Best of Week

A gadget is not going to make you a better cook. Might make things a little easier, eliminate a few dishes, streamline some processes, but you still have to master a few basics and put in the work. A cool gadget can, however, inspire you to make breakfast more often, more creatively, and most importantly—way more awesomely. And 2016 has been a banner, baller year for breakfast gadgets like the 3-in-1 Breakfast Machine that bangs together a griddle, a toaster oven, and a coffee pot; a 2-in-1 Breakfast Sandwich Maker that allows a busy, hungry human to cook and assemble a handheld, multi-component meal without messing up a whole lotta dishes; and a Starbucks Smart Mug that keeps its contents at your desired temperature via an app.

But I’m calling it for the Toasteroid. If the Selfie Toaster had come out in 2016, it would have been a strong contender, but the novelty of “selfie” as a punchline/cultural touchstone/facile millennial putdown feels sorta 2014, and the Toasteroid has swooped in to eat its lunch—er, breakfast. The device, which launched on Kickstarter in August and Indiegogo subsequently with a different set of perks, is a toaster that allows the user to produce images on slices of bread by using an app. The app can be used as a doodle pad, a vehicle for text-based messages, a weather alert, or a bearer of pre-programmed images. Then, Toasteroid’s internal programming receives the message from the smart phone and adjusts each time to burn the image into the surface of the bread at the desired level of brownness. 

A human being could use the medium of toast to convey messages of love to a fellow breakfaster, with whom they were too shy to converse aloud. They might program the Toasteroid from afar, at a safe distance, to facilitate an awkward dialogue about loan repayment or always being so damned late with their portion of the utility bill. It could be used as a collaborative tool—an exquisite corpse story written in the medium of one’s daily bread. It could convey messages from Satan without risking actual toaster possession. 

These things could mostly be accomplished via text message or Post-It, but these things are less (or not at all) edible—let alone as pleasurable as toast. If you wanna get all meta-Marshall McLuhan about it, the Toasteroid could potentially allow the medium to both bear and be the message—which is actually kind of a lot to swallow that earlier in the day. Maybe stick with pictures of unicorns, smiley faces, weather reports, and the toasty smugness that comes from knowing you own the best breakfast gadget of 2016. 

And while the Toasteroid met its Kickstarter and Indiegogo goals like whoa, it's still entirely possible to chip in and have a Toasteroid of your very own delivered in the summer of 2017.