When I was five, my mother used to take me and my little brother to the local public library once a week. It was a tiny old library located at 5 minutes drive away from our apartment, and we would borrow several picture books for our evening reading time.
One day, we borrowed a picture book where two animal characters enjoyed different kinds of comfort food in the story. It came with recipes and one of them was called jam butter toast. I had never heard of such a thing before.
“What is a jam butter toast?”
My mother read the recipe for us along with the description of how it tastes according to the two animal characters in the book. By the time she finished reading, my eyes were sparkling with excitement.
“I want to eat a jam butter toast!”
A few days later, my mother made toasts for our breakfast. Usually, each of us had either one butter toast or one jam toast, but that morning, I was going to try my new toast recipe.
“I’m going to have a jam butter toast!”
I was so excited that I could hardly sit still, but my mother turned down my request with an instant no. When I asked her why, she gave me the reason.
“That’s too many calories. You can have either butter OR jam. Not both.”
I looked at the plain toast on my plate thinking hard. I knew how pointless it was to try to persuade my mother in such a circumstance, but I wasn’t going to give up so easily either.
“Then please put butter on half of the bread and jam on the other half. I’ll fold the bread into half so that I can taste butter and jam at the same time.”
Then I quickly added.
“You can’t say no, Mommy, because the total amount of butter and jam will be the same as usual. The same calories.”
There was a hint of disapproval on my mother’s face, but she didn’t refuse this time. She spread butter on half of my toast and jam on the other half, and I was able to savour the taste of my first jam butter toast albeit folded into half.