#FoodKarniTales: There Is Toast And Then There Is Toast…On A Tawa

Toast with butter
Image used for representation only.

There is something magical about being old fashioned, and cussedly old fashioned at that.

And nowhere does this magic manifest itself as much as in the case of, believe it or not, making toast.

There isn’t a person on this planet whose salivary glands will not go into overdrive thinking about a nicely browned slice of toast, on which generous quantities of butter have been liberally slathered. On this, there is universal unanimity. But, dear reader, the undersigned firmly believes that there are toasts, and then there are toasts.

And toast the way god meant it to be can only be created by having a slice lay in repose on a heavy iron tawa, meditating away on the lowest possible heat. None of those high falutin contraptions that swallow multiple slices at the same time, and have dials and counters and what not built into them. They do a passable job, I grant you, but it’s not at all the same thing.

The old fashioned way involves pulling out of the back of your kitchen cabinet the oldest tawa you can find, and putting it on the stove.

Pop a slice on there, adjust the flame so that it is at its lowest, and wait for the bread to turn just the perfect shade of brown. (And by the way, if you haven’t done so already, spend an extremely enjoyable twenty minutes or so reading about the Maillard reaction. Well worth your time.)

Your preferred shade of brown is entirely your choice, of course. Some prefer it to in essence not be white, while others prefer it be indistinguishable from cinders. Me, personally, I prefer a deep, luxuriant, evenly applied shade of golden brown – an average of the two extremes noted above, if you will.

But to each his own when it comes to toast – in these parts, we are broad minded folk, tolerant of all except electric toasters.

And, when the toast is ready, go back in time – about three hours or so – and remove the butter from the fridge. If you ask me, butter shouldn’t be kept in the fridge to begin with, but that’s an argument that all households have, and there is nothing to be done about it. But still, have the butter such that it is soft, pliant and yielding. And if you, like me, are truly old fashioned about your butter and toast, pick up a spoon to do the lathering. There are these things called butter knives, but pfoof and pshaw to them, I say.

An old fashioned spoon, dug into the butter, and then transferred onto the toast. Do this such that every single square millimeter of toast is groaning under the weight of butter that is melting into it because of how hot the toast was when butter was applied to it.

Put the second toast on the tawa only when you take the first one off, for who can abide toast that isn’t piping hot?

Repeat the whole exercise four times for optimum results, and accessorize the fourth instalment with a piping hot mug of tea, with as much ginger as you can tolerate in it.

Tawa toast and chai. It’s the closest I come to religiosity.


Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni