in the arsehole of diogenes

NEO-HERACLITUS_____________Qweir Notions in the arsehole of Diogenes: weBlog of a septuagenarian Binge-thinker since February 2008.
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Friday, 22 January 2016

Toast !

When I was growing up in Belfast in the 1940s and 1950s, Protestants and Catholics mostly lived in defined areas, some of which amounted to ghettoes for 'slum-scum'.  The relatively few Catholics who were well-off and had status (and hadn't moved to England) lived amongst Protestants in the wealthy parts of the city.  But schools were strictly segregated, because the Catholic church did not want its already-abused flock to have 'a godless education', or to go to 'a godless university'.

I did not make a Catholic friend until 1964 (when I was 22 and already, and for evermore, on the dole). Francis lived in one of the middle-class mixed areas, and I met him through the Folk-music Revival of the 1960s, which was very big in Ireland.  I had what amounted to a non-sexual 'crush' on him. (I did not think of myself as homosexual, bisexual or even sapiœsexual at this time, though I later, regrettably for the most part, was to have sexual crushes on men with beards.) Unfortunately, the beardless Francis and alcohol did not have a good relationship - which situation caused me some distress, embarrassment - and money.

My biggest cultural surprise when I visited him, however, was not the drink-problem, nor pictures of the Pope and the Virgin Mary in his house (only the cold front sitting-room of which I ever saw), but the fact that the family made one-sided toast !  I had by this time lived and loved in Denmark, and been surprised by pickled herrings with sour cream, beer-and-black-bread soup (øllebrød), boiled cod with horse-radish, stikkelsbærgrød med fløde and liver-paste smørrebrød (open sandwiches) as well as the various kinds of buns, breads and pastries.
But one-sided toast was beyond the pale.
Was this why Catholics lived in ghettoes ?  A culinary- rather than a colour-bar

I was to find out that this was not the case ten years later when, in prison, one of my jobs was to make toast to order (or, as Americans would say 'to go' ) for high-status, non-violent prisoners who were very particular about its colour, thickness and texture.  I would not say, however, that I am a toast-expert.  More a jam-expert (crab-apple, quince, blackberry, damson, wild pear...)...

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