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Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Toast Thief

A couple of mornings ago, I went into the kitchen to make myself some toast for breakfast, and realized what I had forgotten to get at the grocery store the day before. There wasn't even the tiniest bit of butter in the house. Or margarine, or vegetable oil spread, or yogurt-based spread, or any of the other things that people use like butter these days. I'll freely admit that I don't always eat things the same way that most other people do. I often like to eat freshly-baked bread without anything spread on it so that I can savor the delicious flavor of the soft interior of the loaf and the crunchy, chewy crust. And I have been known to be perfectly happy to eat toast devoid of any butter or other spread. There is so much flavor in that toastiness that sometimes it can satisfy my taste buds very well without being fancied up. 

I guess it's just one of the follies of human nature, then, that makes me willing to eat plain, dry toast when I am in the mood, but find it less than desirable when there's no choice. I went ahead and ate the toast with some lingonberry preserves, which was fine, but it would have tasted just a bit better with a nice bit of butter on the toast first. The slight saltiness in between the nicely toasted bread and the tart-sweet preserves would have been lovely. But I remembered to be grateful that I had something to eat, even if it wasn't according to my plan. 

There have been other times when I have been forced to go without butter on my toast, even though there may have been pounds of it in the house. I am sure that most of us have dealt with those times when the digestive system goes a little wonky and we spend the day trying to stay as close to the bathroom as possible. Everyone will tell you that on those days you should eat dry white toast. This is often advised as part of what some people call the BRAT diet - Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. (Sometimes I think BRAT stands for Boring, Really, Awfully and Totally.) When my toast ended up butterless the other day, I had to think fondly of my most memorable experience with dry white toast, which involved a little poodle named Paris.

I was having one of those icky days, but I knew that we had to get out and run some errands in the afternoon. So I decided to make myself a couple of pieces of the supposedly intestinally-soothing dry white toast, and munch on them while I took care of some things I needed to do on the computer. I made my toast, under the ever-watchful eyes of my sous chef Paris. I brought it with me and set the plate on top of a catch-all that was a handy extension of the desk. I nibbled on my toast as I went from one website to another, taking care of bills and such. I turned to get another slice of delicious and enticing dry white toast, and saw that the plate was empty. I checked to see if the toast had fallen on the floor, but there was no toast anywhere. Of course, I had been eating it almost unconsciously, so I laughed at myself for not even realizing that I had eaten both pieces of toasted bread.

We got ourselves out and about to run our errands, and as usual Paris was thrilled when we got home. As was her usual habit, she immediately performed a shopping bag inspection to see if we had gotten her any treats or toys, which we hadn't, and then wandered off. I assumed she was getting one of her toys to inspire us to play with her now that we were home. At some point, I found little Miss Paris walking around in a way that said, "I have something I am excited about, and very proud of, but I'm afraid that when I show you, you'll try and take it from me!" In other words, she was walking around wagging her tail, but had her head tucked down and a bit to the side, like she was trying to hide something.

Paris weighed all of eight and a half pounds, so I simply scooped her up to see what it was that she was trying to hide and show off at the same time. Lo and behold, it was the missing piece of toast! It was entirely too cute to see her with that piece of toast, and she really was a very good dog, so I followed her to the bedroom and let her take it up on the bed. I did take it from her, but only because it was too large for her to eat without being broken up into smaller pieces. She was allowed to eat every bite of her treasure. Ever since that day, one of her pet names was Toast Thief. What follows is a dramatic recreation of the crime scene for the purposes of this program. An edited version of this photo greets me every time I turn on my tablet, and still makes me smile. And yes, she got to eat this piece, too!