29 April 2011

Twisted Toast

Toast: it’s everywhere!

Whether it’s enjoyed as a light mid-afternoon snack, in bed with a cup of tea, or as part of a complete breakfast buffet, toast is an indispensable part of the breakfast landscape. There’s something inherently soothing and fundamentally satisfying about a slice of good toast, which explains why it’s so popular, and why popular culture is steeped in references to toast.Just this last December, the BBC released their critcally acclaimed drama ‘Toast’ starring Helena Bonham Carter. The movie is a heartwarming coming-of-age drama about a young lad named Nigel, and his desire to pursue an interest in the culinary arts. Billed as the “ultimate nostalgia trip through everything edible in 1960’s Britain”, the movie takes its name from Nigel’s mom’s inability to cook anything beyond toast.

The list of musical artists who’ve made references to toast in their lyrics is staggeringly varied. Putting aside that there’s actual bands called ‘Toast’, ‘Burnt Toast’ and ‘French Toast’ (none of which you’ve probably heard of), plenty of mainstream artists have either named their songs after the humble foodstuff, or uttered their praises to toast in their lyrics.

Swedish pop duo Roxette released their seventh album ‘Room Service’ in 2001, and featured the single ‘Milk and Toast and Honey’. The lyrics ‘Milk and toast and honey make it sunny / on a rainy Saturday he-he-hey’ may be simplistic, but there’s more than a little truth in them.

With seven million record sales and six certified platinum albums under her belt, Melissa Arnette Elliott, better known as Missy Elliott, is not only the most commercially successful female rap artist in music history, but an unabashed lover of toast. She’s been credited with performing her own version of Bob and Tom’s ‘Yeah Toast’ at a live show. The lyrics pretty much sum up how we all feel about toast:

All around the country coast to coast,
People always say what do you like most,
I don’t wanna brag i don’t wanna boast,
I always tell ’em I like toast.

Yeah toast! Yeah toast!

I get up in the mornin’ bout six AM,
Have a little jelly have a little jam,
Take a piece of bread put it in the slot,
Push down the lever and the wires gets hot,
I get toast.

Yeah toast! Yeah toast!
Now there’s no secret to toasting perfection,
There’s a dial on the side and you make your selection,
Push to the dark or the light and then,
If it pops too soon press down again,
Make toast.

Yeah toast! Yeah toast!

When the first caveman drove in from the drags,
Didn’t know what would go with the bacon and the eggs,
Must have been a genius got it in his head,
Plug the toaster in the wall,
Buy a bag of bread,
Make toast.

There’s plenty of other bands which have made mention of toast in their song titles, from American college punk band Blink 182 (‘Bananas and Toast’) to American pianist and songwriter Tori Amos (‘Toast’). LA-based rock band OK Go, well known for their quirky and unique music videos, even used toast as their canvas for their music video for their single ‘Last Leaf’. They apparently used 215 stale loaves of bread to create this amazingly beautiful stop-motion masterpiece.

People have even penned haikus to toast:

Bakery arson
Twelve thousand slices of toast
A silver lining

Breakfast wonderland
Clouds of steam rising frozen
From hot buttered toast

Scrape into the sink
Constellation of black stars
A toast neglected

Hours after breakfast
A lingering aroma
The ghost of a toast

The warm chosen slice
His jealous untoasted friends
Waiting for their turn

Even without the approval of popular culture, there’s no denying that toast is simply magnificent. Whether enjoyed at breakfast or an anytime snack with a cup of tea or coffee, toast is honest, filling and genuinely delightful!