Sunday, March 23, 2014

Toast-So Tasty

To this day I cherish the moments I get to enjoy a piece of toast. It usually happens on the week-ends when I have a bit more time for a second cup of coffee. I dare say we all have our favorite ways of toasting our bread and now with so many types of breads to choose from, the outcomes are much more diverse.It wasn't always like that. White or wheat-that was it-take your pick. Today my choice is wheat. But when growing up it was always white because that's what my parents bought-and it came from the package with the 'red, yellow, and blue balloons printed on the package'-as the jingle used to say.
Of course after the bread is toasted-another decision is needed. What do you put on top of your toast? Butter-honey-jam-jelly-and then what kind-what flavor? It used to be a treat when our mother bought honey butter. Sometimes I'd sneak into the refrigerator and take a spoonful of that thick, delicious topping to enjoy all on its own.
I think the best toasted bread I've ever had is my grandmother's Christmas bread. Toasted or not, it remains the best homemade bread ever. Many times when growing up and making my toast in the simple two-sided toaster that would burn the bread if you didn't fling it open on your own to turn to the other side-I would take the toast and put it on a plate. Before adding anything I would lick it if my older brother was sitting there. I had to. If I didn't he would wait for me to add jam or honey butter-and then he'd take a slice without even asking. Just as disheartening were the times I'd have my toast exactly how I wanted it-but then I'd drop a slice on the floor.
The way my father prepared and enjoyed his toast was an art form. I can still see him sitting at the kitchen table on early mornings before he had a funeral. (For those who don't know-my father was a funeral director.) He'd be sitting there in his white shirt and gray-striped dress pants. Next to his cup of coffee-just half-filled because he didn't have much time-was the same plate he always used for his toast which was always white bread-two slices toasted to a cinnamon shade. Piping hot out of the toaster he'd layer the slices with butter-real butter-and then smother it with Smucker's Raspberry Jam; cut it diagonally-and savor every bite.
One particular aunt of mine loved going out to breakfast. Looking back I'm certain she enjoyed her toast at those diners-or little mom and pop restaurants-or stops along a highway (all served on those same types of milk white serving plates with matching coffee cups) as much as she enjoyed whatever else she ordered. And if there were any little tubs of jams or jellies left on the table she'd put them in her purse to enjoy later at home.
Funny how something as simple as toasted bread can bring such satisfaction. Maybe that's it. Toast is simple to prepare-and the aroma and taste are simply fantastic-no matter how you slice it!

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