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Why I Toast

published in Jan. 2005, sredfearn

· Sitting with Mama
· Maria
· Nine Crossings
· Mama and Her

· Fallopian Chron IV
· Why I Toast, I
· Why I Toast, II
· Why I Toast, III
· Scooter/Dot-Com
· Fallopian Chron II
· Fallopian Chron III
· Strange Bedfellow
· Almost Equal
· A Difficult Day
· Phantom Lover:
    Ode to
    Leslie Cheung

· I Am Salad
· Fallopian Chron I
· Taiwanglish
· Childhood's End
· Psychic Friends
· Life in the
    Time of SARS

· Waiting for
      the Goddess

· Roswell My Eye
· Catisfaction
· My Laramie Project
· Stopping on the
    Street for
    Coltrane: A Real
    Latter Day Saint

· Whither Moocat?
· Happy Palindrome!
· Happy Tiger
· Tourist for a Day
· Geography
    as Destiny

· "Bastards"
· Watching the
    Pentagon Burn

· Communing with

· Milk
· Infinity
· Emailing the Dead
· Broken Water
· Sand Shark
· Grandma Said
· Golden Days
· Americat
· Moe Howard on the
Death of His Brother,

· Flashpoems
· Minyan
· Inside Scoop
· Nativity
· I Ask My Mother
To Sing

· Absence of Colours
· Island Logic
· Peepshow Kleenex
· Allen Ginsberg
Forgives Ezra Pound
on Behalf of the Jews

· Lacing Your Shoes:
Haiku & the Everyday

· Four Haiku
· Smoking Haiku
· Geary & Jones,
Monday, 8:23 a.m.

· The Keeper
· december 13, 2001
· Memento Mori
· Football's Birthday
· The Edward Gorey

· Arrival
· Victim o'

· The Origin of
Teeth and Bones

· Questions for
Martins Ferry,

· This Is Just
To Tell You

· Not-Cat (& whatnot)
· To My Unmet Wife

· Englishhua
· Dave for Pope
· Papa Loves Mambo
· A Culture Report

· The Louisiana
A Special Radio X
Historical Docudrama

· Krawkawkaw Gives
a Little

· Meet Dr. Klaww
· Letters to Dr. Klaww
· Letter from the
Hall of Justice

· An Invitation
to be Keynote

· More

All Things

· Gajandra Meets
    the Scatoman

· Gajandra and
    the Curse of the
    Six Monkeys

· Gajandra and the
    Eating Lesson

· A Moment of

· Gajandra and the
    Great Rumble

· Gajandra and the
    Problem with

· Mohamed Tahdaini
· John Guillory
· Berkeley Pier
· Bruce Dene
· Death of The Bayou
· Taiwan Food Vendors
· John Freeman
· Robin Liu
· Hector
· Dave's Corner
· Zuni Kachinas

· Mainland Murmurs
· Next to Heaven
  · Episode #8

  · Episode #16
· Crosswords Brunch


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I don't toast. I never did toast much -- never was what you'd call a bread person. My sister used to keep whole loaves of the stuff under her bed, hoarding them so she alone could have toast while the rest of the family was forced to go carb free. But I didn't care. I was happy with just FruitLoops, or eggs if mom could be bothered cooking that day.

Then, in college I took a nutrition course where it was beaten into my brain how terrible and nutritionally vacuous white bread was. And white bread -- that appalling, twisted 1950s bastardization of what the goddesses intended bread to be -- was omnipresent. So I, knowing what I knew then, began to toast even less.

Now, however, wheat bread -- that healthier alternative -- is more ubiquitous. Or is it? Healthier, I mean. And more ubiquitous. In recent weeks, I've been researching some rather bad doings in the food industry and have come to realize that many products labeled "wheat" are hardly wheat at all, but rather are made predominantly from white flour (the essence of evil) with maybe a pinch of "wheat" thrown in. Such deceit and chicanery.

It's positively widespread in the food industry. If I wasn't so lazy and shiftless, I'd just grow fish, cattle, chickens, pork, bananas and yams in the back yard and be done with the food industry altogether. But I just don't feel like it. So I pay high prices at Whole Foods every week, which gives my husband seizures.

Now, since March, I've been on a fertility enhancing diet. No really strong scientific evidence (read: controlled, double-blind studies like American scientists dig) exists that food can make a difference one way or the other on operations in your uterus and its associated pipes. But my fertility guru, a diminutive Minnesota native trained in ancient Chinese medicine, thinks food does make a difference so I'm doing what she says.

And what she says is to chuck all toast, save for that which is associated with "sprouted wheat grain bread." I'm not even sure what this is. I just know that I go and buy some from Whole Foods' freezer case about once a month. And about a third of the loaf gets freezer burn and I have to throw it away. That shows you how much toast I consume. It just doesn't occupy a big space in my life. And I won't apologize for that. Not to anyone, and that includes the USDA's Food Pyramid, which says I need 8 to 11 servings of the stuff per day.

Hell, I get 8 to 11 servings every three weeks! Can the Food Pyramid really mean what it says, though? Eight to eleven a day? Who really has the time to pursue that much bread and toast? Well, if you think about it, what reason do we have to trust the USDA? The agency represents the food industry, is made up largely of food industry people, and gets to tell Americans what to eat. Come again? Probably the folks from Bunny Bread paid to occupy the wide bottom slot on the Food Pyramid. So just ignore it.

A few weeks ago, another childless soul who's eating only sprouted wheat grain bread -- I think it's supposed to be very pure, the sinsemilla of breads -- mentioned to me in her heavy South African accent how boring and hard it is.

"Oh ... yeah. I guess you're right. I suppose it is," I told her in my nondescript South Florida accent. That's how much thought I give to bread. I've been eating this crap since March and I never noticed what it tasted like. Yes, it is boring and hard, I guess. But I don't put it in my body because I want to. I put it in there because 1) the fertility guru says to and 2) this fertility diet has caused me to drop some weight and I think bread will help me put some of it back on. Yes, I'm happy again to look at my butt in the mirror, but it's a catch-22 because being this skinny (113, down from 128) is bad for fertility. The fat cells create estrogen, which you need for egg production, or something.

Do I toast the bread? Yeah, sometimes.

— Suz Redfearn

An award-winning journalist, Suz Redfearn sits home and freelances full-time for the New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon and Slate. Her travel essays have appeared in the books Whose Panties Are These? and The Best Travel Writing 2005.

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