Recycled: Burnt Toast

my own picture, to be added to cookware and ba...
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The following post originally appeared on Whiskertips. For those unfortunate enough to have missed it the first time, I repeat it here.


I burn toast.

It’s hereditary. My mother burned toast. My grandmother burned toast.

In fact, once when my grandmother was making cornbread dressing for Christmas dinner, she burned the toast three consecutive times.

My father, who had been watching the procedure, drawled, “Mrs. Barrow, you’re a failure.”

While I was remembering that bit of family lore, I burned the toast.

My husband came to see what the yelling was about. I pointed at the cinders and said, “That was the end of the loaf, so we’ll just have to eat it.”

More tactful than my father, he turned around, but not before I glimpsed the corner of his mouth twitch. He has learned to expect charred bread.

He’s learned to expect a few other things as well.

I lock my keys inside my car. If I’m preoccupied enough, I lock the extra set of keys and the cell phone in with them.

I try to make four quarts of soup in a two-quart saucepan.

I hoard both fat clothes and skinny clothes for the time when they might once again, someday, fit.

That’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s good for a start.

I used to ask myself why I keep doing those things.

Lately, however, I’ve been wondering, “So what?”

I have a good working relationship with the roadside assistance folks: I send money and they send assistance. I’ve met some nice people this way. One locksmith, in fact, said I’d just made his day by not blaming him for being locked out.

When the soup fixings reach the brim, I get out a larger vessel and arrange a transfer. Then I add one more pot to the dishwasher.

Some years that gray wool suit fits and some years it doesn’t, but it’s in excellent condition, and there’s always hope.

And it’s not as if I don’t have a few talents.

Soup is a challenge, but I can pack the truck of a car so that every suitcase, garment bag, and Christmas present fits without spilling over into the back seat.

I can get pills down cats.

My booktalks make sixth-grade boys scramble to check out books I’ve recommended.

I make good ice cream.

Surely these things count in my favor.

The day of the latest conflagration, I found–serendipitously–the blog Burnt Toast, whose author points out that, while regular toast is boring, burnt toast has “flavor and character.”

I like that. After all, without burnt toast, I wouldn’t have the memory of my father teasing his mother-in-law, a story redolent of the flavor and character of my family.

So in the coming year, I resolve to say, “So what?” to the small stuff.

I’ll try to keep my keys in hand, but when I don’t, I’ll take that opportunity to make someone’s day.

I’ll donate some slacks to the Salvation Army, but I’ll keep the gray suit.

I’ll be grateful for soup that expands beyond the bounds of my expectations.

In short, I’ll embrace burnt toast, relishing the flavor and character it brings.


8 thoughts on “Recycled: Burnt Toast

  1. I happen to like toasty toast myself. If it’s too light, why bother? I love your idea of adapting a “So what?” attitude toward the small stuff. Heaven knows, there’s enough of the big stuff to worry about. (Don’t mean to be pessimistic but just saw a report on gasoline prices…)

    BTW, I also lock keys in cars. Never have locked both sets in, but did lock in my oldest child at age 11 months. I was frantic. She grinned and waved the the keys at me. Before cell phones, but hey it probably would have been behind the locked doors too. That’s just the way I roll. Sigh….


    1. As I have said before, I suspect we are sisters under the skin. If I’d had children, they’d have had many adventures waiting for the locksmith to get them out of the car. My latest spree had me telling AAA that my car was parked at the Gulf station, while a man behind me insisted, “Chevon! Chevron!”

      As for gas prices–I’m trying to convince myself they’re small stuff. It’s a lot easier now that I don’t have a commute.

      BTW–Congratulations on the new One Woman’s Day blog. I enjoy reading it. But I don’t know how you get everything done.


    1. As long as it doesn’t set off the smoke alarm, we’re fine.

      Thanks for commenting. I hope you and Maggie have good weather for your travels.


  2. Oh I really loved this!!
    There are some things about us that are simply not going to change, it’s a part of who we are, what makes us special, and yet, we spend so much time trying to fight them sometimes!
    My little untold secret: No matter if I brush first to get rid of any loose strands, or if I put it up, my husband will usually find one of my “beloved” hairs in his dinner!! I try and I try, but it’s no use, my hair likes to follow my hubby everywhere he goes! After many years of apologizing, I finally resorted to telling him that it’s my way of staying near to him and reminding him of me throughout the day!!


    1. Laurinda, I’m glad you liked the post. I wish I’d figured out the “So what?” a long time ago. When things aren’t going to change anyway…

      I like your secret–and your explanation. Creativity comes in handy, doesn’t it?

      I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Congratulations on One Woman’s Day. Thanks for commenting, and I hope you’ll come again.


  3. I really loved this too. I particularly love your talents. They are important talents, especially the pills-down-cats one. Brilliant, funny writing ( sorry to sound like a two bit reviewer, so low quality, but it comes from the heart :-D)


    1. Oh, Kate, I love it when you sound like a two-bit reviewer! Never apologize for that!

      But I have to qualify the pill-down-cats claim. It may be outdated. More on that later.


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