Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Granddaddy's Toast


My love for toast started at an early age. My mom often made us toast as a snack: toasted sandwich bread with a little butter or jam, toasted rye bread (so good!), toasted cinnamon raisin bread (swoon!) and the very special cinnamon sugar toast - where she would butter the toast and then sprinkle on a mix of cinnamon and sugar. Even so, no toast stands out as clearly from my toasty memories as the toast that my grandpa would make for me.

My grandparents lived quite nearby, and we were lucky enough to see them often. Still, it always felt special to be at their house with them. I loved them so much. Just thinking about them makes my heart feel big and happy.
my grandparents had a cutting board in the shape of a pig,
my brother made it for them in woodshop class

At our house, we always made toast with sliced bread from the store. But, when my grandpa made me toast, he would go to the refrigerator and take out a huge, round loaf of sourdough bread. I think they bought it in San Francisco or something like that. Anyway, it all seemed very amazing and special to me. (this was before the days of artisan bakeries!) Then, he would take down a big bread knife and cut off a really thick piece.

This was possible because they had a toaster oven! At home we had a regular toaster, but my grandparents had a toaster oven in the corner and I was totally mesmerized by it. I vividly remember standing in front of it, staring at the glowing orange heating coils, watching the miracle of bread becoming toast.

Once the toast was ready, my grandpa would put our pieces of toast on small plates and butter them generously. Then, there was no casual standing around eating of toast. Instead, we would move to their dining room, sit down, and eat our toast together. Sometimes I would ask for another piece!

I loved the quiet, steady ritual of watching my grandpa go through each step of making toast. I loved how safe and warm and loved I felt in his presence, and how special it felt to eat something that he had prepared for me with such care and kindness. I have to say, I am a bit surprised and quite moved to discover how clearly I remember all of this.


This morning, I made a perfect piece of toast, with a big thick slice of fresh sourdough from our local bakery, and some (vegan) butter ~ just like my Grandpa would have made for me. Toasted in my very own toaster oven, of course. I took my perfect toast, put it on a small plate, and sat down at the table to eat it. 

37 comments:

  1. Amey. Seriously. You made me teary-eyed reading a post about toast. That was just lovely.

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  2. I love toast! My grandparents made me thick slices of Italian bread toast but they didn't have a toaster oven. However, my grandmother did have a gas stove and a bent wire hanger (fold both round shoulder ends towards each other, then press down to make it a bit more flat, the hook becomes the handle). It was magical.

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    1. wow!! What an amazing toast memory!! Thank you for sharing it with me!

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  3. I love toast SO much especially sourdough, that's definitely my favourite.

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  4. This nosh-talgia is so lovely :) Toast goes with soup for me but as a teenager at boarding school with terrible food I ate a lot of toast slathered with chocolate spread!

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    1. Oh yeah, toast with chocolate spread is seriously good. When I was little, we went to Denmark to visit some family friends... and that is where I first learned about Nutella on bread. For a moment, I thought it was crazy - but obviously, all it took was one bite to realize that it was Not Crazy At All.

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  5. You've turned my brain to toast. All I can do now is smile and sniffle. :)

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    1. Awww, sweet Andrea. :)

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  6. This is so, so sweet! I love how many food-based memories you have, and how clear they are for you! I can smell the toast cooking right now :)

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    1. It's amazing to realize how many food-specific memories there are, stored in my brain and in my heart!

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  7. That's such a lovely story! My favourite way to eat toast is with margarine and sugar, I think it somehow happened one day when I didn't have cinnamon and ended up just omitting it. It's not very healthy though so I try not to eat it that way too often! Also people make fun of me sometimes because it's a 'weird' way to eat tosat!

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    1. ooh! I can see that marg & sugar would be a great combo. There are some spanish tortas that come with olive oil and sugar and they are super good. Hmm... more toast ideas!

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  8. I *love* this post so much! You have such a sweet MoFo theme! I remember cinnamon sugar toast fondly....I just made some for Jacob the other day (can't believe he'd never had it!!) and now we make it all the time on weekends.

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    1. Wha??!! I can't believe that poor Jacob had never had cinnamon sugar!! Thank god you could amend the situation!!! :)

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  9. So sweet Amey... my heart just sighed a little bit

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  10. What a sweet memory! Cinnamon toast is the best, I actually remember making it at my grandparents house too. :-)

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    1. yay! that's so sweet that we both have grandparent toast memories!

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  11. I'm sorry to sound like such a broken record seeing your comments pop up, but this is the sweetest thing I've read in a long time. Keep toastin' Amey.

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    1. :) thank you so much, sweet Jess! It's amazing how intertwined food and emotions can be, huh?

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  12. Naw, this is the best. It totally made me think of my mum's parents, too- being German, eating bread was a big part of spending time at their place!

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    1. yeah! and German bread is sooooo good!!!

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  13. Aw, this is basically the best thing ever.

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    1. :) thanks sweet friend!

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  14. This is SO SWEET. I was very close with my grandparents, too. I think this is the first time a MoFo post has brought me close to tears! (good ones. <3)

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    1. Oh, CQ. Grandparents are so special, aren't they? I have to say, this is the first time that writing a mofo post made me cry!

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  15. I love this. My sister and I have always considered toast a perfect food, best enjoyed together. It's so great to see other people have such toast love. Warm and fuzzies all around. This is such a beautiful post.

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    1. yes, a lifelong toast companion is a good thing to have!

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  16. Oh, and I'm certain that your blog's title art is the best thing ever.

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    1. Thank you so much, DGM,GV!

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  17. I love this post so much, Amey! What lovely memories of love and food, and love of food! My grandmother used to give me slices of baguette with butter and sugar and I loved it so much! It wasn't something that I ate at home, so it was an extra special treat. Your doodles always make me smile! :)

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    1. I love that so many of us remember our grandparents making us toast. I must remember to always make toast for the little people in my life.

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  18. I just had toast as part of my lunch! This is such a sweet story. I love that he took the time to make it just so, and that you sat down and ate the toast off of little plates.

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    1. :) yes, it was so true to who he was. He did everything in such a thoughtful and steady way. He was amazing.

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  19. I love all the toasts! This is so lovely. What a sweet memory.

    (Also, I have a pig-shaped cutting board--courtesy of the Pork Board--that I liberated from a food blogger conference.)

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