Toast. What’s the deal with toast? First you have a piece of bread, and what do you want to do to it? You want to toast it. So what do you do with it? You put it in a toaster. And what does the toaster do to it? It toasts it. And then it’s toast. And the toaster was probably made by Toastmaster–that master of toast.

You can also put a raisin in a toaster and do the same thing to it. You toast a raisin and what do you get? A toasted raisin. Actually, a burnt raisin. But if you put in a piece of raisin bread, you get raisin toast. So a toaster does a different thing to a raisin than it does to a piece of bread: one becomes burnt and the other becomes toast. Thus toaster does not mean “thing that turns thing into toast.”

A toaster is different from an oven. An oven doesn’t ov things. And if you put a piece of bread into an oven, it doesn’t come out as an ov. An oven cooks. Yet if you cook a piece of bread, the end result isn’t a cook, though a cook can cook bread. Then again, most cooks probably wouldn’t bother; instead, cooks bake bread, but only if it isn’t baked yet.

An oven also roasts, yet a roasted piece of bread isn’t called roast. A roasted piece of meat is called roast, but only if it was already roast before it was roasted. It might be pot roast–although if you roasted a pot, it would be called a roasted pot or, more likely, a melted pot (though not a melting pot). What’s more, you don’t even have to make pot roast in a pot, and if you roasted chicken in a pot, you wouldn’t get pot chicken; you’d just get chicken.

A celebrity roast is a humorous, festive occasion. A celebrity toast involves glasses of wine and a tribute; it has nothing to do with putting celebrity bread in a toaster. A celebrity cook is Julia Child or Dom DeLuise, and there’s no celebrity bake.

And why does toast have to be made from white bread? Toasted wheat bread is wheat toast, and toasted rye bread is rye toast. Then again, toasted white bread couldn’t be white toast because it’s brown.

And why, if you toast French bread, do you not get French toast? You get French-bread toast, which doesn’t even make sense. Yet if you dip a piece of white bread into egg batter and fry it, you get French toast. You don’t make French toast in a French toaster; you make it in a pan. So why isn’t it called French pan?

Sometimes I sit in my kitchen and watch the toaster turn bread into toast. At what point does it become toast? Sometimes I stop the process and inspect the bread. The surface has crispened, but it isn’t brown. Is it toast yet? I take a bite. It tastes like bread, but crunchier. I put it back in the toaster so it can get toasted and become toast. I pull it out; it’s light tan. Is it toast? Is it broast? Is it tread? Why can you crumble up pieces of toast and get bread crumbs? Shouldn’t they be toast crumbs, or does the material revert to its original state when crushed?

I just don’t get toast.