A Tale of Two Toast Racks

One toast rack is an elegant silver-plated affair, the other a sombre piece of pottery and both come with their own tale of mortality.

The first toast rack has an oval base which sits daintily on four flattened round electro-plated “feet”. The regular loops to hold the toast are offset, rather than centrally positioned on the oval base. Each toast-supporting loop curves outward from the base describing its own sideways oval: small, then medium, rising to a bigger central one with a curled loop handle, then decreasing in size.

When my great aunt was recuperating after a major car accident, she stayed with my grandmother in what had been their childhood home. My grandmother took her up a breakfast tray each morning and this was the toast rack she used. It always held four neat triangles of white toast. Looking after my great aunt must have reminded my grandmother of the months my great aunt spent in her teens convalescing from TB. With both brothers and a husband lost to the second World War, their sisterly devotion makes sense.

The second toast rack is an altogether different piece, made of pottery by my father it is a little, dark blue-glazed wooded scene, where small and uneven pointy trees with faces, form lines for the toast to lean on. It looks like a cemetery and at one end is a tiny memorial to burned toast! I’m not sure if many people do it now: but my childhood mornings were often greeted by the scratchy sound of a knife scraping off the charred layer on an overdone piece of bread.

My grandmother scraped her toast on the brick path by the back door. Burned toast was a regular occurrence in my childhood and my dad’s quirky toast rack celebrates this. Both racks, so different,  would have similar tales to tell of burned toast.