John Cronin: Can’t cook without… Dualit toaster

John Cronin

John Cronin


I’m John Cronin. In winter 2011 I founded Cutlery Drawer, an online-only kitchenware store. I do pretty much everything myself, tasks like maintaining the store, processing orders and writing posts for the blog.

My background is in software development for commercial business systems but I’ve been publishing websites since 2003; the first one was about credit cards and was a total design shocker. I’m pretty awful at arty stuff so I rely on platforms such as wordpress and good theme designers.

Away from work I go running quite a bit. I’m currently training for the 2012 Liverpool Marathon having ran my one and only marathon in 2011 (also in Liverpool). Doing lots of running means I can eat more cake. I love cakes, especially home baked cakes. I’m interested in hyperlocal publishing (see wikipedia for an explanation) and I maintain a few websites for various places including this one for my home town of Hoylake.

Married. Children. Dog.

I can’t cook without…

The one thing I can’t cook without in our kitchen is my trusty Dualit toaster (current model pictured). Now you can argue the point that you don’t actually cook with a toaster but there’s no denying that it’s a pretty essential kitchen gadget. As a family we all use it, but it’s my Dualit. We’ve had for what must be eight years or more and it’s never gone wrong. I’d wanted one for ages so when the previous one – a cream coloured, nondescript plastic thing – went kaput I took the opportunity to purchase my dream toaster. They make different coloured ones but my Dualit had to be chrome – no other finish would do or would even be considered. There is something inherently beautiful about a chrome finish, all-aluminium Dualit – it’s a design classic.

dualit 4 slotThe toaster looks sturdy, somewhat squat with two curved ends. The fatter end houses the controls while the thinner end has the air grills and embossed Dualit logo. Ours is a 4-slice model which is much more practical for family use. It’s easy to wipe clean and the removable crumb tray while seeming a little rudimentary in design is a most practical way of cleaning away the toasted breadcrumbs that didn’t make it to the plate.

My Dualit, sorry our Dualit, is used just about everyday.   For making morning toast with jam. For making lunchtime toast to go with a steaming hot bowl of homemade leek and potato soup. For hot, New York style bagels as a Saturday morning treat. For toasted pita breads that when sliced open release enough latent heat to melt an iceberg. For crisping up leftover rounds of French stick to eat as an appetiser before dinner. It’s always got to be butter too by the way.

Pop your slices of bread in the slots. Use the lever to lower the bread into the toaster. Flick the red switch to 2 or 4-slice (a sometimes forgotten manual procedure on a 4-slice run – the newer models have a separate dial for that) and twist the timer knob. I never pay too much attention to how far I twist the timer. Somewhere around ‘2’ is fine, closer to ‘3’ if the bread is frozen. Let go. The whirring of the timer starts immediately. The heating elements make a popping sound. You’re in business and now all you’ve got to do wait. If you get impatient you can use the lever to lift the slice to see how they’re coming along. As the timer runs down the whirring accelerates …you’re nearly there! And then it stops. No automatic popping-up with a Dualit, it’s your last task to reach for the lever and eject your toast.

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