Sliced Bread 2.0

The normally robust Fish constitution has rather let itself (and more importantly, me) down today. As a result, I am contemplating very thin rations – probably nothing more exciting than dry toast – in the hope of acquiring some nourishment without any (or at least diminished) unwanted side effects.

I tend to make toast from shop-bought sliced bread – as I view my own lovingly crafted loaves as too good for toasting (however stale they may have become).  This sliced bread is kept in the cryogenic custody of the lower and colder portion of my fridge-freezer until needed – either for toast or to form the basis for a bread (sometimes, and butter) pudding.  Often the frozen slices are reluctant to be parted from their brethren, and dangerous work with a knife is needed to break a slice away from the “pack”.  Many years ago, I came up with an idea to make this problem a thing of the past – and, at the same time, address many of the other day-to-day inadequacies of sliced bread.  Now this idea is safely patented (or this blog at least establishes precedence), I thought it opportune to share it with the wider world.

I find myself applying butter, margerine or similar spreads to toast for the sole purpose of stopping the jam or marmalade soaking into the crisp perfection of the toast, rendering it an unholy, soggy amalgam of toast and fruit preserve.  The spread adds unwelcome Joules (I will replace the word calorie in this context, if it is the last thing I do) and fats to the toast experience – and in these days of rising global obesity this cannot be a good thing.  Further, adding the spread irrevocably alters the aerodynamic properties of the toast for the worse – leading to that most dreaded of loss of potential energy-based incidents: the toast landing butter side down.

At the same time, I observed that my carpets and some of my clothes were protected from sticky or oily liquids becoming bonded to them by dint of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), or ScotchGuard as the 3M company liked us to call it.  This wonder chemical is not recognised as food by the human body, and so would be completely non-fattening.

My plan was to coat one (or both) sides of each slice of bread in a loaf with ScotchGuard.  This would greatly ease their separation when frozen, obviate the need for a fat-based spread and could be applied as such a thin film that it would not alter the aerodynamics of the bread.  Even better, if the bread should fall jam-side down, the slice would be wiped clean and could be re-used rather than wasted (cutting down on food wastage and landfill).

The only worry was the potential toxicity of PFOS – and indeed, this worry was correct as the substance has now been banned by the Stockholm Convention.  Luckily, boffins have developed an alternative, non-toxic alternative which is now sold as ScotchGuard – perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS).  So, I think now is the time for final tests (mainly to check the resilience of PFBS to being toasted) on the product before its global launch – I really think this could be the greatest thing since, well, sliced bread.

2 thoughts on “Sliced Bread 2.0

  1. matathew says:

    Excellent post. I have only one small quibble: ScotchGuarding toast is fine, eating it afterwards is possibly okay, but measuring energy in Joules is, I fear, impossible. As every attentive science student is aware, the SI unit of energy is a joule, with symbol J, whereas a Joule is a member of the brewing family it is named after.

  2. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    You are perfectly right, of course. A schoolboy error on my part – one would scarcely say Watt, Ohm or Metre and certainly not gigaJoule – my only (feeble) defence would be that I have not had to write (or indeed type) the full name of the unit for around 30 years, only its capitalised short-form. However, your reference to the original Mr Joule is a timely reminder of how much we owe the brewing industry – and, not only for its (sometimes) delicious wares.

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