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Sunday, 19 August 2012

If it's much above room temperature and it cracks when you bend it then I won't touch it.

I like mine pale, floppy and cold.  Lots of people like theirs steaming hot.  I know of one person whose has to be nearly black and smelling of burning.  But I suppose it's a matter of personal taste, and also what exactly you are going to do with it.

If you're wanting it for dipping, then obviously a degree of stiffness is essential, but if it's purely for ad-hoc (dare one say, almost recreational) purposes, then the rigidity is of less importance than the overall appearance.  Too hot and the aesthetic pleasure can disappear, but then if it is allowed to become too cold it can lose a lot of the immediacy of the olfactory experience....

What?  Oh.  Toast, obviously.  Why, what did you think I was talking about?

This is what toast looks like.  For normal people...

I grew up (and, as previously mentioned, also outwards) in the heady days pre-toaster.  In my youth, toast was made by hunching wretchedly over a waist-level grill, exhibiting various levels of boredom and indifference and indeed, in my case, generally wandering off to do something else and only returning when flames had actually reached the tea-towel.  In order to prevent me from actually, you know, incinerating my nearest and dearest (although, given my cooking habits, most of my dearest prefer to remain at quite some distance from me - whole continents have been used in order to prevent me trying to feed them such sensitive objects as scrambled egg or pie), my mother took to making my breakfast toast for me, during my formative years.

My mother, who grew up in those years when daylight was actively rationed, rises at six.  She makes toast at six.  And then, in what can only be described as a spirit of pure devilment, doesn't actually tell anybody about it.  Therefore, rising at a civilised hour, as in after the dawn chorus, meant, during my youth, being confronted by toast which was actually flexible.  I grew up believing that true toast could be bent in half and didn't so much crunch as tear.

The first time I was faced with toast in the format that most people would recognise, ie, stiff and with butter melting gently into the surface, I believe I actually cried witchcraft.  For, somehow, the chilly, floppy, butter-vehicle that I was used to seeing had become something turgid with melted dairy-product, with a crust that shattered beneath my teeth and which made a 'crunching' sound when eaten, rather than a noise like someone attempting to masticate a sheet of damp newspaper.

But for me, sadly, it was already too late. My preferences had become set in stone.  Now I am known for my daily 'waving of the toast' ritual, in order to cool it down, render it flaccid and make it a suitable receptacle for whatever my 'spread du jour' may happen to be.

Just don't get me started on jam.  Really.  Don't.


Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I'm with you all the way - toast is - well - toast!! I love mine cold and thickly spread with butter - no jam!! But I now rarely eat it as I have struggled with weight issues all my life and now restrict the carbs.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

How you manage to make a post about toast amusing is beyond me, loved it.