Tip of the Hipster Spear- San Fran’s Toast Scene.


The rich of San Francisco have found a new way to flaunt their wealth, buying artisanal toast. Bakeries and cafes in the city have been cashing in on the wealth of the resident Silicon Valley high flyers by selling gourmet toast made with ‘Josey Baker sourdough’, featuring toppings such as ‘small batch almond butter’ and ‘sour strawberry jam’.

As with much of America in the mid to late 1990’s up through the watered down Recession of 2008, there has been an upper-middle class lifestyle of consumerism, which I feel has run its course across most of this country.

However in technology rich San Francisco, home to such tech giants as Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Cisco, Ebay, Hewlett Packard and Yahoo to name a few, flaunting their wealth has been elevated to new lows. We overspend on the simplest facets of life such as artisanal toast., but wont go to a museum to admire great works of art nor to the opera house to enjoy heavy drama of Italian verismo opera.

This trend of American consumerism in San Francisco will obviously continue for a good while, does it spell the beginning of a movement, extending to other metropolitan cities? I wondered, how long before artisanal toast made it to Brooklyn, or Chicago, or Los Angeles? How long before an article appears in your local newspaper telling people all across America that they’re making toast all wrong? How long before the backlash sets in?
I felt compelled to go looking for the origins of the fancy toast trend. How does such a thing get started? What determines how far it goes? I wanted to know.
In part it all starts with the desire of having a consumer good that is better than your neighbor or your friend has. In some little way, to some people, it gives the feeling of superiority and being an expert in the field. Take audio equipment as a quick example. I live in NYC and had the opportunity to work with a high end audio shop for a short period of time. Most every customer that walked into the store could not make an accurate distinction in quality between a $2,000 system and a $8,000 system, yet the price sent the message that the latter is somehow of higher quality and therefore that much better.
The same applies to wine, bread, coffee, etc. So why do we pay more when we can’t tell the difference?
Again, in a word, we want to look smarter.

So, two slices of San Francisco toast will run you about $4.00 with no beverage. Is that a good deal when the bread is of exceptional quality? Having not tried this new era toast, I can not honestly answer that question, but if you consider the history of toast, it just seems a far fetched concept to me when the tradition of toast lies in preserving bread from going bad. So I thought to add a quick three points on toast and how inconsequential it seems to breakfast history or any meal for that matter.

A little history on toast.

>Toasting was originally used to preserve bread, with the trend for eating it spread throughout Europe by the Romans and then on to America by the British.
>The word toast comes from the Latin tostum, which means ‘something scorched.
>The first electric toasters arrived in the early 1900’s with the first pop-up toaster popping up in 1926.

I read many reviews about The Mill’s breakfast toast options. It just appears to me that if I were there for breakfast and got a black cup of coffee and a single slice of toast topped with butter and sour strawberry jam, for $6, I would still hungry.

This, San Francisco techsters, is all your fault.


About glenn van nostrand

Spent some years making my way around the cities and states, working, learning about new food ideas and planting and eating my share. Making my points about rejecting the corporate take over of our food source to my opinions about the New York food scene. LASTLY: No matter the size of my living area, I am always growing herbs & vegetables and enjoy the nurturing experiences of the growth to the nutritional value it gives from the table. View all posts by glenn van nostrand

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