There is an old saying in the conversational scientist community that the odds of dropping a piece of toast butter-side-up are inversely proportionate with the time and effort it takes to prepare it.

Well, that sounded solid to me, but I've learned to ignore my instincts about these kind of things and to let scientific trials and analysis determine what the truth is instead.

On Wednesday night, we set out to determine what the truth was. How often would buttered toast land buttered-side up? What about toast that had been prepared with even more loving care?

We went out to Safeway and bought two loaves of bread, butter and some other, more precious toast spreads.

We also got some beer, but it didn't seem right to drink beer with toast, so I made coffee instead.

We fired up Jared's toaster & began running the first loaf through. This loaf would only be buttered.



We used an electric toaster instead of a barbeque because Brooke insisted it would provide a more consistent browning. I went along with this so that I wouldn't lose any toast through the grill.

There were 2 loaves of 20 slices each, not including the discarded heels.

Toasting bread temporarily increases the value of a loaf of bread from $1.39 to $16.80, but this value drops again as the toast cools.
A quarter-pound of butter will butter 17 pieces of toast.
Sometimes the toast would get stuck and someone would have to pry them loose with a knife or other highly-conductive instrument.
I suffered horrific seventh-degree toast burns that evening.

I hate when the ambulance drivers are laughing so hard you can hear them over the sirens.

Preparing the Rock's Breakfast.

In 1997 this photo was titled "preparing Shaq's Breakfast", and in 1982, "preparing Mr.T's Breakfast".

For some people, just buttering this much toast would be good enough for a website article.

Not here. Let the dropping begin!

Brooke dropped toast and I shot photos. 

When toast slides off of your plate, it twists and turns through the air, using it's tail and flexible spine to re-orient itself. This is its primary defense mechanism against human consumption.

The first few slices landed buttered-side down. Breakfast was ruined!
We wanted to keep the toast consistently buttered, so we used a micrometer and an atomic scale.  Shown here are examples of over-buttered, buttered and under-buttered toast.
Brooke dropped them one slice at a time.
Most of the toast landed buttered side down.

Of the first loaf, only four out of 20 slices landed butter-side up.

That is a 20% survival rate.

Boy, there sure are a lot of these toast-dropping photos.
It could be worse though, you could be watching a video of this.


Awaiting the second loaf were three toppings: Honey, Jam & Nutella (Kobe's favorite).
While buttering my 32nd slice of toast, the tendons in my wrist were inflamed and throbbing with pain.

I gained a new respect for professional butterers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes at cafes, restaurants and hotels.  I salute you, oh buttering heroes!

I switched to using the stick of butter as a crayon.  This method worked very well, and I didn't even have to invest in one of those "miracle butter pens" they sell on that infomercial.
I couldn't stop myself from trying a little of the honey.

Whoever invented the honey-bear dispenser was a sick bastard.

Luckily someone had the foresight to move the nozzle up to the bear's head. Sure, it is anatomically incorrect, but that bear is going to be right on your breakfast table, so the original design caused a lot of controversy. 

There is an eight-minute window of opportunity to butter freshly-toasted bread, so we had to work fast.
This honey-covered toast hangs on for dear life as other slices of toast await their doom.

Jam covered toast was more precious, so it was more disheartening to see it tumble to the floor.

Unfortunately, patents for buttered toast safety nets are bought up by big business buttering conglomerates.

We had 10 butter & jam, 5 Nutella and 5 butter & honey slices.
It was getting hard to walk across the floor without stepping on some fallen toast.
Brooke moved throughout the site, checking for survivors.

This is where her medical training paid off.

All of the Nutella slices landed Nutella-side down, and the same was true for the honey toast. Two of the jam-covered slices landed jam-side up.

There were only 2 slices from the entire second loaf that landed right-side up. That is only a 5% survival rate for toast with butter AND another topping.

The old saying was true!




You might think that this has something to do with the butter side being heavier, but according to Newton, it doesn't.

I found out later that similar studies were done at Thiel University.

When we finished the experiment at 3am, all the local restaurants were closed, so we dug into the toast that had landed jam-side-up.

I hate having leftover jam in the fridge.

Always wear safety goggles while eating toast.
One of the benefits of scientific study is the advent of new products, and this time, I think we hit pay dirt.

We collected up the toast with the least hair and lint & packaged it up.

At last! Buttered toast without the pre-dawn hassle!