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Mmmm Toast. I've wondered idly on and off for years what Sting was on about in that song where he sings " I don't like coffee, I take tea my dear, I like my toast done on one side. tumte tum te tum etc I'm an English man in New York". So is this an English thing - doing toast on one side? What's the point of that then? I've asked various Englishmen of my acquaintance and they've never heard of it. I was there myself only last week in sunny Bournemouth and they definitely served the toast done on more than one side in my hotel. My colleague Sue says the song's about Quentin Crisp and speculates it might be an euphemism for something else what ever that means but she's a Welshwoman from Pontardawe and has her toast done on both sides with salty welsh butter so what would she know? It's Marmite and a mashed banana for me.
PS we wondered whether you'd seen this shocking story from the South Wales Evening Post
|Nicey replies: Morning,
I'd always assumed that Sting was projecting some weird Geordie Toast making practice on to the rest of England. Maybe his toaster is knakered. He's got a lot to answer for as many Americans now use that song as their stereotypical cultural summing up of the UK having finally ditched Mary Poppins, I know I have the emails.
As for that article, I remember going on a school trip to the British Tissues factory in Maestyg, and seeing various sorts of loo rolls being built. The same stuff was going into Dixel and Maid Marion (another corner shop brand). It also appeared to be the place where they make that pink toilet tissue with the little pictures of roses on it, which always seems to be the stuff people resort to when taken short in laybys. I think we all got a four pack of loo rolls to take home, and I remember Nanny Nicey was thrilled with it.
||I thought Keith O'Kane raised a very good point about "sitting down" activities. When looking at your site I do get very excited at the prospect of eating biscuits (though do not experience same feelings about cakes) but was sent into a trance-like state at the mention of toast. I more or less live on toast. I love it. The best type of toast is lightly done with lots of Anchor butter - no cheap, marg rubbish please. Although recently have been enjoying fresh bread, lightly toasted and absolutely smothered with Philadelphia cream cheese. Heavenly. |
My colleague, Jinty, prefers cheese and crackers. How are crackers classed?
|Nicey replies: You are of course right about Anchor butter. I know we make butter in this country but it really seems to taste nicer when its been put in a boat and shipped here all the way from New Zealand. Perhaps we send ours back to them on the return trip, I don't know.
We class crackers by simply drawing a little box and putting the word 'Crackers' on it, I refer you to the Venn Diagram.
||Dear Nicey and the wife,|
Having looked through your feedback, I notice that there are many items relating to various cakes and biscuits but very little correspondence on the subject of toast.
I imagine that for most people, the phrase "A nice cup of tea and a sit down" evokes an image of afternoon tea. This is perfectly understandable as the 3 o'clock cuppa or a freshly brewed pot on arriving home after work are the most anticipated and well deserved breaks in the average day. On these occasions, a biscuit or a nice piece of cake is exactly the right accompaniment.
There are, however, other tea drinking opportunities, particularly breakfast and supper time, when a slice of toast is more appealing. As a child, one of my favourite culinary treats was hot, buttered toast with a sprinkling of sugar. The toast has to be hot to allow the sugar to melt into the butter. Nowadays, I enjoy toast with butter or marmalade for breakfast. Speciality jams are also provided for the younger members of the household.
For supper, I will occasionally top my toast with peanut butter or something more exotic such as cheese (with a dash of Lea & Perrin's), pilchards, plum tomatoes or mushrooms with cream.
Perhaps you could provide a survey on the best "toast topper", including butter, jam, marmalade, peanut butter, marmite (yuck!), mashed banana etc.
As you can see from this short list of options, toast is extremely versatile and should note be ignored.
p.s. Possibe new icon alert.
|Nicey replies: Kieth,
Our mate Nick Parker wrote a splendid book on toast, he also ran the London marathon last Sunday.
Of course Toast falls within the gamut of tea and sitting down activity. Wifey likes tea before, during and after Toast in the morning. Wifey sticks rigidly to Marmite or cheese. I like Bovril, Marmalade, sometimes a spot of jam occasionally Peanut Butter with sweet pickle or fresh ground black pepper. A spot of Heinz Tomato Ketchup is very good also. The whole team enjoys Sardines on toast and we feel strongly that more people should eat Sardines on toast.
I'll try a sweet toppings poll first, but I think I know the outcome already.
Big Woos for the icon fest nature of this message
Love the site.
Got an observation for you, wondered if it's been noticed before, or is worthy of further investigation: I've noticed for a while that eating things with tea affects the flavour (and therefore enjoyment) of the tea. Cake and biscuits are an enhancement, obviously, while cranberry juice isn't. But what of the humble fried egg sandwich?
We do our fried eggs in olive oil, add a little bit of salt, and lace them with black pepper and ketchup (brands vary). White bread is used, naturally.
Eating one of these slightly before or during tea consumption gives tea a new dimension in flavour, one unmatched by any other comestible I've encountered. Have you noticed this?
|Nicey replies: The Wife usually initiates the fried egg sandwich action here, and we always wash them down with lashings of tea. I haven't noticed any changes in flavour though, maybe because we fry ours in a knob of butter.|
In response to Sue Northcott's horror at Marie biscuits + Vegemite, as an Aussie girl who's been eating Vegemite for all my 22 years of life, I feel like I have to offer some kind of a response. As kids, it used to be great fun to sandwich butter or margarine + a generous layer of Vegemite between two savory multigrain biscuits called Ryvitas and squeeze to awake the tiny brown and yellow worms beneath! (I can't remember if Ryvitas are available in the UK, I doubt that they're exclusively Australian). So while Marie biscuits are quite different from Ryvitas, and I concede that it's probably not the nicest combo, it sounds like Sue's classmate was trying to make do and recreate an Aussie favourite (probably in the absence of Ryvitas).
Cheers from the Land of Oreos & Peanut Butter! :-)