In Praise of Toast

What can you say about a person whose favorite food is toast? I actually never met a potato I didn’t like either … but if I could only have one thing from now until the end of time, it would be peanut butter toast.

On rye, please.

Toast may not be exciting but it is reliable. I think I may be like that, as well. Let other people jump into fountains at midnight. I’ve been asleep since ten, and you can tell me about it in the morning.

In Alice in Wonderland, toast showed up several times. Here’s one: “Crawling at your feet,’ said the Gnat (Alice drew her feet back in some alarm), ‘you may observe a Bread-and-Butterfly. Its wings are thin slices of bread-and-butter, its body is a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar.”

One of the funniest things I ever saw in my life (and also one of the strangest) was my brother, at the age of ten, eating a whole loaf of toast at one sitting. Mesmerized, as though she were watching a cobra, my mother stood there in rapt disgust … and when he got to the final slice, she took it out of his hand – not roughly, but quietly – and rubbed it on his head, butter-side-down. 

Whenever people go off on treks or adventures in books, they take bread (and cheese). When people in books make their way into cozy and beautiful homes, they smell bread baking. Yet while bread is humble; toast is exalted. (Water is humble, but as the old adage says, it can so easily become tea.) Toast is the most comforting of foods, hearkening to childhood and kindly gifts to sickbeds. It is also a civilized sort of repast. When Britannia ruled the waves, it was in part because every day at four, everyone got a slice of toast. It kept one’s hopes up. The queen likes toast and she has lived to be 95. She also likes Corgis but no one is perfect.

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