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.
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.
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!
Uber cool musical toast.
And then there’s always this:
Butter me up!