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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Burnt Toast

I like bread. IMHO, no one has ever invented a better vehicle for transporting butter from table to mouth. And I've tried a lot of them, including licking the butterknife. A crusty hunk of peasant bread smeared with enough butter to be sure no bread surface actually remains visible is possibly the perfect food.

But, unfortunately, not all bread is crusty peasant bread, nor can I always afford the premium price of artisan bakeries, nor should I overburden my system with white processed flour. So, I confess that I often buy sliced whole grain breads from commercial bakeries. These loaves of "sandwich bread" are convenient, but I find that the bread turns back to dough in my mouth. I can chew a piece of bread for five minutes and still have a wad of dough in my mouth that resembles chewing gum more than bread. And don't get me started on trying to butter a slice of bread. The knife slices right through with every smear. I end up with buttered fingers as much as bread.

Enter toast. If I toast the bread, I can butter it, crunch it, and generally swallow it. But the toast has to be really toasted. It can't merely be put in a toaster and warmed up. Toast is meant to be crunchy and crisp. That's the whole point of toasting. This has left me with a family reputation of liking burnt toast.

My mother had that reputation. It seems her toast was always burnt black. If we as kids didn't want the black part, she simply scraped it off onto a tray and set it out for the birds and gave us the toast anyway. It was definitely crispy. I'm not sure if Mom's reputation for liking burnt toast was fully justified. It might simply have been a result of the toaster we had back then. It didn't automatically shut off. It had a heating element in the center and doors that opened on the sides where you inserted the bread. Then you toasted until you thought it would be done enough, opened the doors and flipped the bread over, and closed it up to toast the other side. I have to say, Mom was never particularly watchful in the kitchen and by the time she could smell the toast and remember to flip it or take it out, it was charred pretty thoroughly.

I just like my toast crisp, not charred black. My older sisters started a story that I always buttered both sides of my toast. I don't remember ever doing that, but it sounds like something that I should have thought of. I'm sure if I had started doing it, I'd still be doing it.

Why all this toast talk? I get up in the morning, drink coffee and read the newspaper, then come to my computer to write. After I finish my post each day, I make more coffee and toast.

Guess what time it is!
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