Monday, 2 March 2009

Beans on Toast

I have to say that beans on toast is one of my favorite things to eat in England. I even have a little song that I sing when I cook them up! I am sure those who know me well aren't surprised that I have song about this, so here it is. I sing it while I am stirring my beans and waiting for the toast to pop up.

Beans, beans, beans on toast. It's the English food that I love the most.

The reason for this post isn't to talk about beans, but to talk about toast. I am now eating toast every day, which might not seem like a big deal except that I never really ate toast in Minnesota. I guess that's not entirely true, I would eat it if I was out for breakfast. I just would never really make toast for myself at home. In fact I didn't even have a toaster for a long time. I just didn't start my day with toast. Not because I didn't like it. I do enjoy toast, I just thought it took to long to make.

Now, I realize how nuts that sounds. Toast doesn't take very long at all to make. However, I am not a breakfast before I leave the house kind of girl. I would sleep as late as I could get away with and then dash out the door. Grabbing a coffee and something to eat wherever I went. If I was going to work then I would eat breakfast there. If I did make toast for myself in the morning than what usually happened was that I would pop it in and then forget about it only to discover it by the time it had transformed into croutons.

Perhaps it's because I have no where to be in the morning that I have turned to toast. There's really no where to run out and grab something for breakfast where I live. There's always bread, so there's always toast.

There is an interesting perspective on toast in Kate Fox's book Watching the English. The book is about the hidden rules of English behaviour and it is a very useful reference book for me. Kate has noted that in England toast is not only a breakfast staple, but an all-purpose comfort food. She discuses the role of the toast rack and points out that American toast is usually "served piled up hugger-mugger in a humid, perspiring stack on the plate, sometimes even wrapped in a napkin to retain yet more moisture. The English would rather have their toast cool and dry than warm and damp. American toast lacks reserve and dignity:it is too sweaty and indiscreet and emotional."

See, there is more to the subject of toast than one originally would think.

I was talking to Vance (our resident coach surfer) about it this morning. What I missed was being able to run out in the morning, usually on the way to somewhere, and getting an almond croissant from the Wedge for breakfast. I became lost in thought about how I used to go about getting my breakfast.

The convenience of being able to decided that you are in the mood for a Jamba Juice, Chipotle burrito, Mexican mocha (from Bob's Java Hut), a cup of tomato soup from the French Meadow, a Dairy Queen, a cupcake from Lucias or an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie from the Great Harvest and then jumping in your car and going to get it.
It's one thing that I think I will always miss about living in America

I also will admit that I miss the drive through. A few times last week I drove Matthew to the tube station and thought that it would be great if I could run to McDonalds and get a bacon, cheese and egg biscuit. There is a McDonalds that is some what close to where I live, but there is no where to park anywhere near it and they don't have the biscuit either. So it was back home for some toast.

Matthew was shocked at all the drive throughs in Minneapolis, especially at the bank. He just couldn't get over that you could do your banking or get cash at an ATM from a drive through. Matthew's home town, Bognor Regis, didn't get it's first drive through until he was 13 years old. I think it was a Burger King that opened just outside of the town center, off the motorway. It's hard to imagine never going through a drive through until you were 13. As hard as I try I just can't.


  1. I so wanted "Watching the English" to be my Bible to England when I first arrived! Thanks for bringing back the memories...(Did you notice that some of the "observations" she made about Americans were, um, unusual?)

  2. When you have a baby in hospital in the UK, after labour, they serve you tea and toast. Yes, it's the ultimate comfort food.

    Get Matthew to teach you the other song about beans. It's not very polite, but you can't consider yourself a Brit till you know it.

  3. I love, love "Watching the English" and should probably re-read it now that I've been here a while!

    I never had a toaster in Minnesota, but always a toaster-oven. I imported one here and use it all the time. I never ate much toast plain as a kid, but we used to use this beast to melt peanut butter on toast (two cycles of the toaster, one for the bread and one for the peanut butter)... makes me hungry just thinking about it!


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