Van Meals- Toast

You’ve just woken up after a large night exploring a new town or sitting around a campfire drinking beers. The van is warm and sweaty, and stocks of food are running as low as your energy levels, lethargically you optimistically browse the cupboards for a nutritional, simplistic comfort food to stop the throbbing in your head and the world from feeling like it’s spinning. There is no such treasure buried between tins of spaghetti hoops and bags of rice, so you perch on the end of the fold out bed contemplating your existence whilst staring at a half-eaten loaf of bread. And then, it clicks. What better easy-to-make hangover food is there than toast. Toast has always been there for you. Toast was there for you when you were ill. Toast was there for you when you were sad. Toast is here for you now. Toast isn’t the best thing since sliced bread, toast is the reason humans slice bread, and its just a quick warming away. As the bread stares back at you, beckoning to be caressed out of the packaging, gently heated and lathered with butter. You remained perched, mustering the energy to get up, take a step forward and sweep it off its doughy feet. Ultimately, romance wins, and you confidently rise, like it once did, reach out a hand and hold it adoringly for it is the salvation to your misery.

You come to your senses and realise despairingly that you are in a van, you have no mains electricity and no toaster and no comforting hostel to turn to. You must go old school and being the innovative nomad that you are, turn to the hob to fry your way to contentment. Determinedly, you turn on the gas, light the hob and dig out the cleanest frying pan you can. From the top of the cupboard the bread reassuringly coaxes you on. Grabbing the soft butter from the unpowered fridge, which is now a fancy cool box, you smear and a bottle cap sized lump into the sizzling surface, and then add another cap for extra rich toasting. Hunger overrules patience and just as the golden butter melts away, the chosen slice is gently tossed on top. The glorious smell is exaggerated when the sliding door is flung open so that the oxygenated aroma is enriched and spills out over the deck chair and burned out fire from the previous night. The bread isn’t even half toasted, but is already reverting the world to an unspinning, better place.

Two minutes of intermittently gazing over the landscape trying to piece together memories from last night and shaking the pan to ensure an even toasting, the time comes to flip the precious piece and toast the other side. You question the pancake technique, debating whether your sleepy body can rally the momentum to keep the slice safe and, in the pan. The thought of losing the toast is too much, so you opt for the safety of forking it slow and gently, tentatively even. No such cutlery is available, so you bravely give it a tender but firm finger and thankfully you avoid butter burn and are greeted by the delicious golden sight of the completed side.

Such a sight becomes irresistible and before the other side can look equally enticing you can’t help but throw it on a plate, spread an enriching slather of butter on top and enjoy the rewards of your effort. Returning to the fold out seat in which you consumed the drinks to make you feel this way, in the fresh air, the consumption of toast rectifies you, prepares you for day and makes you question why you didn’t by a camping toaster.


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