19 July 2015
12.30 – 2.30pm
Art Gallery, Barbican
When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.
– Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
From Edward Lear to The Wind in the Willows, and from Margaret Atwood to Alice in Wonderland, the nostalgic appeal of hot buttered toast is referenced in literature throughout the ages. For many, the smell of toast is one of the most comforting and homely aromas we can imagine. In AVM Curiosities Poetry of Toast, the olfactory, literary and nostalgic powers of toast are explored as participants carve and etch their contemporary creation with quotes from the foodstuff’s scholarly past.