Friday, August 02, 2013

The Medicinal Qualities of Buttered Toast Sliced Vertically into Strips

One-a-Day Redux
Day Two:  Breakfast

The breakfast of choice in my childhood was toasted white bread in one form or another. Usually it was slathered in oleo, making it our version of "buttered" toast. Occasionally, if I was in the mood for something fancy, the toast was sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, and sometimes it was topped with peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and syrup.

Cinnamon toast was sliced once vertically and once horizontally, into four little toast squares. Toast topped with peanut butter and jelly was cut the same way as cinnamon toast. Toast with peanut butter and syrup on it was cut many times in both directions, making a soggy pile of bite-sized pieces. Buttered toast was always cut in half, vertically if Mammaw made it, diagonally if Mother did.

Unless we were sick.

If my sister or I was running a fever or experiencing nausea or another type of gastric distress, the first thing that was put into our stomachs was hot tea. If that stayed down for a while, we were offered more hot tea and a piece of buttered toast, cut vertically into four finger-sized strips. The toast strips were placed on a saucer and then, along with the tea, on a tray, which was brought to us in bed. Toast cut into strips is not meant to be scarfed down by a hungry kid. It has to be nibbled delicately, one tiny bite at a time chewed carefully, then swallowed, followed by a brief pause before the next bite. It was akin to a fine dining experience.

Toast cut into vertical strips has healing powers. In my family we all knew that. It works for cuts and sprains as well as for stomach ailments. When my own daughters were ill, I cut their toast into strips. I'm pretty sure my one daughter who has children made strips of toast for her kids when they were ailing.

It's been three years since I switched to a low-carb diet, so these days I never have white bread in the house. Once in a while I'll eat a slice of whole-wheat bread, thawed from the loaf I keep in the freezer. It's that whole-wheat bread I toast and butter now on the rare occasions when I wake up feeling sick. It isn't the same as white-bread toast, but once it's been sliced vertically into four strips, it works almost as well.


  1. Seems like I remember reading this in your family cookbook under the title "Sick Breakfast." That and the Heart Attack Cookies made with bacon grease were the only recipes I remembered. I still want to try those cookies some time!

    1. Hm. I replied to this hours ago and my reply has disappeared. Here's what I said earlier (more or less):

      My goodness, you have a good memory! I didn't even remember that Sick Breakfast was in that cookbook, but you're right; it's there. As for those cookies, they're to die for ... one way or another.


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