Toast lands butter-side up if you drop it – 69% of the times – and not butter-side down, a team including three very junior scientists at Graham’s Family Dairy in Scotland showed. Ernie (4), Lily (5) and Molly (6) formed part of the research team that demonstrated that the butter-side-down theory is a myth.
The junior scientists, with the help of an adult, prepared their experiment by buttering 100 slices of toast. They then knocked each one from the kitchen table. The study was carried out in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.
As demonstrated on the YouTube video below, their results showed that 69 slices landed butter-side up, while only 31 landed ‘splat’ on the butter-side.
On several occasions during the experiment, the scientists got distracted and started throwing slices of toast at each other.
Toast does not always land with a messy end
Graham’s Family Dairy’s marketing director, Carol Graham, explained:
“There’s nothing more frustrating than dropping your toast when getting ready for work or school, but we wondered why it always seemed to meet a messy end.”
So, they decided to carry out their own experiment with some junior scientists who had a wonderful time testing out the theory. What child would not enjoy being asked to make a huge mess in the kitchen?
Ms. Graham continued:
“They disproved the belief that toast always seems to land butter side down, but our team also discovered that the more butter on each slice, the more likely it was to avoid landing awkwardly.”
The children discovered that the more they spread the greater the curve on the toast, which appeared to alter the pattern of its fall.
Ernie made sure every stage of the experiment was carried out with fine precision.
If you love your toast with loads of butter on it, then you are in luck – it will nearly always fall butter-side up, they said.
Great fun experiment with a surprising outcome
“It’s all just good fun, but surprising results nonetheless,” said Ms. Graham.
Five-year-old Lily Stevenson, who comes from West Lothian, commented:
“I dropped so much toast today. It would just go straight down – not do loop-a-loops. And lots landed butter side up.”
The Scottish children have provided compelling evidence that toast is more likely to land butter-side up.
Six-year-old Molly Scobbie said:
“This experiment was exciting and it was really fun. I’d normally get into trouble if I dropped my food but during this experiment, I’ve been able to do it on purpose. Not just once but 100 times.”
Clearly, the children had the time of their lives doing things that would normally upset adults.
Her brother Ernie, who is four and does not like seeing food being wasted, added “Lots of pieces landed with the butter on the top, so I ate it.”
In ancient Rome, parents were said to fret over their children’s toast falling and landing buttered-side down – in those days the breakfast table accident supposedly forecast bad luck.
Discovery Myth Busters reported on an a different experiment carried out by Jamie and Adam. They built a toast-tossing machine that hurled many slices of buttered and unbuttered toast and compared the results. Twenty-nine of the forty-eight buttery slices landed butter-side up, i.e. 60.4% of the times.
Video – Carol Graham explains how buttered toast lands