The day we discovered the joys of lightly burning bread and then buttering it was a great day for the human race. Toast. I have had a love affair with this breakfast staple for much of my life. In fact, never mind breakfast. I can quite happily eat toast at any time of the day. If you analysed my familial DNA you would probably discover I’m at least 1% hobbit due to the multiple breakfasts I partake of on a daily basis.
Given my distinct lack of culinary skills it was perhaps inevitable that I would gravitate towards toast. There are certainly less dishes involved than cereal, eggs and the ever so complicated process that is porridge making. You just pop it in the toaster, wander off for a bit and then wait for the distinctive ping announcing that its chow down time. Even an idiot like me can manage that. Well, just about.
Now that’s the easy part. Listen closely for I’m about to reveal the secret of great toast making, toasting, whatever you wish to call it. The amateur toastmonger will react to said ping by immediately slathering the round with their favourite spread, allowing it to melt into a gooey, liquefied form. None of that nonsense for me. The toast must be allowed to cool sufficiently before application of said spread.
In my single days I used to make my toast the night before then place it in the fridge overnight. The next morning I would leap, yes leap,out of bed to enjoy the delights of rock hard, ice cold buttered toast. Fionnuala was horrified when she discovered this practice and quickly beat it out of me along with a couple of hundred other bad habits I had accumulated down the years.
We have now reached an uneasy compromise whereby I create a toast tent, leaning two rounds against one another on the kitchen worktop to accelerate the cooling process. All is well and the fridge is freed up for milk and cheese, stuff like that. I also used to put tins of beer in the freezer during my drinking days but that’s another story for another day. Needless to say, don’t ever do it.
Compromise is the key word in all this. I am a creature of extremes, when I set my mind on something I do it to excess. I’m a runaway train when it comes to such matters and as we all know, if allowed to career on unchecked, this will undoubtedly end in a train wreck. My OCD means I don’t have an emergency brake, there is no trip switch to avert disaster when it comes knocking.
It can be anything, even positive, healthy pursuits like running, writing, watching the kids play sport. I get too obsessed, I take it to the nth degree, don’t know when to stop. It requires medication and wise counsel from the likes of Fionnuala to temper these destructive urges within me. Left to my own devices I’ll resort to ridiculous practices like putting toast in the fridge overnight.
I’ll be a work in progress, there will always be room for improvement. Progress and improvement occur by listening to the advice of those around you who care and are willing to take the time to smooth the rough edges. It’s no easy task, a labour of love and it’s not for everyone. But the results can be spectacular and life changing. Just ask the idiot who used to place his toast in the fridge overnight.