I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty. – Madame Lilly Bollinger
This is how I feel about toast. Incidentally, it’s also how I feel about champagne, but that’s another post.
You wanna know what chef’s really eat? It’s not like we come home after a day in the kitchen and then bang out one more masterpiece before we call it a day. Well, OK…when I’ve got someone to cook for, that’s actually one of my favorite things to do, but left to my own devices? Toast. Like, all the time. After a day of plating, saucing, braising, brunoising, eating a million tiny meals off the back end of a spoon (because you use it twice, yo), nothing makes more sense of the world than toast. And if you live in the land of $4 toast…well it’s a done deal.
So when this is on (or this one, which is what made me teach myself guitar just so I could play that hook which I still can, whew)…or there’s a new book to dive into & I’ve got sun streaming through the window along with an ocean breeze…or when the whole world is turned upside down and spun six ways to Sunday…or the kind of day that makes someone amazing wrap their arm around you and pull you closer because they just want to be…closer…or when your little Kintsukuroi heart just can’t take any more. This is when I want toast.
And I’ve eaten a lot of toast this last year. On all of the occasions above and then some. There is nothing in the whole wide world that can bring everything into focus like toast. And I’m not giving you a recipe for it, because it’s motherfucking toast. And also because I once saw a recipe for gluten free croutons that included “Gluten free bread, olive oil, salt” and I almost threw my computer across the room because it’s fucking croutons. Crou. Tons. CROUTONS.
But I will give you some “guidelines”. Some ways to ensure that if you are going to join me & Nigel Slater – my favorite food writer of ALL TIME who once wrote It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you….Once the warm, salty butter has hit your tongue, you are smitten. Putty in their hands. – in our love of toast, that you do it right.
- Use good bread. Once again, the rule of “garbage in, garbage out” applies. Get rid of that sliced sandwich bread and get your hands on some ciabatta, or dense brick of German whole grain bread. Or maybe you are close enough to here or here to get your hands on some lemon/rosemary bread. Your bread should fight back. with flavor or structure, but ideally both.
- Got an avocado? USE IT.
- Sliced tomato? YES.
- Peanut butter &/or jelly
- Cheese (I really don’t care what kind, because it kind of doesn’t matter)
- Pickled anything
- Sliced cucumber
- Salt (seriously.)
- Lemon zest
- Chili flake
- Sautéed greens
- Nutella / Cookie butter (Biscoff)
Basically, anything spreadable works. Or anything you can chop up and put on top of anything spreadable. And if all else fails: