Michael’s Tower by Uther Henge, the top mystical consultant at the National Trust who leaves his duties at the gift shop twice a day to fascinate visitors.
The lecture titled Toast, the Tor, Past Present and Future leads visitors through the historical artefacts on display, and includes advice on modern toast-making techniques. For example, visitors are taught the “double-insertion method”, in which they learn how to set the intensity level for their toaster to half its normal value, and flip their toast half way through the process, leading to an incredibly evenly browned surface.
Such techniques are not necessary when using the Breville Toastmatic 4000 which uses modern technology to dynamically brown the surface of bread and deliver a perfect slice of toast every time. This is one of the models of toaster available in the gift shop as you leave the tor.
Uther Henge commented “Obviously safety is first and foremost for us. When they enter the display area we issue visitors with safety goggles so that there is no risk of toast popping out of toasters and causing an injury. We also confiscate any knives we find during our routine search because there have been incidents where people have inserted them into the display toasters to try and remove bread that gets stuck.”