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Jan 15 2014

Artisanal Toast?

Apparently, there’s an emerging food fad for toast arising in the wealthy burbclaves of Silicon Valley, and the linked story traces it back to one woman and a couple of small cafes. It’s an interesting story, and also rather encouraging — the woman uses her cafes to help manage her mental illness.

But the story is wrong. There are plenty of places with great toast.

Come on out to Morris, Minnesota. Go for breakfast at Don’s Cafe. The toast there is legendary.

88 comments

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  1. 1
    richardelguru

    You mean it squirts out of the ground??
    Or did I read that wrong :-)

  2. 2
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    First link ess kaput. Does toast mean something different in the US? Over here it’s just crispy bread, and a normal part of breakfast. Not something to get too het up about.

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    That’s the point. It’s just toast. Make it with good bread and toast it just right, and it’s very tasty…and a common item at Midwestern diners. But apparently in San Francisco you can call it artisan toast and charge $4/slice to overpaid tech geeks.

  4. 4
    brucemartin

    So, where’s the best place to go in Morris for a coconut?
    ;-)

  5. 5
    purestevil

    Perhaps people are waking up to the message of Heywood Banks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHptn_3RyYE

  6. 6
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @PZ

    I agree, toast can be tasty… but that’s just a rip off. Which I see now was kind of your point.

  7. 7
    Big Boppa

    There’s a place on Route 45 in Birnamwood, WI called Truck’s Place Restaurant that my wife and I always stop at on the way to our place in Eagle River. Breakfast there is just as good as any small diner I’ve ever been to in the US but their home made bread is definitely the main event. Depending on the special of the day you can get a 1″ thick slab of white, wheat or marble rye toasted brown and covered with fresh Wisconsin butter. I like to put my over-easy eggs on top and let the yolk ooze in.

  8. 8
    Big Boppa

    Forgot to mention above. Breakfast for two at Truck’s can cost about as much as a couple of pieces of toast, a la carte, at those SF yuppy joints. And you probably won’t need to eat lunch that day.

  9. 9
    Moggie

    That’s a nice story, and I wish her well. But this:

    “Flaunting your wealth has been elevated to new lows,” wrote the author, Jolie O’Dell.

    How do you elevate something downwards?

  10. 10
    dmcclean

    I’m shocked and somewhat disappointed that there is no Jesus toast in this post.

  11. 11
    borax

    Applying heat to bread makes it delicious? Will wonders ever cease? I wonder if butter will make this toasted bread even more delightful.

  12. 12
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    That’s it, I’m done with this country. I couldn’t even finish the article because this is the most ridiculous fucking thing I’ve ever heard.

  13. 13
    Dunc

    But apparently in San Francisco you can call it artisan toast and charge $4/slice to overpaid tech geeks.

    Good. I strongly support the redistribution of money away from those who obviously have far too much for their own good.

  14. 14
    Holms

    From the linked article:

    How long before an article appears in Slate telling people all across America that they’re making toast all wrong?

    He snarks, HE SCORES!

  15. 15
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Not that I don’t support fleecing the “more money than brains” crowd, but there is something especially stomach churning about reading an article about designer fucking toast when there are millions of Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits and when SNAP benefits are being cut.

  16. 16
    Holms

    Oh and Moggie, I believe that was an attempt at some hipster-ish allegedly ironic wording.

  17. 17
    richardelguru

    Moggie

    “Flaunting your wealth has been elevated to new lows,” wrote the author, Jolie O’Dell.

    How do you elevate something downwards?

    She’s using a rather good rhetorical device called ἀντίθέσις.
    It obviously worked because it got your attention.

  18. 18
    richardelguru

    Holms got there first, but it’s much older than the hipsters :-)

  19. 19
    richardelguru

    Also, Moggie, have you never used a down elevator :-D

  20. 20
    mothra

    “The toast there is legendary.”

    The Department of Tourism in North Dakota has this slogan “North Dakota- Legendary.” If North Dakota equals legendary and toast equals legendary then North Dakota equals toast.

    (true politically and repidly becoming true environmentally).

  21. 21
    magistramarla

    I read the entire article, and I found it to be uplifting. We used to live about 100 miles from San Francisco, and we made quarterly trips to the city for my doctor appointments at UCSF.
    I fell in love with that city. I truly loved the funky little shops like the one featured in the article.
    We certainly aren’t wealthy or hipster – just a couple of middle-aged adventurers- but we would happily pay $4 for a piece of this young woman’s toast, for the fun experience and to support what she is doing with her business.
    I think that this is what makes SF so special. People like the lady who runs Trouble can do something worthwhile and be accepted in that city. We used to wander around the city, and I never felt unsafe.
    Even the homeless people in the park were friendly and nonthreatening. We once wandered all over a fun little neighborhood just to find the cool little bookstore that had been written up in our local paper.
    We always stayed in a little Days Inn that was more like a European inn than an American motel, and we had a favorite bar, a favorite Italian restaurant, and a favorite crepes place in that neighborhood.

    We live in Texas now, and I barely feel safe in my own home, and I live out in the suburbs. On New Year’s Eve, a young college girl who was home to visit her parents was stabbed to death while jogging in a park right down the street. There are murders, arson and fatal accidents reported daily.
    After living on the Central Coast of California, this is a huge shock to me. Where we lived, a single murder in a bar was talked about for months and the bar closed.
    Reading this article made me miss California and made me even more determined to go back there when the hubby retires.

  22. 22
    moarscienceplz

    Vital correction:
    San Francisco is NOT Silicon Valley! SF is weird, SF is exciting, SF is wonderful but it is not and never has been part of the Silicon Valley culture. Maybe there are some high tech engineers working there, but true Valley girls and boys don’t eat $3 toast. They eat 8 hour old all-meat pizza.

  23. 23
    myeck waters

    How long before an article appears in Slate telling people all across America that they’re making toast all wrong?

    Their Toast Tastes Amazing. How They Make it That Way Will Blow Your Mind.

  24. 24
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Most of the worlds starves and some wealthy Americans can afford to take what some might consider a staple food, call it ‘artisanal’ and pay nearly 5$ for it.

    On top of everything, and as if the world weren’t already an awful place with precious few niceties left, I can read about the indifferent indulgence of people at least as well off as me contributing to making the world worse by paying ridiculous sums of money for warm, dry, twice cooked bread (bread, at that, which indulges an inflated price for basic staple foods).

    I wonder when this will reach Toronto? In time, probably, for the fade of the very high-priced Mexican food fad -imported from Chicago.

    I want out. I don’t care how unrealistic it is, I want Stephen Baxter’s Ark and I want it now. Just get me off this bloody rock.

  25. 25
    awakeinmo

    @magistramarla @21

    I’m with you. I would pay a little more for her particular toast and coconuts, just to support what she’ trying to do.
    I also have to wonder, how many of the folks that are flabbergasted at 4 dollar toast regularly pay more than that for a coffee at Starbuck’s?

  26. 26
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    I should add, before I seem to be too cynical, that I did take note of Giulietta Carrelli’s story. It’s hartening and it’s a good thing she was able to ground herself and deal successfully with her mental illness.

    It’s so very too bad that what seems to have been a positive thing for one person, filled with meaning and shared to improve the lives of others is being taken, literally, for all it’s worth and sold as a hipster trend for people comfortably rich enough to critique the fineness of toast.

    Perhaps, I’m not too cynical after all.

  27. 27
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    For the record, I balk at paying $4 for a cup of shitty coffee, too.

    Thing is, the thing that is going to ensue Trouble‘s continued survival isn’t the “toast craze” and I’m willing to bet good money that the owner knows this (otherwise she’d offer more than just cinnamon & sugar on the toast). It will survive or fall as a coffee shop.

    This could very much as easily been a feel-good story about coffee, but instead the focus started out on the other business selling ridiculously priced toast, because we’re supposed to care about what the nouveau riche are frittering there money away on today.

  28. 28
    Inaji

    awakeinmo:

    I also have to wonder, how many of the folks that are flabbergasted at 4 dollar toast regularly pay more than that for a coffee at Starbuck’s?

    I would not pay four bucks for a slice of toast, and I have never been in a Starbuck’s. Don’t go assuming hypocrisy.

  29. 29
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Thomathy: I’m right there with you.

  30. 30
    anuran

    But is it made by wizened artisans? I want the real thing, not some hipster kid with artificial spray-on wizening.

  31. 31
    Moggie

    Carrelli is 34, and it was only in the past two years that she was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, though she has suffered with it since high school. It’s shocking that she’s suffered so long, undiagnosed. It’s great that she’s finally found a way to mostly keep her condition under control, but it seems a rather fragile existence: what if the business fails?

  32. 32
    playonwords

    http://youtu.be/WJmKStqugMc

    A song dedicated to toast

    Also my favourite toast – peel 1 clove of garlic, rub over the freshly cooked, warm toast. It will rub to nearly nothing.Eat and experience delight. Cancel any appointments you have for 2 or 3 hours, change your clothes, wash your hair

  33. 33
    Johnny Pez

    I blame Jenny Everywhere.

  34. 34
    blondie

    Thursday Next! http://www.jasperfforde.com/thursdaynext/toast.html

  35. 35
    unclefrogy

    I can’t really afford $4 toast or $5 coffee often I don’t begrudge others doing so.
    Here’s the thing if we are going to be resorting to this market based trickle down economy with all of the “Job Creators” getting all the “breaks” then we have to have things like $4 toast how else is anything going to trickle down if those with the money at the top do not spend the fucking money!

    From the linked article it is plain that it is not really about the gastronomic experience of toast at all. San Francisco is an unusual place it is a big important modern city with little air pollution and no freeways or 6 lane streets carving it to pieces to many hills. It is easy to walk across the whole place.Property and rents in SF are expensive it is a very geographically constrained place with a very high premium, so $4 toast is probably the lowest price that would pay the bills.

    What the article highlights is the city is very conducive to neighborhoods and local hangouts. It is not like a normal modern American commuter city. In contrast to our always on internet connected world where any thing and everything is just a click away, where people are in contact with others a world away and not just the mentally ill winos are walking around haranguing the air of invisible people.
    It is a social experience here and now with live people to talk to even strangers.
    Simple fare, unpretentious atmosphere and nice people, a kind of community experience that probably would not work in a Mall near you.

    uncle frogy

  36. 36
    Daniel Schealler

    My favourite toast:

    1) 2 slices of your favorite bread
    2) Toast bread to your satisfaction
    3) Spread half an avocado on each slice
    4) Season with salt and pepper to taste
    5) Noms. :3

  37. 37
    Daniel Schealler

    Also: I’ve seen some disparaging references to $5 coffee here.

    Just so I understand, what kind of coffee are we talking about? As a Kiwi, $5 for a decent cup of coffee sounds reasonable. But then again, we have a pretty strong coffee culture over here – as a general rule, we do coffee very well.

    I’ve been to LA. The barely filtered tepid brown water with grit in it that was served as ‘coffee’ wasn’t. $5 for that would have been ridiculous.

  38. 38
    stripeycat

    Is the problem that it’s $4 for a simple, plain snack? I don’t know what US cost of living is like, but £3-4 for a slice of homemade cake or something in a cafe sounds fairly reasonable (note, I don’t often buy that sort of thing because I can’t afford it, but it seems a fair price). Yes, the toast is going to be a lower overhead, but the actual price of ingredients, preparation and cooking is a small proportion of most restaurant costs – the staffing, rent, rates, insurance etc. will all be the same regardless, and will make up the majority of the price-per-serving. There seems to be some sort of snobbery that it’s OK to pay someone else for really fancy food, but not so much for ordinary, commonplace dishes.

  39. 39
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    There are plenty of places with great toast

    Yeah, from my toaster.

  40. 40
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    There seems to be some sort of snobbery that it’s OK to pay someone else for really fancy food, but not so much for ordinary, commonplace dishes.Yeah …that’s not close the problem.

    I will give to you the benefit that you haven’t had to experience what happens when hipsterism meets food. It is a disgusting indulgence of the well-to-do of the world (read: middle-income earners of the developed world and up) in carving out a portion of the food market (and thereby basic crops) for obnoxious trends at ridiculous prices. It is both a product of the gluttony, fantastic wealth (really, the privilege) of the developed world and the reciprocation of those things.

    I would go so far as to call it ‘poverty tourism of food’ in some cases (fucking toast!), all without having to leave an über rich (by global standards) urban enclave of hipster perfection. I sneer. I hate.

  41. 41
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Total quote and blockquote fail.

    stripeycat @ #38M

    There seems to be some sort of snobbery that it’s OK to pay someone else for really fancy food, but not so much for ordinary, commonplace dishes.

    Yeah …that’s not close the problem.

    I will give to you the benefit that you haven’t had to experience what happens when hipsterism meets food. It is a disgusting indulgence of the well-to-do of the world (read: middle-income earners of the developed world and up) in carving out a portion of the food market (and thereby basic crops) for obnoxious trends at ridiculous prices. It is both a product of the gluttony, fantastic wealth (really, the privilege) of the developed world and the reciprocation of those things.

    I would go so far as to call it ‘poverty tourism of food’ in some cases (fucking toast!), all without having to leave an über rich (by global standards) urban enclave of hipster perfection. I sneer. I hate.

  42. 42
    stripeycat

    Ok, yes, I’m totally failing to get. Is the problem that they then claim that the only legitimate toast is $4 a slice? From where I’m standing, if you’re drinking in an expensive cafe and want to eat something, I don’t see why toast is worse than cupcakes or fancy patisserie.

  43. 43
    Daniel Schealler

    Ok, yes, I’m totally failing to get. Is the problem that they then claim that the only legitimate toast is $4 a slice? From where I’m standing, if you’re drinking in an expensive cafe and want to eat something, I don’t see why toast is worse than cupcakes or fancy patisserie.

    You’re trying to get a rational angle on an emotional reaction. It doesn’t work that way.

    Methinks that this is the sort of thing that either pisses you off or it doesn’t.

    It doesn’t piss me off. But then again, I am in the privileged group of people that is able to spend $4 on a piece of toast every now and again if I wanted to do so. From my reading of what people are saying here, that’s a big part of the problem.

    Note: I wouldn’t spend $4 on just a piece of toast just because I could. That’s nuts. If I cared about it that much I’d just buy fresh loaf of nice bread for around the same price, carve of some nice thick slabs, and make my own damn toast using the oven.

    Which isn’t to say I’m not going to waste money on food at a cafe, because I do that all the time. But I’m going to get something a damn way nicer than a piece of toast.

  44. 44
    stripeycat

    Ah. I think I get, maybe. Being angry at people who are a) wealthy enough to eat out, who b) then choose relatively “normal” foods, because it suggests they’re not aware enough of the luxury value of a). Possibly also with a side of making it harder to get normal food of passable quality at less silly prices.

  45. 45
    carlie

    Their Toast Tastes Amazing. How They Make it That Way Will Blow Your Mind.

    One Weird Trick To Make Great Toast

    I am impressed with the woman in the story and how she’s built her business. I would guess that most of her regular clientele are there for the experience and the social nature of the place, not the toast itself.

    I don’t have any more problem with $4 toast than I do with the fancy coffee or the older cupcake craze or the current cronut phase. It’s no different than paying more money for a fancy car, or buying makeup at the department store instead of the pharmacy, or anything else people with money do that seems stupid because there are cheaper versions available, which is pretty much everything in existence.

    The hipster attitude where they’re all ironically enjoying things that regular people have to do as a matter of course as if it’s an exotic game, that’s what I mind. (I’m looking right at you, Mackelmore.)

  46. 46
    carlie

    *Also, when they act as though nobody is enjoying the food correctly unless partaking in the artisinal special pricey version.

  47. 47
    stripeycat

    carlie – thanks, that makes sense – I’ve never quite understood what hipsters were/were about.

    The hipster attitude where they’re all ironically enjoying things that regular people have to do as a matter of course as if it’s an exotic game, that’s what I mind.

    So the problem is not that they want to eat cafe-toast, but that they feel that eating cafe-toast is making some statement other than “I’m hungry and fancy some toast (and can afford it here)” and that that statement makes them clever or special. There were a few (very sheltered) spoiled brats at Uni like that, who seemed to think eating beans-on-toast was an exciting journey of spiritual development, but they had it knocked out of them in short order. If it looked stupid and immature to my 17-year-old self, you can be sure it was pretty damn stupid and immature.

  48. 48
    carlie

    stripeycat – yes, that’s what it is, at least to me (some people have other viewpoints on what they don’t like bout it). Do you know the song Thrift Shop? That’s a good example. To be honest, I have trouble not liking it in some ways; it’s catchy, and the background music is a little more interesting than the usual pop song, and some of the lyrics are cute. But what it’s doing is talking about thrift stores as a place to get funky fun costumes, things that they can wear to make a statement about being cool because of being vintage and being anti-establishment by not buying clothes at the mall and such. But really, thrift stores are there for people who can’t afford to buy clothes at other places. Going to the thrift store is a fun romp when you’re getting a weird outfit for a weekend party; it’s not fun when you have to hope you find jeans in your size because otherwise you have nothing to wear to school. And if there is something cool there but a hipster nabbed them before you got there, too damned bad, no clothes for you. They’re playing with things that other people don’t have a choice about, and being pretentious and snobby about it at the same time.

  49. 49
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Hipsterism isn’t the culture of only 17 year old university students. It’s adults who open these restaurants.

    I don’t even have a problem as such with the smugness. It’s perfectly fine by me if someone wants to act like both an asshole and a douche while eating the right toast the right way at the right place and looking down their nose at the person that merely eats toast. I’m not making an argument against the aesthetics, although I could do that too (skinny jeans and faux plaid and snooty attitudes and second-hand clothes*) even if I don’t see the point when there’s so many more substantive problems with the culture.

    No, the problem is with the privilege that allows that smugness. It’s the hipster irony of appearing to be aloof of the problems in the world and putting that on display by eating toast at near 5$ a slice while believing that this act somehow highlights a particular problem or does anything at all to address or redress it when in fact it perpetuates it. The problem isn’t the toast, it’s everything around it. I”m not saying that eating near 5$ a slice toast is necessarily thinking that way, but if there’s anything about hipster culture that is definitive, it’s the appearance of caring about the major problems of the world.

    And that’s all it is: appearance. The 100 miles food fad. The organic food fad. The gluten free fad. The low cost food fad. The recycled clothing fad. I could go on. The culture is defined by these fads, all of which ultimately buy into the capitalism, commercialism, corporate branding, slave worker garment making, environment destroying, greed, gluttony and so much else of the developed world. The only thing ironic about hipster irony is that it’s supposed to be ironic. I’m reminded of a particular Alanis Morissette whenever I think about it. It shares the quality of being itself ironic.

    So, yeah, a person might roll their eyes at near 5$ toast, but I see something so much more problematic and insidious than rolled eyes can address.

    I might pay too much for a cup of tea (a cup of bad tea, too). I eat and drink and dance at the hipster bars, cafes and restaurants that dominate my home. I live in downtown Toronto. What I don’t do, however, is wax philosophically about a very expensive and very pretty cupcake while pretending that anything about buying and eating it does anything.

    *There’s nothing inherently wrong with second-hand clothes.

  50. 50
    carlie

    …and I will say, in a bit of hipster defense (god), that if something like that catches on then it is possible to have a bit of positive blowback; if you can only afford to eat toast for breakfast, and suddenly toast becomes the Next Big Thing, you might get a little more social leeway on the fact that you’re eating toast and you might not feel quite so bad about it. But it seems any benefit from that can be overshadowed by the fact that you’re eating the wrong kind of toast.

  51. 51
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Carlie, thank you for articulating so well the other problems with hipsterism.

  52. 52
    Inaji

    Carlie:

    They’re playing with things that other people don’t have a choice about

    Like not having enough food to eat, like not even being able to put toast on a table. I’m not sure that most Americans who do have enough to eat, and can spend 4 bucks on a slice of toast because it’s trendy have the slightest idea of just how large and deep the epidemic of hunger is in the States.

  53. 53
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Caine,

    They have absolutely no idea. But the hipsters would pretend too.

  54. 54
    ChasCPeterson

    The organic food fad.

    not (just) a fad

  55. 55
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    It is within hipsterism, ChasCPeterson. It has the added bonus, however, of being indefinable, so it will have legs.

  56. 56
    carlie

    No, the problem is with the privilege that allows that smugness. It’s the hipster irony of appearing to be aloof of the problems in the world and putting that on display by eating toast at near 5$ a slice while believing that this act somehow highlights a particular problem or does anything at all to address or redress it when in fact it perpetuates it.

    That exactly, Thomathy.

  57. 57
    stripeycat

    OK. I’ve been incredibly lucky, in that the only people I knew who thought and behaved like that* were excessively sheltered freshers. I am truly appalled that behaviour I thought the mark of a blithering idiot in an upper-middle-class 18-year-old is socially acceptable for adults in some circles. Ouch.

    * Actually, now I think about it, there are a few crafty types who delight in taking some cheap but functional second hand item and turning it into a useless objet d’art; and regard this as a morally superior act of recycling, rather than an expression of privilege (i.e. that they can afford to buy e.g. cheap crockery to smash for mosaics, or jumpers to cut up for felt ornaments). Arseholes every one of them. Well-intentioned in some cases, but absolutely useless at actually doing anything real for charity or social activism. Is this a related phenomenon, do you think?

    Also, apologies for the threadjack – I live under a social rock, so this is actually teaching me stuff.

  58. 58
    aaronbaker

    Ten or more years ago, SNL featured a made-up NPR cooking show called “Delicious Dish.” One upcoming episode was entitled “A Salute to Toast.” They were more prescient than anybody knew!

  59. 59
    aaronbaker

    One more thing: I don’t know if anyone else has made this discovery, too, but toast and plain yogurt are delicious together. Either I dip the toast in yogurt or spread the yogurt on the toast like butter, and it’s great.

  60. 60
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Apparently, there’s an emerging food fad for toast arising in the wealthy burbclaves of Silicon Valley

    Or, perhaps, there’s just suddenly a certain amount of media coverage?

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/jan/15/posh-toast-costs-250-slice

    Or, maybe (no hipster-hating involved), it all kicked off four years ago?

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Things-Toast-Meals-grill-sliced/dp/0091928303

    As a Kiwi, $5 for a decent cup of coffee sounds reasonable. But then again, we have a pretty strong coffee culture over here

    Word. The most strident coffee fan I ever knew was an (adopted) Kiwi who demanded Gwilym Davies flat whites.

    (Personally, I’d go for the espresso, which was also fantastic. But I’m purist that way.)

  61. 61
    pfooti

    As a resident in the outer sunset of SF, which is pretty much the opposite of a burbclave in the classical, neo-cyberpunk sense of the term, and a constant customer of Trouble’s Toast, I have to say: it’s an excellent piece of toast. It’s an inch or more thick, great sourdough flavor, with a lot of cinnamon and sugar on it.

    It’s basically a breakfast pastry in scope and fillingness, but it’s toast. I’d say that $4 is hardly ridiculous in this kind of situation.

    Granting that the other cafes in the city may demand ridicule (because, they’re the other who must always be mercilessly mocked because we fear the other), Trouble’s toast and coffee are a great way to start the day. Grab a piece and wander down to the ocean and wait for pelicans to fly by.

  62. 62
    Inaji

    pfooti:

    Trouble’s toast and coffee are a great way to start the day. Grab a piece and wander down to the ocean and wait for pelicans to fly by.

    There’s nothing quite like the voice of privilege to make a person sound like a colossal asshole.

  63. 63
    carlie

    I was thinking last night about what it was that touched me off so much about the whole hipster thing, and it comes down to two things for me: one is the obvious unexamined privilege involved in their appropriation of working-class markers I already mentioned, the other is just the concept of ironic enjoyment of a thing. Ironic enjoyment is saying that this thing is not normally worthy of enjoyment, that in any other situation you’d be making fun of someone for liking it. Well, fuck that. You like what you like, and there’s nothing magic in culture that makes “you shouldn’t like this thing” have any weight to decent people. Ironic enjoyment is just another form of bullying. “Ha ha, I’m wearing this crazy trucker hat, aren’t I cool” is the same as saying “Truckers and their stupid hats are dumb, ha ha”.

    So bringing it back around, if you buy $4 toast because it’s $4 toast and you think that’s funny or the popular thing to do, and you wouldn’t eat toast otherwise, then fuck off. If you’re eating it because you can afford to and you love toast, then carry on.

  64. 64
    pfooti

    Caine,

    There’s nothing quite like the voice of privilege to make a person sound like a colossal asshole.

    Do me a favor and unpack that a bit, will you? I’m curious about what exactly we’re talking about here. The well-written article about a woman selling toast and coconuts in a cafe she built as a way to deal with her mental illness? My buying said toast, because it’s something to go with the coffee and a danish/donut-analogue?

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m speaking from a position of privilege here. I’m not one of those tech people in san francisco that people love to vilify, but I’m certainly employed, white, cis, able-bodied, middle-class, and so forth. I’m just not certain what transforms into “colossal asshole”, but maybe that’s me.

  65. 65
    pfooti

    Ironic enjoyment is saying that this thing is not normally worthy of enjoyment, that in any other situation you’d be making fun of someone for liking it.

    Ah, this makes sense to me Carlie. Whether we label this as “hipsterism” or not – that is a troubling attitude and clearly derives from that kind of privilege. “Look at me, I’m eating toast like a poor person and paying $4 for the opportunity”, is crappy. “Hmm, this is some taaasty toast”, probably isn’t.

    I mean, fancy restaurants serve delicious macaroni and cheese, and “eggs benedict” aren’t that far from “eggs mcmuffin” if you don’t like hollandaise.

    There’s a slippery attitudinal slope in there somewhere. I wear semi-stylish (in my own opinion) chunky-framed glasses. Not ironically, I do this because I can’t see otherwise and I have a large face and big nose and I feel that some prominent eyewear kind of evens it all out. I don’t do it ironically, though, I do it because I need to see. It’s hard to label a thing as “obviously a hipster thing” – more about intentionality than the thing itself.

  66. 66
    carlie

    It’s hard to label a thing as “obviously a hipster thing” – more about intentionality than the thing itself.

    Absolutely. At the risk of even further derail (PLEASE LET’S NOT SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN), there was a large dustup in the near vicinity of here at some point in the not distant past regarding the wearing of a particular type of headgear that is definitely a hipster marker but also happily worn by others who are not at all pleased with being labeled as potentially hipster by their wearing of said headgear. I think that may be the hole that Trouble is falling into – they came up with big fancy toast because they liked it, and are now being unfairly grouped in with all the other cafes who then adopted it with an entirely different intention.

  67. 67
    ck

    People getting upset because toast costs $4: This is why people working in the food service industry in the U.S. are struggling to make ends meet on a wage that doesn’t even begin to pay the bills. $4 toast ought to be the norm, not the San Francisco-based exception.

  68. 68
    ck

    Sorry, I should’ve stated: “This is one of the reasons why people working…” The Walmartification of business and life everywhere has had severe consequences.

  69. 69
    prfesser

    >>Come on out to Morris, Minnesota. Go for breakfast at Don’s Cafe. The toast there is legendary.

    Dammit, none of you understand! Making good toast is a skill that some people never quite master.

    Why, just this week I went out for breakfast at (restaurant’s name withheld). The eggs and sausage were okay, but the toast was underdone! How can anyone be expected to eat RAW TOAST?!?!

    Prfesser

  70. 70
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    ck, I have to wonder if you bothered to read the comments at all. It’s difficult to imagine that you did if you think a 4$ toast fad constitutes ‘Walmartification’ or that were toast to uniformly cost that much it would necessarily translate to better wages for the people serving it.

    Hint: It doesn’t and it doesn’t.

  71. 71
    Dhorvath, OM

    prfesser,

    How can anyone be expected to eat RAW TOAST?!?!

    Was it raw, or lightly toasted? Not that it much matters, I don’t like what most people call toast, so I might actually have enjoyed your recent disappointment.

  72. 72
    feralboy12

    I guess it’s time to open that International House Of Toast restaurant that I had the idea for in the mid-80′s. The fad should last at least as long as the cupcake thing, and the expenses will be much lower.
    I’ve always been ahead of the curve with ideas like this. I hope I haven’t waited too long.

  73. 73
    ck

    The first quarter of the linked story outlined outrage at the ridiculousness of $4 for toast, and Alexandra seemed to echo that sentiment. I was trying to say that people demanding stupidly low prices for things is a part (but not nearly all) of the reason why wages are shitty. High price doesn’t mean the employees won’t be paid crappy wages (I’m under no illusion that the owner couldn’t just be pocketing the additional money), but an emphasis on low price means the employees most certainly will be paid poorly.

    What is truly needed is a much higher minimum wage (along with completely eliminating the paid-in-tips exception) permanently fixed to the rate of inflation, which would force all these prices up anyway. However, complaining about this “high” price (which isn’t all that high) just gives ammo to those who oppose this.

  74. 74
    Moggie

    prfesser:

    How can anyone be expected to eat RAW TOAST?!?!

    Make it steak-flavoured and dudes will try to outdo one another about how raw they like it.

  75. 75
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    stripeycat:

    I don’t see why toast is worse than cupcakes or fancy patisserie.

    Really? Virtually everyone can make a delicious piece of toast at very little cost*. Cupcakes (and other baked goods) require time and skill that, frankly, not everyone has. Plus, we’re talking dessert vs staple food. Desserts by their nature are indulgent. Toast is not.

    But heaven forbid any of us who don’t have the money to waste on ridiculously overpriced food trends be offended by the very concept of a staple being turned into a “craze” for yuppie scum.

    *Note that the toast places didn’t necessarily bake their own bread.

  76. 76
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Virtually everyone can make a delicious piece of toast at very little cost.

    I thought I was special. Well.

  77. 77
    Inaji

    pfooti:

    I’m speaking from a position of privilege here. I’m not one of those tech people in san francisco that people love to vilify, but I’m certainly employed, white, cis, able-bodied, middle-class, and so forth. I’m just not certain what transforms into “colossal asshole”, but maybe that’s me.

    Yes, your privilege fair oozed all over the place. While it’s just wonderful that you are so privileged, did it ever occur to you, given the epidemic of hunger in the U.S., that perhaps instead of spending an high dollar amount for toast, that 5 to 7 bucks could easily buy a loaf or two of bread, a pack of fruit cups or box of granola bars, donated to a local food bank, so more people could actually have a bit to eat, rather than you bragging about your happy privilege in life?

  78. 78
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    When you think about it, spending $4 on toast isn’t really any weirder than spending it on coffee, which also costs almost nothing to make.

  79. 79
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    AE:
    With the exception of blended coffee drinks, sure.

    (I will note that I spend a fair amount on coffee– I use a Keurig– but not nearly as much as going out to get it every morning and it’s because of all the life skills I’ve mastered, making a decent pot of coffee is not among them.)

  80. 80
    pfooti

    Caine:

    Yes, your privilege fair oozed all over the place. While it’s just wonderful that you are so privileged, did it ever occur to you, given the epidemic of hunger in the U.S. … blah blah

    Okay, given that the “one sounds like a colossal asshole” was indeed passive-aggressive-speak for “you’re a colossal asshole” as I had feared, I’ll do the thing I hate when people do. It’s time for the no-pology. I’m sorry that I said a thing that made you think that I’m an asshole, so much so that things, you’re willing to be that egregiously offensive over the fact that I’m a toast-lover. I’m actually pretty surprised about that, but whatever. Did you know I eat toast for breakfast most days, but it’s usually made from bread I baked myself? Is that relevant, or should I be suffering in some way?

    Would it be better if I moved from San Francisco to Iowa? Or how about farther north where I can suffer the cold more? I could sell all my worldly goods (as I’m sure you have already done and donated the proceeds, and are reading this from the internet station in your local library) and wear a hairshirt. How about, instead of working for one of those silicon valley tech startups as I’m qualified to do, I work in education, teaching in schools and working for a nonprofit? Oh wait. I already do that. You know absolutely nothing about what I do and don’t do for the common good. So yeah, keep on auditing my choices. Or not.

    None of that will change the basic fact under analysis: it’s damn good toast, sold in a tiny, local cafe that serves as the personal touchstone of the owner’s struggle with mental illness and addiction. The toast is sold, not in the “wealthy burbclaves of silicon valley”, but in what is still mostly a surfer-and-family neighborhood. Man, this is making me hungry. I’d better go bake a loaf of bread so I can instagram my toast.

  81. 81
    Daniel Schealler

    @pfooti

    Observe the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging.

    I’m in the same privileged category as yourself. The disdain that you (and possibly myself) are likely to receive due to privilege isn’t something either of us are in a position to argue against.

    In my view there are very good reasons for this. But here and now is not a sound time and place for me to try to convince you of this.

    You’re not in the dialectic space that you think you are. You’ve been pushed up a notch and into the more general category of rhetoric. You must attend to how your ethos is interacting with tastes, passions and expectations of your audience.

    Which is to say: There’s not much you can do at this point other than apologize and stop talking.

    Seriously. Just let this one go.

  82. 82
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    None of that will change the basic fact under analysis: it’s damn good toast, sold in a tiny, local cafe that serves as the personal touchstone of the owner’s struggle with mental illness and addiction.

    Except for all of the other places that serve ridiculously marked up toast. That were, you know, mentioned in the article.

    Do try to keep up.

  83. 83
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Actually, scratch that, they weren’t just mentioned in the article, they were the ENTIRE reason for the article. (Artisanal toast! So San Francisco! So twee! ring any bells?)

  84. 84
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I could sell all my worldly goods (as I’m sure you have already done and donated the proceeds, and are reading this from the internet station in your local library) and wear a hairshirt.

    What’s up with these hipsters and their hairshirts?
    *joke emoticon*

  85. 85
    Inaji

    I could sell all my worldly goods (as I’m sure you have already done and donated the proceeds, and are reading this from the internet station in your local library) and wear a hairshirt.

    Or, you could stop being a colossal asshole and be a decent human being who is aware of their privilege. I’m fortunate to be fairly privileged, and I do my best to be a decent human being, like donating to my local food bank every week, when I’m at the grocery store. See, I’d rather spend a few bucks on that so that people who go hungry every fucking day can possibly have something approaching a normal diet, than spend that money on designer toast, then waste all manner of time attempting to justify the stupid designer toast.

    I assume, in your hole of stupidity, that you are unaware of the number of regulars here who find themselves having to depend on food banks for a diet which is still inadequate. Reading posts like yours, stuffed with ego from letter to letter, don’t help.

  86. 86
    unclefrogy

    independent business is not easy probably the most difficult is the restaurant business. we are not talking about Mac-burgers selling toast for $4 these are local businesses why should I care so much about why their businesses are making money, they are. The article referenced the Trouble Cafe as the originator of the toast as major menu choice. I don’t care if her or any the others mentioned customers are wearing mink with retro sneakers she and they found a nice niche and are even expanding the business.
    Yes it is kind of funny trendy things are often funny and seldom have anything about them that is very rational .
    uncle frogy

  87. 87
    herbivrus

    Aw, man. I got all excited, as a Silicon Valley resident, to go out and try some of this vaunted toast. But PZ’s geography is suspect, as not a single location in this story is in Silicon Valley, or even a “wealthy burbclave” of same–they’re all in San Francisco proper, save for one spot in northern Marin County. I guess I’ll have to stick to the regular cheap toast we have here in the Valley. The code monkeys here seem to be more about pizza and In-n-Out burgers, anyway.

  88. 88
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Yeah, unclefrogy, that’s totally what anyone here is saying.

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