First of all…I’m back. I was in Chicago taking care of a toddler whilst her mother (my cousin) was on a business trip.
Well. That. Was. Exhausting.
My friends warned me, but I thought, oh I can do this, I raised my own children didn’t I? Ahem. Within minutes of my cousin’s departure I was drawn back to the days of not being able to think a complete thought, to finish a cup of tea or read the newspaper. And: Not just a toddler, but a “missing her mother toddler.” Use your imagination.
To top it off, I caught the Illinois flu, a particularly fierce strain this year. Shivering with fever, I actually had to be wheeled off the plane in Tropica! Can you imagine? I’ve been recuperating at home, with tea, chicken soup, thermometer, VapoRub, day meds, night meds, naps, etcetera. How brilliant was Oscar Wilde to write, “No good deed goes unpunished.” And why oh why is this true?
Now onto my topic: slow toast. Slow toast is my buzzword for slow living, my new modus operandi. Especially appropriate at this moment since being ill makes you slow down real fast.
As my friend Jean Cappello says, “I could sink a ship with the weight of the kitchen equipment I own.” However, know this: everything I have, I really use. I tend to not buy single use items, like a panini maker, for example. The only single use item I have is a waffle iron and it gets a workout. I make waffles and freeze them, so there’s always a waffle at hand either for an easy breakfast with all the work already done, or an off the cuff “breakfast for dinner” with a savory topping. I also make cheese waffles for entertaining at cocktail hour. Your guests will swoon but all you’ve done is grate a whole bunch of really good cheese and put it in the (nonstick) waffle iron. A cheese waffle, if you haven’t ever had one, do.
This brings me to the toaster. Lately I started doing something that surprised me with the amount of pleasure it brings me. One morning I cut a slice of sour dough bread and realized I didn’t want to turn on my complicated toaster oven, which is more for baking than it is toasting. I put the slice of bread into the cast iron grill pan and turned the burner on high. I made some coffee, cut up some fruit. I flipped the bread over. In the time it took to prepare breakfast, I had a gorgeous slice of grilled toast and a texture that doesn’t happen in a toaster. Chewy, toasty toast.
I appreciate that when the toaster was invented, women rejoiced. Pop the bread down and forget about it.
But now, I’m all about slow toast.
After a lifetime of rushing around and being proud of how much I could accomplish in no time, I now take pride in doing less and doing it slowly. It makes me feel more, and deeply.
There’s something about the act of turning the flame on under the cast iron pan and putting in a piece of toast that calms me. It’s like putting the kettle on for tea, which is very comforting for me. Awhile ago I came home from the grocery and was tired from a long day, a long week, and from making various trips to the car to bring in the groceries, then putting them away. It was dinner time. I wanted a soup. But I didn’t want to cook for hours, chopping, slicing, dicing, tending the pot. I lit the gas burner under the cast iron pan and slid in a piece of bread. In another pan I heated up a can of soup. I flipped the bread over. I poured the soup into a bowl and doctored it with scallions, bean sprouts, fresh lemon, cut up avocado, a dollop of yogurt. Toast was ready, all was well.
Yep. Slow toast. That’s me.
P.S. Lately I find that when I travel I get sick. And not just sick but really sick. Different countries, different germs? Or maybe I need to investigate upping my immune system. Either way, bedridden in January is part of winter, I suppose, even in Tropica.
P.P.S. I adore my little baby cousine and cherished every minute of caring for her.