toast to toast

One slice or two?

I love you, toast, I do.

Forgive my dalliance with chewy English muffins and poppy seed bagels. My fascination with showy waffles. My unabashed drooling over muffins and pancakes and other batter beauties. When all is said and done, when a person is weary of gimmick and falderal, there is only you, my toast — simple, basic, and totally unassuming.

    

Why did I ever think anything could replace this bastion of breakfast? There are some (gasp!) who find toast boring and unresponsive. I dare say they have lost touch with their inner crumb.

When I was little, my older brother and I sometimes ventured to Grandma Kim’s house for breakfast. Both our parents worked, so we were left to our own devices much of the time. We’d arrive on her doorstep unannounced, and didn’t have to say a word. One look at us and she knew exactly what we wanted.

First, half a slice of sweet, cold, homegrown papaya. Next, two almost hard boiled eggs, not too runny in the middle. And then, the best part –a perfectly toasted slice of white bread, generously buttered all the way to the edges, with a coating of fresh guava jelly. Her signature presentation? The toast folded precisely in half, perfect for small hands and eager mouths. Biting into that combination of warm, chewy bread, butter and jelly, told us we were safe, loved, and always welcome.


Toast is the stuff dreams are made of.

Now, I’m not the only one who worships at the shrine of toast. Do you know Mercy Watson? Yes, she’s a pig, but no ordinary porker. She’s the porcine wonder who stars in her own series of early readers. I absolutely. Love. This. Series. I mean, we’re talking Kate DiCamillo here. With illos by Chris Van Dusen.

Mercy lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson, who are all retro-50’s smiley and kind. They love and indulge her, and everything she does delights them. Her weakness? Hot buttered toast. Stacks and stacks of it. Her pursuit of and acute awareness of HBT makes for some rollicking good stories. So far, in Books 1-4, she’s “rescued” the Watsons from a falling bed, hijacked a pink cadillac, foiled an intruder, and dressed up as a princess for Halloween.

      
       published by Candlewick (2008)
        for ages 4-8, 80 pp.

The latest installment, Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig, finds her in trouble for eating the neighbors’ newly planted pansies. She manages to escape Animal Control, and as in the other books, there is a big feast of HBT at the end for all concerned. Chris Van Dusen’s cartoony illustrations jack up the humor several notches with manic energy and hilarious facial expressions. If you can read one of these books and NOT crave HBT, there is something seriously wrong with you. Really.

I’ve just finished a slice of white toast with butter and guava jelly, and I miss Grandma Kim. I loved the sound of the toast popping up and the knife scraping the toast as she buttered it. Such is the power of simple food, lovingly prepared.

How do you like your toast?

           

More Toast Love:

Visit the Cyber Toaster Museum.

What about a toast-it note instead of a post-it?

Make some Bite Me/I’m Hot Toast!

Australian art on toast.

Uber cool musical toast.

And then there’s always this:


Butter me up!

19 thoughts on “toast to toast

  1. Ooohhh, I’ve seen the Mercy Watson books here. But I wasn’t interested because of the pig on the cover. Hahahaha! But now… Your recommendation and the hot buttered toast are making me curious!
    I love toasted wheat bread or multigrain bread with Queensland butter. Yummmmmm. Drooooool.
    Tarie :o)

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  2. You MUST read these books! You will love Mercy Watson. It’s one of my favorite early reader series. And what’s this about not liking the pig on the cover? Just wait till you see Chris Van Dusen’s illos — pig ears flying in the wind as she drives a convertible. Priceless!

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  3. Oh I love love love toast for breakfast. It is the best, as long as you have good bread. We’ve been having trouble finding good stuff lately. There’s a bakery about an hour from us that makes the best English toaster bread. It crisps up perfectly. But it is too far away to get regularly and it doesn’t taste as well when frozen.
    I’m on the quest for good bread.
    At our house we always have to check the toaster settings. I adore my toast actually toasted, golden brown. Hubby prefers bread that is merely “warmed” in the toaster. LOL

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  4. The “quest for good bread” is a highly noble pursuit! I remember loving the bread in England — it was denser than most American brands, and really held the butter and marmalade well.
    I think I fall somewhere between you and your hubby. I like mine lightly toasted, with just a blush of browning :).

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  5. Toast with peanut butter (which gets delightfully melty and gooey) and a drizzle of honey. Really, though, butter (with or without jam) is lovely, too. Small buttered slices of French baguette (toasted, of course) reminds me of my grandparents; whole wheat or rye reminds me of Mom. And my own family goes nuts for thick toasted (and buttered) slices of my homemade oatmeal bread. However, of course right now I have to have my special almond-flour breads, which are sometimes rather fragile. I now toast them in a skillet if I toast them at all, sort of like you would a grilled-cheese sandwich.

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  6. There is seriously something wrong with that T-shirt. I think it’s the butter placement.
    I like my toast medium brown. Not too light, not too dark. And with jam. Mmmm . . . jam.

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  7. Oatmeal Bread
    (Recipe from a college friend of mine; don’t know where she got it.)
    Yield: 3 loaves – 2 regular, and one large loaf
    Total prep time, start to finish: 3.5ish hours
    1 envelope active yeast
    1/4 C warm water
    4 C scalded skim milk
    2 C rolled (not instant) oats
    1/4 C butter/margarine
    1/2 C honey (or molasses)
    1 Tbsp salt (I use a little bit less)
    10-11 C sifted flour
    Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add hot milk to oats and butter in large bowl and let stand for 30 mins. Add honey, salt and yeast solution to oats. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. (You’ll probably need to use your hands, once the dough gets stiffer.) Put in lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, ~90 mins. Knead on floured surface ~10 mins, until elastic. Divide into 3 pieces and place into well-greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise again, 30-45 mins. Brush tops with a little melted butter, and bake 400F 40-50 mins.
    This is a dense, hearty bread. It’s good all by itself but it is mind-bendingly fantastic straight out of the oven. You may find you have eaten at least half of it before the first day is over. Loaves freeze well; you may choose to slice loaves in half before freezing, so you can take out small segments at a time, to prevent staleness. Makes a fantastic gift, too.

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  8. Hee – that reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw last week. It had the pink-ribbon motif, and the text, “Save the ta-tas”. I completely cracked up, then had to explain why to my six-year-old daughter. 😛

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