It’s the food that throws you back to a time when calories didn’t matter and edible ecstasy was everything.
Note: M.I.Y.O. Monday stands for Make It Your Own Monday, a question thrown out to DCF readers every Monday to jumpstart the week with lively interaction. I also welcome questions and suggestions for future MIYO Mondays. Email me.
My childhood memories center on food, I always have my priorities straight where food is concerned. Bread, specifically toast, is the food of my childhood. Up until I was 11, I thought that all bread came from the supermarket, a rectangular loaf neatly packaged. My naiveté was shattered in the 6th grade when I espied my classmate nibbling on what looked to be heaps of peanut butter slathered on two thickly sliced pieces of bread. “Where did you buy that bread?” I asked her, wide-eyed. “Oh, my mom made this,” she replies almost flippantly. What an astounding concept – that you could actually make bread at home! (13 years later, that’s exactly what I was doing, but that’s another story).
When I was a kid, happiness was toast, almost anything on toast. I still remember my favorites: butter and sugar. The bread had to be toasted just til it was heated through and crunchy-golden. If it had even a few lashings of black, I’d refuse to eat it. The butter was often cold, coming as it did straight from the refrigerator. To warm it up, I’d scrape my knife repeatedly over the top, always in one direction of course, until I had a fine, oftentimes feathered “plume” of butter. I’d spread this butter thickly over the still-warm toast, the crunch of the knife hitting the bread was most gratifying. And I never forgot to spread all the way through to the corners, because really, how can you miss the corners?
Sugar now, white please, and lots of it. Always with a clean spoon because mom hated it when the sugar clumped up in the jar, evidence of someone forgetting the rules. Sugar sprinkled from a spoon silently lands on the toast’s slick surface. Sometimes I’d get playful and try to sprinkle sugar from on high – what a mess I made!
Afterwards, nothing left to do but eat. Mouth open: crunch. Sugar: crunch. Butter: ooze. Happiness.
I had other favorites on toast, too. Condensed milk is one. Ohhh, I can’t even remember the last time I had condensada on toast. Crunchy and creamy, gushing into my mouth’s every corner, it was bliss. At the much-missed Ya Kun, I was introduced to Milo and condensada on toast. Now, I grew up on Milo but always as a drink, never a raw ingredient. On toast however, Milo assumes a more assertive chocolate note but retains its delicious grit. And with condensada, mmm… The version that Saint’s Alp offers is also a delicious throwback to nostalgia.
I think it’s time for me to make myself some toast. With butter. And maybe some Milo and condensada too.
Tell me, what is your favorite childhood food?