20121108-063241.jpgUTTER PERFECTION

Remember bread machines? There was a time in the 1990s when everybody had one of these. They were considered the best thing since, well…..sliced bread! They first appeared on the scene as a luxury item costing about $300 and I lusted after one but couldn’t justify the cost. By the next Christmas the price had dropped by half and within a few years you could buy one for $50. They were everywhere, in all the stores and were selling like hot cakes.

I love the taste of fresh bread and I adore the smell of baking bread. These machines and I are a natural fit and I still use mine regularly. Call me an enthusiast. Their one flaw as far as I am concerned is the tendency of bread to stick to the “non-stick” paddle in the bottom of the pan. After a while the Teflon wears off and you have to practically eviscerate your loaf to pull it out of the pan. About a year ago I was thinking of buying a new one. I went shopping and I couldn’t find one at any of the usual sources. I got to thinking about it and I realized I hadn’t even seen one or the evidence of one (un-sliced bread) in a long time. So what happened?

My guess is that the ten minutes required to dump some ingredients into the machine is more than most people are willing to invest in a loaf of bread. A loaf of fresh-baked bread is more than enough compensation for ten minutes of my time but that’s me. Frankly, I’m puzzled by this cultural trend. How many of you have bread machines? How often do you use them? If “not often” or “never” is your answer, please tell me why. This is important sociological research. I MUST UNDERSTAND THIS!