There is a love I have for raisin toast that is indecent. It’s got to be a small loaf, in order to contain the raisins, and the cinnamon that is the raisin’s common-law companion. The best is when the bread has been freshly baked, but that is rare. I usually buy a loaf that looks appealing, then freeze it until my desire becomes too much to bear. I eye it in the icebox, as I reach for the other forbidden things in there, vodka and boxed chocolate and lemon pies, the raisin bread hard and cold, slices tightly bonded with frost.
When I am finally ready, I am altogether clumsy with want, all thumbs reaching into the bag and trying to pry the slices apart. Raisins fly onto the floor and I eat them right off the linoleum. Pride and passion have little in common with each other. I break some pieces off the loaf and load them haphazardly into the toaster, set to unfreeze and toast them just to a light medium brown. I check the temperature incessantly, cancelling my toasting and touching the hot center. I know it by feel, like I am searing a well marbled steak.
The surface of the toast gets hard and brown and slightly rough and I know this is right. I will take one out of the toaster and butter it immediately with unsalted fancy butter, the kind that tv chefs use, in their wide cubes. After buttering one side of the toast I flip it over and then drop another generous pat on the other side, then immediately position the second piece of toast onto it, melting the butter into the bread and making an impromptu ‘cake’. I do not butter the top of the second slice. That is my one concession to dieting.
Then I eat them, and I take a long time. Sometimes there’s a lacy fried egg, crunchy with salt, to distract and prolong my pleasure, but often, it’s just me and the toast. If I have drank some more than I would have or should have, this will be a late night occurrence, and it will just be one piece of toast, pried off the still frozen loaf in the dark of my kitchen. Ill hold the bread farther from my body, as not to stain some precious evening ensemble. The butter will still be hard and it will melt as I eat the toast. There is no patience in that kind of eating you do to ward off a hangover, or the middle of the night eating that both defines me and threatens my naturally narrow waist at once.