Lately I’ve rediscovered toast.
For a while I forgot about it, indulging daily in the pleasures of fresh, soft bread. But recently I’ve been hauling out the toaster every morning, as much for a sense of thriftiness (thanks, Rose Prince) as for a simple delight in thick slices of slightly crunchy, hot, buttery, jam-smeared bread to accompany my morning ucp of tea.
I don’t like my toast too toasty, unlike Bruno, who likes his well-browned and crunchy crunchy. I like mine with only the merest hint of colour, just enough crunch and warmth to let you know that yr not eating raw bread anymore, but something infinitely more delicious (and better suited to chilly mornings).
I whack on heaps of (unsalted) butter and smooth on some of whatever jam we’ve got open – at the moment we’ve got strawberry and vanilla, a particularly wonderful accompaniment, and some of Bruno’s mum’s yummy apricot jam, as well as the too-stiff cherry and vanilla jam that Sean and I made when he was here, which of course still tastes fab despite it’s difficult consistency – or some honey if I’m feeling up for stickiness and mess.
I don’t like too much jam or honey – I have a weird phobia about sinking my teeth into lots of sweet stuff. I always imagine my front teeth rotting away in such a concentrated sugar bath, which is why I often tear my toast into small pieces and eat those, thus avoiding biting altogether – just enough, not knifefuls.
Bread with butter and jam only really swam into view for me once we moved here and I started to make my own jam. The bread here is so fantastic that it becomes much more than just a couple of slices of cardboard or cottonwool hastily eaten before running out the door. Not only is the bread hearty and sustaining, it is, almost without exception, unsliced, so it takes a little more effort to pop it into the toaster – you gotta slice it yrself, and properly, evenly or else it won’t fit into the toaster. Only after 3 years of practice can I now almost cut bread properly, and even so I still do uneven doorstops when I’m not paying attention. I think it takes a lifetime of experience : )
Buttery jam bread is about the only breakfast I can stomach during the week when I am hauled out of bed by the kiddies at an unreasonably early hour of the morning to demands of ‘bix! bix!’ (weetbix). I sleepily make the kiddies weetbix with hot milk (for some unknown reason they both love weetbix, Lola especially), and then set about slicing and toasting something for myself. After they’ve finished their weetbix the kiddies will have some bread and jam too, although I know Lola just tolerates the bread (she’s not a huge bread eater, unlike Max) for the jam – one day I caught her eating spoonfuls of jam straight out of the jar with a big spoon.
On the weekends we take more time, and we’ll often have eggs (soft-boiled or poached) or french toast, sometimes with the cheese box on the table as well, sometimes not. But always with bread, butter, and jam. And coffee!!
My favourite bread at the moment is a deliciously brown and malty St Galler Landbrot. It toasts fantastically – in fact, it is better as toast than fresh – and keeps well. It comes in a bumpy lump, and the crumb has a great smooth, firm texture. It’s available from Migros, for the bargain price of FR2.20. Small price to pay for so much breakfasting pleasure.