For most of us there is something that will trigger a memory. it might be a song, a smell or even a place. For me, it is a block of butter and a piece of toast.
We grew up on margarine. At least my mom, my brothers and I did. It was cheaper than butter and growing up poor, my mom did what she could to control what was spent. However, when it came to my dad, the expenditure of butter was not negotiated. My mom thought once she could fool him and put margarine on his toast. That never, and I mean never, happened again.
I remember him slicing his block of butter, not from the side like most people cut it, but skimming his knife along the top as though it was a priceless commodity. .One day I asked if I could try it. My mom and my brothers looked up like I was about to commit a crime, but my dad beamed with pride and agreed to let me try it. I was watching a man share his pot of gold as he shaved the butter from the top with the same care as a man who was shaving his face for the very first time. He laid the thin slices on my toast and we watched it melt into the crags. Taking that first bite; tasting the buttery richness that I had never experienced before, I smiled at my dad and realized we had just shared something that would always be special between only the two of us. It was almost like he knew I understood the importance of what I had just experienced.
I’m grown up now and my dad is no longer with us. There is never a time, however, when I don’t come across a solid block of butter, hold it in my hand and I’m immediately back in our little kitchen. Who would have thought that one simple gesture would start me on a culinary trek of tasteful discoveries? Unlike, my dad, I don’t use butter like it’s a treasure to be doled out sparingly. I use butter with gusto and add a bit into everything I do. Maybe it’s the richness it adds to my recipes, or maybe it’s just a small thank you to my dad for showing me that sometimes you just need to splurge for the sake of enjoyment.
So a toast to my dad, well, with a piece of toast! And of course I can’t forget that little slice of butter.