How do you like your toast? Delia Smith suggests:

“When the toast is done, remove it immediately to a toast rack. Why a toast rack? Because they are a brilliant invention. Freshly made toast contains steam, and if you place it in a vertical position, in which the air is allowed to circulate, the steam escapes and the toast becomes crisp and crunchy. Putting it straight on to a plate means the steam is trapped underneath, making it damp and soggy. If you don’t possess a toast rack you really ought to invest in a modest one.”

On the other hand I have just found the antidote for Delia’s recipe in a recent Letter From America by Alistair Cooke. In writing about the lack of toast racks in America (!), he attributes the following quote to Mark Twain:

“In the heyday of the industrial revolution it took the mechanical genius of the English to devise a receptacle which guaranteed to deliver in the shortest possible time toast that was both cold and hard.”

I’m with Mark Twain.