The Little $5 Gadget That Helps Me Have Faux Fancy Breakfasts and Lunches

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

During these endless pandemic days spent at home, one seemingly insignificant purchase has truly helped to brighten up the mundane. It may seem inconsequential — especially when you learn that it was just $5 — but I’d say that my bamboo toast tongs have been the single best addition to my kitchen in recent history.

How great can anything be when it’s that cheap? Pretty darn great, actually! Even when things are normal, I work from home as a freelance food, travel, and business writer. Being at home with a flexible work schedule allows me to use my breakfast and lunch breaks as time to reset my intentions, reflect on the day thus far, and refocus for my next task. This has been particularly important to me during coronavirus times. And this time almost always starts by stepping up my meals — either with a fun open-faced toast, an inventive salad, or a crafty use of leftovers.

Which brings me back to these toast tongs. I stumbled upon them during a pre-pandemic shopping trip and immediately bought them, not realizing how useful they’d end up being. All I knew was that I did make a lot of toast and that I was tired of burning myself while fishing out the pieces! And I liked that they had a built-in magnet, which I could use to hang them on the side of my toaster.

Credit: Katy Spratte Joyce

Now, a million months later (it’s been a million months, right?), I make more toast than ever before. Avocado toast, of course. And toast with creamy ricotta and a smear of raspberry preserves. And roasted tomato toast. And toast with Greek yogurt, berries, and honey. And toast with, well, you get the idea. My toast tongs help me get the warmed bread out of the toaster oven without much thought (or injury!) so that I can think about the endless topping options I have waiting for me. I don’t know what it is about a toasty slice of bread that’s piled high with ingredients — it just feels fancy. Like something I’d order at a restaurant or a coffee shop for way too much money.

The salad I spoke of? I also use my handy toast tongs to toss salads! They’re small, which makes them kind of perfect for mixing up a salad for one. The very motion makes me feel like I’m at one of those build-your-own salad spots where someone puts stuff in a bowl and mixes it for you (only I get to do the fun mixing part!).

I’ve also started using my toast tongs as a general extension of my hand. I use them to empty out leftover containers onto a plate (eating off a plate feels fancier than eating out of a container!). I use them to pull flatbreads out of the oven. I’ve even used them to “plate” ingredients just so, to pretend like I’m at a fancy restaurant.

Are they fancy? No. Am I fancy? Also, no. But they have added just a little extra something to my breakfasts and lunch, which, quite honestly, helps me feel a tiny bit better about the current state of things.

Is there a little tool that’s surprising you in all sorts of ways these days? Tell us about it in the comments below!