It’s Australia Day! Sadly here in Toronto where the temps have been hovering well below zero all week (hello -32˚C with windchill = even too cold for kids to be playing outside for more than about 5 minutes!), it doesn’t feel much like it (meanwhile, Australia has been sweltering in temps well over 40˚C this week!) but I figured I needed to mark the occasion and what better way than with a favourite childhood treat – FAIRY BREAD.
Wait, what? I hear you asking… Fairy bread? Uh huh.
Right up there with another favourite childhood treat, a sugar sandwich (yup – white bread, butter and sugar, a VERY occasional treat), fairly bread was something you got to eat rarely – mostly at birthday parties. It’s basically three simple ingredients which make magic when they are combined.
How to make fairy bread:
1. Bread. White bread. Preferably store bought and preferably square so it cuts nicely into triangle shapes. No fancy bread allowed (no sourough, no artisinal loaves – just plain, white supermarket bread).
2. Butter. Preferably very thickly spread. This is hard to do when the bread is really fresh and (sssh!) it’s actually easier to make with margarine. This is most likely how I enjoyed this treat as a child (margarine was the spread of choice back then). But if your butter is soft enough and your bread is *just* fresh enough without being too fresh, you’ll strike the perfect balance!
3. 100s & 1000s (Hundreds and Thousands). No, North Americans, NOT sprinkles. YOU use the term “sprinkles” to cover all shapes and sizes. The long “jimmies” are what we call sprinkles (rainbow or chocolate). The topping of fairy bread is also known as “nonpareils” but DEFINITELY NOT “sprinkles”. The term 100s & 1000s is so common in Australia that the labels for Tupperware containers even included a label for them!
Here is Canada, you CAN get 100s & 1000s in the grocery store but they’re not the same – notably, they are duller colours and they are smaller. Sweetapolita does a version that’s just like you buy in Australia!
- Fresh white bread
- 100s & 1000s (rainbow nonpareils)
- Pour the 100s & 1000s into a shallow dish
- Spread the bread with the butter or margarine.
- Cut the bread into triangles.
- Lay the bread triangles butter side down in the 100s & 1000s.
- Press slightly to make sure you're getting the MOST 100s & 1000s on the bread.
- Flip over and enjoy!
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Whaaaaat? Who on earth invented this?
According to the Fairy Bread Day folks,
Fairy Bread has a very long history, but no one actually knows exactly when it started to become popular. It dates back to the 1920’s and was first mentioned in a newspaper from Hobart of all places! The term Fairy Bread was first published in a book of poems in 1885 and is the earliest known reference to the term, but no one knows if that’s where it started to what we know today.
Wikipedia suggests the name comes from the poem ‘Fairy Bread’ in Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, published in 1885.
No matter who invented it or where, it’s still the most brilliantly simply treat EVER. I was reminded of this as I ate those four slices I photographed. SO. GOOD.
Good reads on Fairy Bread:
Fairy Bread: The Australian treat the rest of us can’t understand (I’m quoted in this!)
and don’t forget…
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