I have remarked before that not one person in a thousand knows how to make good toast. The simplest dishes seem to be the ones oftenest spoiled. If the cook sends to the table a properly made piece of toast, one may judge that she is a scientific cook, and may entertain, at the same time, exalted hopes of her.
The bread should not be too fresh. It should be cut thin, evenly, and in good shape. The crust edges should be cut off. The pieces shaved off can be dried and put in the bread-crumb can. The object of toasting bread is to extract all its moisture - to convert the dough into pure farina of wheat, which is very digestible. Present each side of the bread to the fire for a few moments to warm, without attempting to toast it; then turn about the first side at some distance from the fire, so that it may slowly and evenly receive a golden color all over the surface. Now turn it to the other side, moving it in the same way, until it is perfectly toasted. The coals should be clear and hot. Serve it the moment it is done, on a warm plate, or, what is better, a toast-rack; consequently, do not have a piece of bread toasted until the one for whom it is intended is ready to eat it.
"If, as is generally done, a thick slice of bread is hurriedly exposed to a hot fire, and the exterior of the bread is toasted nearly black, the intention of extracting the moisture is defeated, as the heat will then produce no effect on the interior of the slice, which remains as moist as ever. Charcoal is a bad conductor of heat. The overtoasted surface is nothing more or less than a thin layer of charcoal, which prevents the heat from penetrating through the bread. Neither will butter pass through the hard surface: it will remain on it, and if exposed to heat, to melt it in, it will dissolve, and run over it in the form of rancid oil. This is why buttered toast is so often unwholesome."