MUSINGS

A place for your deeper toast-related thoughts

 

Hey there,

I kinda figure that we should probably quit screwing around with this toast thing. It's clear that we now know that toast satisfies many senses, and each of us in his own way reaches some Nirvana while enjoying toast. For some it can be an erotic experience while for others it may be the closest they'll ever come to a true and unconditional love. Toasted bread asks nothing of us in return for the joy it imparts to our wretched little daily lives. It's almost a gift from a truly loving God!

Which brings me to this question.... Why is religion in general so tight lipped about toast? Can you show me a single reference in scripture about it? Have you ever attended a sermon dedicated to toast? I think not! That's too freakin' bad..... here's one place where religion missed the boat, and as a devout former Catholic, I should know! I think back now on the sermons I heard as a child..... Jesus and the miracle of loaves and fishes... He created enough to feed 5,000 concert fans.... but no toast. He stopped just short of a true miracle. How about the Jews who the night before embarking on their epic journey, ate bitter herbs and unleavened bread, but again, no toast. They spent the next 40 years wandering the desert in search of a decent restaurant, one where you could wear a mink coat without shoes. God provided the ancient people with all the fixins..... manna spread.... date jam... sardines, all of the good things to put on toast..... but no toast!

I was raised Catholic. I guess I should probably redefine that to mean Mom dragged me kicking and screaming to church each Sunday where we'd sit in a pew directly behind some guy reeking of booze and directly in front of some old lady with breath that could stall an engine. I sat obediently through countless children's masses until that one fateful day when Fr. Gropius decided it was time for me to attend religious instructions. I was haunted by all of the usual insecurities suffered by boys my age, but it took the efforts of Sister Mary Torment to make me understand what a truly useless piece of cosmic pissweed I really was. Anyway, to make a long story short, I succeeded in memorizing the Baltimore Catechism to the satisfaction of the resident priests and after a while developed the chronic self-loathing, terror attacks, and guilt syndromes that would forever identify me as a Catholic youth. Now it was time for the communion wafer. My first communion was a disaster from the start. My dad wasn't Catholic which meant that if he had stepped into the church the gates of Hell would have opened somewhere on earth and swallowed innocent children...... so he showed Mom how to use the camera and stayed home. I had confessed the appropriate number and quality of sins to the priest and after being shown what touching oneself in an impure manner really was, I promised not to do it again, said three each of the most potent prayers, and was now certified pure enough to receive the wafer.

We kids left our seats and filed toward the communion rail. There were just enough of us to fill the rail to capacity and we knelt piously trying to remember what to do when the priest got to us. 1. Close your eyes. 2. Clasp your hands in prayer. 3. Open your mouth. 4. Stick your tongue out. 5. Don't drool. 6. When the priest places the wafer on your tongue make the sign of the cross and take the wafer discretely into your mouth. 7. Open your eyes and file back to your seat. Sounded simple... Well, you decide.

All was going well.... the communion bell sounded.... the organ music started.... we filed forward..... knelt.... the priest is approaching me... Mom checks the shutter and flashes the camera in her face..... sees millions of little stars... never sees the ceremony..... just as well ! You see, there was just one thing that never happened in those religious instruction classes..... a dry run. God, I wish I could have tried one of those wafers before being ambushed by that first one at the rail. It would seem that we should have been given a training wafer, you know, an unholy one just to see if we'd like it. Oh well, you can guess the rest. My poor mother heard what she wasn't able to see..... my rising gorge when the disk landed on my tongue. The gag reflex resulted in noises usually made only by faulty laundry equipment. I ran blindly toward the back of the church while trying to dislodge the wafer from my tongue. I finally managed to stick it to the roof of my mouth where it mercifully dissolved. I stood alone and embarrassed in the vestry while my still blinded mother stood near the altar rail consoling the wrong child. These are the things that can scar one for life.

After we got home my mom explained to me that things would be better next week when I would certainly be doing it again. OBOY, not this kid. I was smarter than that. You see, if I didn't sin, there would be nothing to confess and therefore no need to choke down another one of those wafers so for three weeks I was Mr. Perfect. Didn't swear, didn't steal, didn't covet anything, and if it hadn't been for one of those impure touching deals I'd have lasted for months. I dreaded the next week's events, but like a good boy I went to confession that Saturday night and got into that communion line the next morning. I was confident, and maybe even a little cocky..... you see, I knew that nothing could bother me this time. Mom had given me the best advice I'd ever had....... "This time just make believe it's toast". Amen! Thanks Mom.

Gordon


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Sir,

I'm indebted to your web-site for bringing to my attention this insidious practice. What, in the name Manfred Von Knickerhausen, is wrong with you people ? Have you no decency ? When toast is served, it should be hot enough to scorch the skid marks off a sprog's nappy. Leaving it lying around in arty-farty little patterns to cool - never mind flappin' and wavin' it about like some demented on-course bookie - is, quite simply, outrageous. I tell you - if I ever catch the Mem Sahib up to those kinds of antics, she'll be confined to barracks and on jankers for a fortnight. And what's all this self-pitying, whinging nonsense about condensation forming on the plate ? Warm the bloody plate up first, you morons, then you don't get the temperature difference between the food and the plate (which is what forms the water in the first place). Did you not go to school ? Were Physics lessons just something that happened to other people ?

Reading between the lines, my guess is that you also encourage the toasting of bread which is less than the required thickness. Kings Rules and Regulations clearly state that the bread should be no less than the thickness of the Regimental mascot's wedding tackle. In the case of the Irish Guards, the Irish Wolfhounds selected for the privilege used to be bred specifically for their prowess in the todger dept. In the case of my own Regiment, the Royal Punjab Lancers, we had an Indian Elephant. You can only but wonder at the epic proportions of breakfast in the Officers Mess.

Then we come to the subject of what to spread. Butter's all very well but a soldier needs something more than congealed milk in his gut if he's going to teach Johnny Foreigner a lesson he won't forget in a hurry. Curry paste - that's the thing. My own particular favourite is "Gandhi's Gut Griller" - 5 rupees a pot and worth every penny by God. Talk about fire in your belly. (One word of caution if you're new to GGG, ensure the thunder box to be used post-consumption is at least 50 yards from the nearest habitation, that all windows & doors within a 250 yard radius are closed and that ladies of a delicate disposition are kept completely out of ear-shot.)

I'd wager the national debt of a small African country that this "toast leaning" is only the tip of the moral decline iceberg threatening today's society. A little more stiff upper lip and the return of National Service would sort out most of mummy's little darlings and the rest of the dregs of humanity putting low-fat / vegetable oil and God-knows-what-else on their comestibles. Stop it - damn your duck-pond - or I'll be forced to organise, through my action group (Serve Hot Incandescent Toast), a protest of a more physical nature.

Yours,

Thruppington ('Upper') Ramsbottom (Major - ret.)

 

 

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