January 21, 2015 § 3 Comments
My weeks have recently been so arranged that on a Wednesday night, most weeks, it’s just me and the dogs for a couple of hours.
For those few hours the house transmits the low throb of silence. I feed the dogs and they lie down for a post-prandial nap. The odd car swishes by; a neighbour’s dog gives an indolent yap, and then the most blissful part of the evening begins: not making dinner.
I sidle over to the bread bin, extract two slices of bread from a packet and pop them in the toaster, and soon, one of the world’s greatest fragrances wafts warmly through the house.
Minutes later, a whorl of butter melts lazily over the nubbled surface, and sometimes, if I’m feeling extravagant or especially energetic, I might even add a scrape of salty, yeasty Marmite and some Cheddar.
I’m beginning to look forward to this little ritual. It smacks of freedom, of rebellion, of doing what pleases me. I don’t have to think about nutrition, or other people’s preferences, or what ingredients we have in the cupboard or freezer. My choices are simple, and limited and most importantly, delicious.
For me, toast is medicine. There’s something about the smell, the crunch, the way the butter drips off the bread and onto my hand that immediately comforts me, makes me believe that for those few minutes, at least, everything is alright in my world.
Nigel Slater, in the opening paragraphs of his childhood memoir, Toast (Harper Perennial, 2003) writes: “It is impossible not to love somoene who makes toast for you.” I’m inclined to agree.