Who would have thought that the toaster would ever achieve status as a cultural icon? Yet, in four short and snappy chapters, Alphin (Vacuum Cleaners, 1997, etc.) and the Household History series (see Young, below) continue to prove that even the most mundane appliance is worthy of serious study. Readers curious about the mechanics of toasters will learn the details of how plain bread is transformed into warm and nourishing breakfast food through the magic of trip plates, timer strips, and browning controls. Alphin's description of the development of the modern toaster, accompanied by plentiful photographs and illustrations of early models, is both comprehensive and fascinating. The icing on the cake, or rather the jam on the toast, is a selection of simple recipes for comfort food favorites.