When you land at the Barajas airport in Madrid, Spain the tones of the landscape, from the plane, are varied and lovely like gold brocade.
Spain has glorious golden foods: the creamy gold of a tortilla Española, the rich gold of properly made paella, the gold of the toast made from Bimbo brand bread at bars. Then, however, there is the toast Spaniards make at home: blackened.
The first time I saw Spanish domestically produced toast, I thought that the toaster had to be broken, but then I saw the toaster button being pressed down to further blacken the toast. My Spanish friend who lived in the United States for five years bought five toasters before she found one that “toasted right.” My husband is delighted to have inherited that toaster when our friend moved back to Spain: now, he only has to toast his bread twice to get it to the right crunchiness.
Somehow, this is cultural, it has to be. My daughter went with her French class to Quebec. The teaching assistants from France and Spain went along. At the breakfast buffet at one hotel there was a line of people waiting for their bagels, English muffins, and toast. A pair of charred toasts popped up from the toaster. My daughter instinctively stepped back, nodding at the Spanish teaching assistant, “I think your toast is ready.”