In the Seattle newspaper the Stranger, a writer named Bethany Jean Clement expounded at length upon the reasons to disdain toast as a craft item. Noting that the cost of a slice or two of artisanal toast could buy a whole loaf of bread, she explained, “Part of the moral outrage here is economic: Toast is meant to be a thrifty food, meant to make homespun, happy use of otherwise less-than-optimally-fresh bread,” and she points out that French toast in French is pain perdu, meaning, literally, “lost bread” that would otherwise be fed to the birds… And “the sense of perversity” goes even deeper, Clement argues: “Toast is home, toast is hearth.… Toast is…the first thing you learn to make.… Even a completely incompetent cook can make this one perfect thing."
As a completely incompetent cook who would never in a million years be able to whip up dinner for a professional food critic, Bethany might be talking about me there. Pretty sure I've made her cinnamon toast before. Pretty sure I nailed it.
In the case of artisanal toast, the backlash seems directed more at the societal phenomenon it evinces than at the food itself. Who doesn’t like toast? The economic and moral objections to it could be used against many of the things we consume in restaurants—coffee, for instance—and Clement admits that the toast she sampled at Tallulah's, a café in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, was excellent. Artisanal toast is hardly the first harbinger of our food obsession, or even necessarily the most egregious, but it's become a scapegoat for a growing, broader cultural backlash; the toast that broke the camel's back.