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Labor of loaf: 9,852-slice toast mosaic is birthday gift

A birthday “toast” took on a whole new meaning when Laura Hadland honored her mother-in-law by turning her portrait into the world’s largest toast mosaic. Made up of 9,852 slices, the 32-by-42-foot portrait set a new Guinness World Record.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Sandra Whitfield might have figured that her 50th birthday merited a celebratory toast — but her daughter-in-law Laura Hadland gave that term a whole new meaning. Instead of raising a glass, Laura fired up nine toasters and browned nearly 10,000 pieces of bread to transform Whitfield’s portrait into the world’s largest toast mosaic, certified by Guinness World Records.

Hadland, senior curator of history for the City Council’s Arts and Museum Services division in Leicester, England, wowed her mother-in-law on her big 5-0 by leading her into an art gallery in her English hometown of Warrington, where Whitfield beheld the massive portrait of herself in all its toasty glory.

“It’s a treat for Sandra made with much love and a sense of randomness,” Hadland told London’s Daily Mail newspaper. “She’s certainly not a stereotypical mother-in-law; she’s one of my best friends, and I love her.”

Whitfield admitted to being a bit bemused at first, telling the paper, “I love toast, but it feels very strange seeing my face made out of it.” But she isn’t likely to forget it, especially now that she’s a part of history. On Sunday, Guinness World Records officially logged the creation as the largest mosaic of its kind in the world.

Toast of the town
Hadland hatched the idea as part of a social networking experiment, enlisting 40 Facebook friends to help with the endeavor. She rounded up 600 loaves of bread and set about having her team toast 9,852 slices to varying degrees of doneness, utilizing nine toasters.

Six hours later, Whitfield’s still-youthful face was emblazoned in toast. The mosaic measured 32 feet, 8 inches by 42 feet, 2 inches — as big as some New York City apartments. Along the way, it knocked a toast mosaic made at a school in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, out of Guinness World Records.

Hadland, 27, was proud to not only honor her husband Mike’s mom in an unusual way, but also to enter Guinness history.

“It’s great to have broken the record — what an awesome day,” she told the Daily Mail. “I’m thrilled my best mates came together to make our mark on history and celebrate Sandra’s birthday at the same time — it’s a birthday card like no other.”

As for Whitfield, she recovered from her initial puzzlement and embraced her daughter-in-law’s toasty-warm gesture. “I’m really overwhelmed because they have gone to so much effort,” she told the Daily Mail. “Laura is really the best daughter-in-law you could wish for.

“It’s been the best birthday present ever — and I’m now a world record holder.”