Monday, October 05, 2009

Give us this day our daily toast

… and forgive those who burn the toast and then scrape it .

For the best part of 25 years, I lived at home with my parents,
and my dad was well known for burning the toast at breakfast-time.
He’d come down in the mornings, wearing a dark red dressing gown,
unshaven but with his hair brushed neatly. On would go the
electric kettle, and then the electric toaster (or sometimes the
gas grill, when we were without a toaster). He made the tea,
warming the pot and then adding tea leaves in the usual way.
He'd then add the boiling hot water, followed by stirring the tea
and putting on a huge tea cosy (to keep the tea warm enough for
a second cup out of the pot).

Then we’d hear some loud swearing with reference to Hell or
Our Saviour, as he rescued his burning toast. All this was followed
shortly by the vigorous scraping of the said toast with a blunt
knife or the bread knife...

SCRAPE, SCRAPE, SCRAPE … into the sink.

He’d appear a short while later with the tea, toast, cups/mugs,
milk, butter and home-made marmalade … and after helping himself
to all this, or sharing it all with family/visitors, he’d settle
down to reading The Times / The Guardian for the next 15-20
minutes in silence … his head inside the newspaper. Actually, not
entirely in silence, as he'd be listening to classical music on
Radio 3. (Both my parents were literary/academic types ~ i.e snobs).

He varied his routine a little, when it came to our monthly
visits with our girls, when they were little. My parents had a
utility wooden gate-legged table (passed onto them by my mum’s
sister in the early years of their marriage), which our girls
used to hide under. He pretended not to see them when he came
down to breakfast, and feigned surprise when they all appeared
in due course. (This table outlived both my parents, but I put
it on the skip when I came to clear out the house. No-one wanted

My dad’s burning-the-toast routine became quite comical, though
I did feel annoyed at times at his incompetence when it came
to making it. In other ways, he was a perfectionist, as was my
mum … a trait which I’ve acquired, but which does not include
burning the toast.

I just hate burnt toast. :)

What reminded me of all this is that we’ve had another electric
toaster conk out on us. This was a German make, which we’d bought,
as a succession of British-made labelled ones didn’t last
very long. The German one has lasted us 2-3 years, and its demise
was most likely due to some people (including myself) prising out
stuck pieces of toast with knives. So this toaster had been been
badly abused.

With Mrs C’s agreement, I hope to get one of these to replace it
with … one of the bigger Dualit toasters which has had some good
reviews. John Lewis offers a five-year guarantee, which I think
would be worth having. Also our Nottingham branch of John Lewis
is happy to replace/refund items we’ve bought online with them,
so I think JL outclasses other online companies which don’t have
high street shops.

I hope we’ll be having some lovely hot buttered toast later this
week, with some Frank Cooper’s fine-cut marmalade on it … yum, yum.

Mmmmm ... heavenly toast.


Blogger Kimber said...

Honestly, I think there is some male toast- burning gene that scientists haven't discovered yet. My dad did (and still does) the same blessed thing to his toast. Except he claims to like it that way!

9:38 AM  

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