Recipe: Mama’s classic toast

Disclaimer: The following is not true at all, quite obviously…at least, I hope it’s obvious. Also, I love how recipes are written on the Internet. God bless toast.

So much of memory is tied to scent, and nothing brings me back to my childhood as much as the smell of fresh toast in the morning. Back on the farm where I grew up, we had cows, ducks, chickens, horses and a lush beige field that grew perfect, magical wheat as high as an elephant’s ear. My great-great-grandfather Hank, who lived to be a ripe 106 years old, taught us how to harvest the wheat with our bare hands before grinding it into a fine flour. And oh, the wonderful things that flour would make!

Granny would get up at 4am and drink a bottle of whiskey while making the perfect bread to feed the dozen or so family members and runaways who lived on or near the farm. It was dense and tasteless, which made it perfect for sharing. Every day, we’d turn that glorious bread into toast, shouting our gratitude into the pantry where Granny had passed out in her apron. Today, I’m going to share this beloved family recipe with you – I hope it brings you as much joy as it has brought my family over the years!

Before I can explain toast to you, I’m going to get into some more backstory. It all started out when we fled our small town because Daddy went and robbed another bank. Mama said she was tired of running from the law, so we changed our names and moved onto the farm with Hank and Granny, who were apparently close relatives of ours, though we’d not met them prior to that day. Hank didn’t seem to like Daddy very much, but they took to each other pretty well after a few weeks. Hank was smiling more and patting Daddy on the back a lot, saying things were going to be just fine. That was nice.

Unfortunately, Daddy was soon killed in an unfortunate hunting accident on the back fields. It was strange, because Grandpa Hank was the only one who knew how to use a shotgun and he was totally napping at the time, he swore. It must have been a vagrant. Small towns aren’t what they used to be, I guess!

Mama went on a nice, long vacation after that, eventually coming home with a new friend named Gary. Gary was nice, and he stayed with us until the hauntings started. First, it was just things being moved around but then, there was howling in the night that just wouldn’t let up, as long as Gary was around. When Papa Gary saw Daddy’s face reflected back at him in his morning coffee, he threw his things in a rucksack and hitch-hiked himself directly to church. We never saw him after that day. That old Daddy – always a trickster! Life was beautiful on the farm.

Now, back to toast. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • bread
  • a toaster

First, open the package of bread. Because you probably don’t have a drunk old woman living in your haunted farmhouse, store bought bread will do. It’s just like Ina says! Now, give it a smell – is it fresh? Probably not, but it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be toast, after all, which is basically stale bread.

Now, stick that bread in the toaster. Check the knob to make sure it’s not set too high or too low. God help you if it’s set to bagel. Now, go make a pot of coffee. Measure the grinds, get some water from the tap, check the lead levels and OH! Look at that. Your toast is done. And isn’t it gorgeous?

Put that sucker on a plate (or a napkin, or just in your fist) and then manoeuvre it onto your mouth hole with enthusiasm. If you’re fancy, add a slap of margarine or some questionable preserves from your family’s cold cellar. Chew. Swallow. Pray for Daddy’s soul. Then finish making that coffee and get out there to seize the day. Thanks for reading, and remember – breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day!

Prep time: six hours (for Granny) or however long it takes to buy bread

Cooking time: 30 seconds

Difficulty: mostly emotional

Calories: I dunno, it’s bread

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