21 September 2006
The Toast Master
We are friends with a family from school that includes a boy (I’ll call him S) who was in the same class as Z-boy last year, and a girl (B) close in age to T-boy. We started a weekly child care swap in the second half of last school year, so the kids spent a fair amount of time together. We didn’t see each other quite so much over the summer, but the new school year – and the fact that S looks up to C-boy’s Lego- and Bionicle-building prowess – has meant more visits in the last month or so.
A few weeks I learned that S thinks I make the best buttered toast in the whole world. He tried to explain to his mom why it was so special – “there are these dents in the bread and the butter pools in it and it’s so great.” They did all sorts of trials to try to reproduce this at home. “Mom, this isn’t quite right. Will you please ask her for her recipe??!!”
You read it here first: once balloting is closed, I’m sure to be acknowledged as the Toast Master of my neighborhood. The thing is, I’m not even sure what my secret was! Probably the bread – we typically buy an “artisanal” bread, so I suspect this fabulously impressive toast was made with sourdough or sesame semolina. Or maybe it’s our toaster oven, with half the heating elements currently out of commission, and a slight eau-de-crum any time we cook in it. And come to think of it, the boys will often ask that I make their toast instead of Jonski Papa – something to do with pre- or post-buttering and the resulting impact on crispiness, so that might have entered into it.
It’s funny how kids think. Sometimes we put out so much effort in making things fun or grand or impressive, and the effort goes completely unnoticed. Other times we can make a piece of toast, probably completely by muscle memory and without even making much effort, and it becomes The Standard By Which All Toast Is Judged.
I know there’s an underlying lesson here, but I not quite sure what it is! It’s not the overly simplistic “kids need your presence more than your presents” interpretation, because let’s face it, I wasn’t really ‘present’ when I made that toast. But little things sometimes make a big impact. How can I pay attention to find more ways to be Toast Master to those around me?