There are very few things I can remember from when I was young. My selective memory only holds onto certain aspects of my early life, typically elements that have persisted and remained a huge part of my life. I can remember watching Doctor Who for the first time when I was 2. I can remember being stuck in a pram whilst my Nan chatted with a neighbour for what felt like hours. That still happens now however I tend to leave the pram at home these days. I can also vividly remember hating bread but completely adoring toast. My favourite food is halloumi and I’m not a huge fan of cheese so my contradictory tastebuds have also stuck around. I’ve since gotten over my artophobia (fear of bread) and in turn my burning passion for its toasted counterpart has only grown in strength. In my eyes, toast is the butterfly to bread’s caterpillar and the toaster is the chrysalis that transforms it into its ultimate form. Even plain toast is a gift unto society. The crispy exterior combined with the softer, chewier interior is more impressive than most man-made feats. Splitting the atom? I’m sure that was impressive at the time but when they woke up the morning after the celebratory gettogether I don’t think they were salivating as they waited for their proton to be the right shade of brown. Speaking of history, the origins of toasted bread are not fully known. The Romans popularised the consumption of it but they did not invent the idea and it is unknown how long it had been around before then. It’s actually quite sad that whoever thought of holding bread near a fire will never get the credit they deserve.
Back in the present, butter kicks down the door with the aggression of a mother on Albert Square at Christmas and blows our tiny human minds. I don’t go too crazy with this golden delight as you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. I want all the butter to soak right into each slice which also means I have to move fast and precisely before the toast cools down too much and doesn’t melt all of it. In regard to other toppings, I admit I’m not very adventurous and mostly stick to butter or its alternatives but I can appreciate what they all offer. Jams and marmalades completely switch the script and turn it into a sweet treat, perfect for the fast approaching summer. Chocolate spreads are also sweet but a lot more indulgent. I personally appreciate the hazelnut based ones but my personal relationship with nuts is a story for another time.
Finally, there is the conversation starter – Marmite. Despite the slogan, I neither love nor hate it but I can only eat it in very small amounts however I’m sure some people like it as much as I like toast.
There is even more that can be done with toast. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true. The toastie is a foodstuff in its own right. It’s like a sandwich but much, much, much better. Cheese is a vehicle but you can have any passengers you want! You can add meats, vegetables, sauces and more. I personally put mushrooms, red peppers and add a little bit of spice in some form. For those who don’t want something so cheesy, just toast bread before making a sandwich. It’s a life-changing experience and completely changes the texture profile.
Finally, toast is superior to most foods because it is considered acceptable for any meal of the day. It’s typically associated with breakfast however it’s not stuck in the breakfast box. It wanders a bit and visits other mealtimes or sometimes just takes a break on the journey between meals. It can sometimes be an accompaniment to a larger meal although I tend to avoid that because the toast would steal the spotlight too much. On the other hand, even if eating toast at any time of the day was considered taboo I would still do it and not feel bad about it because it’s simply that good.
So, what did we learn? Toast is pretty good but, as much as I wish it weren’t the case, I know that it is only my opinion that it’s one of the best things to ever exist. I’m sure someone reading this thinks toast is abhorrent. I’m sure someone else thinks Marmite is the best thing to ever exist instead. In conclusion, the Romans knew good food.