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The Encyclopaedia of Toast

After Dancing Henry Almanac founder Sir Henry Drummond’s tragic death in the spring of 1977, several of his unreleased writings, his photograph albums and his comprehensive library of toenail clippings were released to the public. Among them was a project that Sir Henry had begun in 1969 with a view to it one day being as big, if not bigger, than the Dancing Henry Almanac.

From the fragments we have left it is hard to imagine how much success The Encyclopaedia of Toast would really have enjoyed, but based on the glimpses we have into this fascinating project the opinion here at the Dancing Henry editorial office is that it would have been considerable.

Amongst the articles that only survive in note form is Toast: Through the Empire and Beyond. A potted history of the impact toast has had across the globe, it describes such historical events as the great American Toast Rush of the 1840s – after which toast prospectors would search far and wide for abandoned toasters, and then sift through the crumb trays for even the smallest piece. Thanks to his extensive travel experience, Sir Drummond was also able to make the startling revelation that everything in Australia was not only upside down, but also backwards, topsy-turvy, inside-out and the wrong way round. Among his writings is a fascinating discourse on how Australian toast must be imported in loaves, and is then put into a “breader”. Any unwanted bread can then be sold to other countries around the world – “thus the cycle of toast continues”. Such claims would undoubtedly have upset the rather blinkered world of toast scholarship, and it is perhaps because of this that Sir Henry felt it best to suppress it.

This, however, is the 21st century, and we are now proud to be able to present to you the only piece that survives in full: Sir Henry Q. Drummond’s guide to…

BREADBINS: FINDING THE RIGHT HOME FOR YOUR BREAD

Buying a breadbin is not something you can do one Saturday morning before the cricket whilst wandering lazily into your local kitchenware store. It requires careful thought and attention, and you must be absolutely committed to making the correct choice of breadbin. Here are a few pointers to make sure you get the perfect model for you, and for your bread.

KNOWING WHERE YOU OUGHT TO SHOP IN ORDER TO GET THE RIGHT ONE, AND HOW YOU SHOULDN’T BE LAZY AND BUY A BREADBIN FROM THE FIRST SHOP YOU SEE BUT SHOULD INSTEAD GO FAR AND WIDE SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT BUY
You shouldn’t be lazy and buy a breadbin from the first shop you see, but should go far and wide searching for the perfect buy. Ideally, a shop that specialises in breadbins is best as there will be expert sales assistants on hand to help you make your decision. However, with the help of this guide you shouldn’t need them.

Why not try selecting one from a specialist mail-order catalogue? You will have access to virtually every make of breadbin possible, and some of them retail for as little as seven shillings. Buying in a shop is perhaps better though, as you get a much better look at the breadbin you want to buy and you have the opportunity to test it out (but only if the store permits it, you scallywag).

THINK ABOUT THE SIZE, FOR GOD’S SAKE!
Don’t be a damn fool and just buy the biggest breadbin you can. Bigger isn’t always better. Think carefully about the size of bread you normally buy. Do you go for the big loaves or the small loaves? Try and buy a breadbin that fits your preferred loaf snugly. It must have room to breathe, but not TOO much. Unlike a woman, a loaf of bread is a deeply thoughtful, introspective creature, and too much space will emphasise its solitude, making it too aware of its own insignificance, and the utter futility of its life.

If you have access to a local cornershop, or private bakery, you can replace your bread when you need it. If you live in a more rural area though, and your visits to the shop are more spread out you will need to buy in advance and will require a bread bin that holds more than one loaf. The latter option is also preferable if you eat a great deal of bread, or feel that your loaf needs a companion. This can lead to problems though – and it is best to make sure you eat both loaves evenly, as working your way through one first can leave it feeling inferior to the other. Loaf rivalry is one of the prime causes of premature staling, and should be avoided at all costs, you thoughtless blaggard.

CONSIDER THE ENTRANCE, YOU DAMN FOOL
Look carefully at the entrance to your breadbin. How does it open? Is it a smooth action or is it jerky and awkward? Will your loaf fit through? Proper care must be taken to ensure that the action remains smooth, so consider hiring a man-servant to operate and maintain it for you.

DON’T BE SO GOD-DAMNED SELFISH!
Consider your bread’s needs. If necessary, take a loaf into the shop before you buy and try putting it inside. Does it look sufficiently jovial? Is it perhaps squashed and uncomfortable? If you are still unsure, enquire at the store if it is possible to leave it overnight, then check back in the morning. This is not a good idea if your bread is of a nervous disposition as leaving it in a strange breadbin overnight could be catastrophic. If you’re not sure whether your bread has a sturdy enough character, then contact the manufacturer who should be happy to help. Alternatively, leave a gramophone with a wax record of yourself murmuring comforting words outside the breadbin. Be careful though, if the bread catches on to your ruse it will NOT be pleased.

With all this in mind you can make your decision. Don’t be a god-damned ignorant fool and choose one based on looks. Perhaps an ivory bread bin will impress your fool friends, but it will not impress your bread, you attention-seeking scoundrel. A breadbin that seems out of place in your kitchen or clashes with the colour scheme is worth buying as long as you’re sure you’ve bought the right one. If it bothers you that much simply have your walls repainted or buy a new kitchen.