Sunday, April 28, 2013

Toast

Toast.

It's my taste of home. It's my go-to food when there's upheaval or joy or tiredness or just nothing to eat that's quick enough. It satisfies.

My mom eats it every morning for breakfast - she finds the most fabulous loaves of bread for her morning ritual. English muffin loaf, cinnamon raisin swirl, walnut cranberry streusel, crunchy sourdough, date-studded.

Slice.
Toast.
Coffee.
Butter while still warm.
Make space.
Break the fast.

It's what she would serve when I was sick - most moms do. Toast a slice of white Wonder bread, lightly butter and drizzle honey on top. That was the sick-girl meal. And oh, it tasted so good after 24 hours of not eating. I was sure heaven would have white toast with butter and honey.

Most mornings I grab the Ezekiel bread - or Trader Joe's version of sprouted grain bread - and toast it. I love the dense, chewiness of it. It stands up to whatever I may put on top.
Lately I've been having Udi's gluten free bread. Not because I'm gluten free but because having less gluten makes me feel lighter.

I really cannot decide if toast is just a vehicle to get the toppings in my mouth or if the toppings are an excuse to have a piece of bread. {I try to stay away from bread for the rest of the day...I said "try," not "succeed at."}

I start with butter.
Butter: salted. Always. And full-on, 100% butter. None of this olive oil mixture, hydrogenated-weird, canola-substitute, can't believe it's not pond scum junk. And please, please, please don't ever try to pull margarine over on this girl.
Whatever else goes on the toast, there's salted butter at the base of it all.


Butter and local blackberry honey drizzled golden on top.
Avocado sliced and placed - salt, red pepper flakes, all sitting on top of a cloud of vegenaise {Gwyneth taught me that one.}
Almond butter with sliced bananas and a sprinkle of flax meal.
Simple butter with glittering cinnamon sugar.
Good, seedy fruit preserves - Raspberry, Blackberry, Cherry, Blueberry, glistening on top.
Peanut Butter & Co.'s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter with a scattering of homemade granola.
Strawberry preserves with a fried egg perched glossily over it. The mixture of salt and sweet is perfection. Peanut butter and jelly, open-faced, on toast. Divine.
One word: Nutella.
Or three words: Nutella and strawberries.
I stock up on jars of tart lingonberry preserves on every visit I make to IKEA. Lingonberry-topped whole wheat toast is a gorgeous way to start the day.
On my {much too} brief stay in Amsterdam last fall I came across a revelation: sprinkles for toast. These are delicate little chocolate sprinkles and milk or dark chocolate shavings to top toast with. Holy windmills...was that fantastic.

Or. If you're a dipper {I am, most assuredly, a dipper} you dunk your toast into hot chocolate - just plain, buttery toast. Or scoop up cream of wheat with it. Or sop up your runny egg yolk. Toast adores to be dipped.

One form of toast we love in my house is the little round center that pops out to make room for the egg when we make an Ox Eye. {some call them egg in a hole, egg in a basket, toad in the hole...}Whatever you call it, you know that I'm talking about. That little circle of bread is a prime candidate for toasting. And toast it we do. Some mornings the kids want the magical little toast round more than the actual Ox Eye.

Toast is important to me. I didn't know it until one night, when the kids were very young, I had had a rough day. Ira came home, took one look at my face and sent me to the bathtub. Once the water was sufficiently scalding - I do like a hot bath - and I was submerged as much as my lame little bathtub will allow, he popped his head in and asked if I'd like a cup of tea and "anything else?" I nodded yes, and peeped out pathetically, "Toast. With butter and jelly...Please." He shut the door and I waited.
He brought the tea - perfect, Sleepytime. The toast? He could see all over my face. It wasn't right.
The poor slice of bread had been mauled with too-cold butter when it had clearly sat too long outside of the toaster. The butter sat in sad chunks on the surface of the bread - interlaced with crumbs from the aforementioned mutilated bread - and grape (grape?!) jelly congealed with the butter. No. This toast I will not eat.
"What?" he asked. Eyeing his toast-ish creation.
"Um. You used cold butter...and you didn't make sure the bread was still warm. The butter has to...melt. It has to melt in..." I felt silly saying it. And, bless my dear husband, he laughed when it came out of my mouth and promptly turned around and took the offensive stuff with him.
"And...never put grape jelly on my toast!" I called after him.
He came back bearing perfect toast with melted butter and seedy raspberry jam.
It's important that a husband knows how to make good toast.

Toast for me is comfort and home and childhood and routine. Toast is also endlessly versatile and welcomed at almost any time of the day.

How do you take your toast? I may find a new variation that becomes a favorite.

5 comments:

  1. Toast with Bacon and Peanut Butter, make sure the PB is creamy...

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  2. love this post. i feel like we're having toast together. mine with peanut butter of coarse.

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  3. I think Ira got the romantic and cooperative gene but not too sure where he got it. I try to please but Jack was just not into cooking and if I said a word he threw it all in the sink and slunk away....defeated but ornery. I remember my favorite cup hitting the sink when I complained that he was making me chicken noodle soup by Campbells without adding water.....salty much... and I was very sick that time....I learned to take the offering or never get so sick that he would have to cook. LOL!

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  4. Sourdough, Goat cheese, avocado, sriracha!

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  5. I agree about toast. It cured my cancer.....
    When I wasn't feeling well at all, toast, warm and yes, buttered, cut in little squares, please :)

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