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November 10, 2014
Cookies and Pi
The Golden Rule of Golden Brown Toast
by Sydney Bone

The first semester after we got married, Jarret and I started every school day with the dreaded 7:30 a.m. classes. Each morning, I rolled out of bed like a zombie and went through the stereotypical female morning routine. Meanwhile, my new husband was fully ready for the day before I was awake enough to see straight.

He made us breakfast and packed lunch. And without fail every morning, he burned my toast, while his was a perfectly cooked golden brown.

Since I’m rarely coherent before eight in the morning, it took me a few weeks to even notice his toasting treachery. At first, I didn’t let it bother me. Newlywed bliss will do that to you. And who was I to complain about hot breakfast every day?

But morning after morning of choking down charcoal-flavored food started to wear on me. It was completely contradictory — Jarret was selflessly waking up early to make breakfast, yet selfishly taking the good toast every single day. I began to wonder if he was using the toast as a way to silently vent his frustrations over something I had done.

Then one day, I snapped. Since we were still in the honeymoon phase, “I snapped” means I timidly asked him, “Honey, why do you burn my toast every morning? It’s kind of gross.”

“Oh,” he responded, “I thought you liked burnt toast.”

HUH? Nobody likes burnt toast. Some people choke it down with lots of milk. When I was a kid, my mom would scrape off worst of the burnt parts and make us eat the now-much-thinner-and-not-really-toasted-anymore weird bread. The smart people unceremoniously dump their singed breakfast into the garbage with a few choice words about the toaster, and then opt to have yogurt for breakfast instead.

Yeah, nobody likes burnt toast.

I questioned Jarret about his odd assumption, and it turned out that the majority of the toast Jarret had seen me eat was on the darker side. Toast is my in-a-hurry food. As I’m rushing around trying to get everything together so I can sprint out the door, I often don’t remember I’m planning on eating until I start to smell the smoke.

Jarret, on the other hand, is deliberate. Everything he does, he does for a reason. If he accidentally burns toast, he fixes the dial on the toaster so it doesn’t happen again. He leaves his keys, wallet and phone in the same place every day, so he knows exactly where to find them.

As he’s headed out the door, there is no frantic dash, simultaneously pulling on pants and digging for keys. He doesn’t often forget things, and he rarely makes the same mistake twice.

So naturally, Jarret assumed I always burned my toast because I liked it that way. That’s what he would do. As a thoughtful new husband, he gave me the breakfast he assumed I wanted.

Fast forward three years. I have learned to speak up when Jarret does something I don’t like. Jarret, for his part, understands me better. We still have a long way to go, but it’s been a fun journey so far.

Oh, and we bought a new toaster.

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