A Toast to Toast
Bread is a staple. Toast is a necessity.
No one can get toast wrong. Or can they?
The first test arises with the yielding of the bread knife. Even the slightest of distractions could affect the outcome of this critical carving; the tut of the kettle pronouncing boiling point, the stubborn crackle of a newspaper being bent into shape. A door stop slice will doubtless end up incarcerated behind toaster bars; the price of release amounting to nothing less than electrocution. A paper thin slice, on the other hand, could lead to inadvertent arson. Best to stick to the straight and narrow.
Twist the dial on the toaster. Two? Three? Four? Most of us prefer to err on the side of caution, selecting a safe setting three in an attempt to avoid sandpapering black dust into the bin’s reluctant mouth. The popular setting ‘one’ is used to top up the crunch factor in accordance with personal taste. Choices range from Crisp Burnt to Golden Touch, Soft and Yellow to Al Dente Crunch.
Those with a penchant for stiff as a board style toast should avoid plate to bread contact at all costs. Sweaty toast is unforgivable. For a poor man’s toast rack, one might lean the sun kissed slice against a fellow member of the breakfast table entourage; the trusty teapot can always be relied upon to support a friend in need. Otherwise, a two slice crust to crust kiss will suffice.
Toast deserves the best. That means butter. Real butter. That does not include duplicitous butter that dubs itself as ‘spreadable’. Can’t believe it’s not butter? Hit yourself over the head with a frying pan and knock some sense into yourself. As for those of you out there who truly believe that bypassing the butter will accelerate weight loss, my dad being a prime culprit, well take another look at that heavily dented frying pan.
One vies for superiority, flaunting a grandiose label from an upper-class supermarket superciliously across its chest. The other stands self-assured, humble, waiting patiently. Summer fruit flavours line up for inspection on the snow covered table: Forest fruit, Peach and Cherry. Blueberry, Strawberry, Every Berry. Fridge chilly glass shields tender fruit. Armour against breakfast swords. A victim is prised from amidst the huddle of its conserve comrades then decapitated. Crimson glucose bleeds onto sharp silver edges.
The remains of the jam are scrutinised. You could probably get a generous serving if you let your knife poke around and explore each angle of the jar. But no. Alas, the proud pot of raspberry conserve nudges its way into your hazy mind like a valiant knight through fog. The scarlet jelly sighs as metal pierces silk. Pure. Chaste. Shine meets shine. There is nothing like it. A sensible hand replaces the checkered roof over its precious contents while immature fingers click the centre of the lid. A playful pop or two signals first come, first served victory.
Having endured the flames of the furnace, toast is finally rewarded. Lashings of jam transcend into a generous caress, smooth and thick, covering the entire surface area. Crust to crust. Edge to edge. Patches of creamy white butter peep through the glimmering sugar glaze, determined to behold an aerial view of the tablecloth, newly adorned with crumbs, before being blanketed in red velvet.
Ladies and gentlemen, please raise your glasses.