web analytics

Who is Melba that she should have a toast?


When I was in art school, my best friend and I spraypainted the Oscar Wilde aphorism, “who is art that he should have a sake?” in bright yellow on the outside wall of our dormitory. That’s it. My one and only act of vandalism.

Uncle B is feeling a little poorly today, and so his fancies turned inevitably to toast. Melba toast. I did not know there was an actual Melba for whom there was a toast, and it worries me that he did.

She was Aussie opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861 – 1931), born Helen Porter Mitchell and a Very Big Deal in her day. In 1897, she fell ill and twice-toasted toast became a staple of her diet, invented especially for her by chef Auguste Escoffier. He also came up with peach Melba. He was, I think, awfully lucky her name wasn’t Snotrag McShitbucket.

I found a recipe for homemade Melba toast (which sounds very nice, actually). Also, I discovered Wikipedia has a whole page on toast, which includes a useful side-by-side split-screen photographic comparison of toasted and untoasted white bread that should enable the alert student to discriminate between the two easily.

It is wholesome when we learn together.

July 17, 2009 — 7:22 pm
Comments: 29