In the latest instalment of "Americans finding Antipodeans charmingly quirky," our pals in the US of A have just discovered the wonders of fairy bread - the classic birthday party staple that delivers a sugar hit to pint-sized children through a glorious smattering of 100s and 1000s.

Or as Phoebe Hurst on Munchies explained it to our brethren overseas: "Fairy Bread is as synonymous with children's birthday parties as balloons and biased pass-the-parcel games. (Give it up, Linda, we know you're fixing the music so the birthday boy wins.)

"Why go to the effort of baking your child a real cake on their birthday when you can smear some butter on a slice of bread and tip a few coloured balls of sugar on there? Cookie cutters are sometimes used to shape the bread into hearts or stars, but no one likes a spoilt brat".

US website Refinery 29 sang the praises of fairy bread back in June, but more recently the crew at Broadsheet stumbled across this article on American food website Epicurious.

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The piece is headlined "Australia invented the original rainbow food" (really?!) and begins by pointing out that rainbow foods are so hot right now. There are rainbow bagels, rainbow cookies, rainbow coffees and even a rainbow grilled cheese toastie:


"People from Australia have been down with multicoloured food since forever, thanks to a little treat they call 'fairy bread,'" explains author Katherine Sacks.

She also goes on to claim that Aussies also call it "fairy toast".

"Despite its striking appearance, in Australia, fairy bread isn't considered fancy food - the toast is usually eaten as breakfast, as a snack in-between meals, or after dinner to finish off the meal," she writes.

This sentence made us snigger, but then our thoughts morphed into "FAIRY BREAD FOR BREAKFAST, BLOODY GENIUS WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT" (Obesity crisis? What obesity crisis?)


But things really take off when Sacks explains how to make fairy bread. As we all know, this should take one brief sentence: buy white bread, slather butter on it, throw sprinkles all over it (as well as the bench/floor/dog).

But no, Sacks has other highfalutin' ideas for her fairy bread.

"To make fairy bread, use a nice cultured butter (even better, make your own) and spread it on thick; about two tablespoons per piece of toast".

Please. Stop with the toast. And who the hell is making butter? Are we in colonial times? Should I be wearing a bonnet and washing my clothes in a river?

"As for the sprinkles, although classic round rainbow sprinkles are traditional for Aussies, I much prefer the texture of sparkly sanding sugar, which makes the treat more like the sugared toast I grew up with".

Lady, what you're making isn't fairy bread. It's more akin to an open toasted sugar sandwich. You've gone rogue.

Sacks uses an image of artisan bread to illustrate the foundation of fairy bread, which seems to be totally uncalled for.

Slather on the homemade butter on the home baked bread, said no fairy bread maker ever. Photo /123RF
Slather on the homemade butter on the home baked bread, said no fairy bread maker ever. Photo /123RF

In Phoebe Hurst's aforementioned (very excellent) article on fairy bread she beautifully summarises its charms, and why we hold it so dear. And probably why we get a little uppity when anyone messes with the tried and true formula.

" ... that's the beauty of fairy bread. Regardless of how much soft focus lighting or Pinterest-friendly table dressing you throw at it, you can't escape the fact that it's a piece of soggy bread loaded with strands of refined sugar, designed to be eaten by someone who hasn't yet mastered chewing with their mouth closed. It's simple, it's nostalgic, and the combo of processed carbs, butter, and E numbers is a match made in minimal-effort heaven".

Amen.