We must have cleaned out the toaster-oven before we packed it for moving last summer. I feel certain that we dumped all the burned bits out before stuffing it into a box. Maybe that counts as cleaning, maybe it doesn’t.

I know for certain that we’ve been here 10 months now and we haven’t cleaned it since. Until last week.

Last week, for the protection of anticipated house guests, we did a thorough cleaning of the whole house. Including the toaster-oven.

I re-discovered that the toaster-oven has a removable tray in the bottom to catch the crumbs and other what-have-you that drips or falls into its nether regions. I almost remember sliding that tray into place when we first brought it home from the store.

By now the crumb tray had been caked with a solid quarter inch of blackened char-goo.

Most if it came off easily enough with a paint scraper. The last layer took more effort. The char-goo had bonded with tray metal, requiring a Brill-O pad, plenty of elbow grease and a bit of cursing to remove.

When the last layer finally scraped off, I found these words embossed into the tray metal:

Warning: Empty crumb tray after each use.
Do not operate without the crumb tray in place.