Friday, November 21, 2014

A Toast To Toast!

Back in The Olden Days when I was teaching, I often inspired gales of laughter, sneers of disdain, and hoots of disbelief when I identified Toast as being among my favourite foods. Especially memorable was the response of a certain Senior Football Player who leaned back in his ridiculously small chair, folded his arms across his chest, fixed me with an extraordinarily disappointed look, and shook his head. "Now that," he said, "is messed up."

At that time and with that audience, there was no credible defense to be made. None. That was a lasagna, steak, pizza, and crab legs crowd, with maybe a few lobster or barbecued ribs tossed in. Toast? Toast and I took our ball (butter?) and went home.

But since I've been down with this egregious cold, I've renewed my love affair with Toast, and really, isn't Toast simply Lovely? Isn't it just The Best? Honestly, how can you go wrong with Toast? I mean, yes, you absolutely can Go Wrong if you burn it (although I did have a colleague, Fran, who purposefully burned two pieces of wheat toast every single morning in the lounge at The Rock for breakfast, its acrid stench scenting the hall for an entire period because she liked it that way), but beyond that, my goodness! Toast!

My personal favourite for all time has to be a very dark pumpernickel rye toast spread with plenty of Real Butter, lightly toasted so that it still has some of that characteristic chew. If you can slice it yourself, how glorious! Thick--thick as you can without having to use a dangerous butter knife in the toaster slot to free it. (We've all done it at some point in our lives and felt that burr of electric shock. Admit it.)

How comforting is a warm slice of cinnamon toast? That's what I have been nibbling on the past few days. Wheat bread, darkly toasted, buttered, then sprinkled all over with a mix of sugar and homey-smelling cinnamon. I don't drink hot tea, but a mug of hot water with honey and lemon accompanies it just fine.

Apparently, a restaurant in San Francisco has an entire menu devoted to Toast. The average price is about $3.50 for one piece, but they use a thick slice of organic, in-house baked bread and local ingredients for the spreads. (One famous food blogger and cookbook author went there and raved about it.) I thought about it for a little bit: would I pay $3.50 for a big piece of Toast topped with, say, cream cheese and black pepper? Yes. But, looking further at the Menu, I would not pay $16.50 for a 12-ounce cup of coffee to accompany it. And that is the cheapest.

But I don't need Fancy Toast, do you? Decent bread, good butter, pleasantly warm and all with the right balance of crisp and tender. Some people, when there is nothing else to eat, or it is too late to cook, they eat cereal. I eat Toast. In that case, Toast with butter and peanut butter. Perhaps, if I'm really hungry, I'll skip the butter and lay on a slice of cheese instead.

Oh, Toast! You're so versatile and so wonderful. So underrated and unappreciated. I will dedicate my eventual Recovery to you.



  1. Both of my grandmothers were lovers of toast...and white bread...fresh Bost or Sunbeam bread. One grandmother didn't own a toaster, so she made oven toast for us when we stayed over. Fresh bread, with gobs of home-churned butter placed on it, then popped into the oven The unbuttered parts got nice and crunchy, the parts that soaked up the melting butter were soft and other-worldly delicious. Add home-made jam, and you have country perfection! The other grandmother popped the bread in a toaster, then buttered it and sprinkled it liberally with cinnamon sugar. Thanks for loving Toast and Real Butter! Be well, dear one...

  2. I don't know that I would say that toast was one of my favorite foods, but bread paired with butter is always a safe bet.

    Actually, I prefer non-toasted, freshly baked bread with butter now that I think about it, but I would never turn down toast. Sourdough for the win!

  3. I remember it being the biggest treat to talk my Aunt Brenda into making cinnamon sugar toast for us after school - YUM!

    Mike & I have a toaster oven so we can have any thickness of bread we want. One of my favorite things lately is to toast a slice of bread with cheddar & then top it with a gooey fried egg. I might have to have that for breakfast in the morning!

  4. Mmmmmm, toast! Cinnamon-sugar toast, whole wheat toast with butter and apple jelly, a toasted bagel with a slice of melts cheese on each slice. Just plain toast and butter with a french vanilla cappuccino from my Keurig machine. Sigh.

  5. fauxprof--You have a nice Toast Menu all on your own. Brava!

    Bug--That's the biggest plus for a toaster oven, I think. Thick, thick, Toast. And a nice runny-yolked egg and Toast is a heavenly match.

    Gina--Like you, I love fresh bread. When we go to Cleveland's famous West Side Market, we make sure to go early and hit the bread stands first. They sell out by 10 AM.

    You know, I have tried so often to like sourdough, but I confess that I just don't care for it. It's not even so much the characteristic tang; it's the texture, too. I will leave it for those who truly appreciate it.

    Carolina Linthead--Oh, you're welcome. Whitebread toast is regional, isn't it? I think southern, mostly. I'm not a fan of white toast myself, but I know lots of Southern Ladies who insist upon it.

    I also love a very grainy, seedy bread Toast with butter and dark honey. Doesn't that sound lovely?

    It's charming how a truly Simple food can evoke such warm memories. That's one of the best parts about Toast.

  6. Couldn't resist sending this to you:

    I can relate!

  7. Cinnamon toast, oh yes. According to my husband, I am a 'warm bread' fan, but stuff soaks in so much better if the toast is not too crispy.
    A toast to .............

  8. Mary G--It's very personal, the degree of Toastiness. And I find that mine can vary not just with the type of bread, but with my mood. It's part of The Charm Of Toast.

    Karen S.--How goofy! I had never even heard of this person, but apparently he's been around for quite some time. I like the little movie/cartoon made of that song better. I can hear all of the words more distinctly, too.

    Here is my favourite scene regarding Toast in one of the funniest films ever.

    I love that Toast is so universal.

  9. I <3 toast. My toaster oven makes crummy toast (not all do...our last one made great toast), so I bought a toaster in addition to the toaster oven. The toaster works better, but it's not ideal toast. Bleh. I love toast.

  10. j@jj--I'm sorry that you are having mediocre Toast. Perhaps you should nip in to the Toast Restaurant in SF. Treat yourself! (But get it to go so that you can get coffee someplace else. Those prices are goofy.)

  11. Nance, if I go to SF for toast, I'll try Trouble, which serves three items. Toast, coffee, and coconut. If I'm going to go hpster, I'm all in. :) I did hear the story about it on This American Life. Google it, it's an interesting show, and where the other toast places got the idea. :)

  12. I loved your comments on toast. I love toast with just about anything, but lately, I've been eating whole wheat toast with peanut butter and unsweetened apple sauce. My husband doesn't eat applesauce so I had some leftover and have been using it on pork (instead of gravy) and on toast.

    Unfortunately I read your post at exactly the wrong time. I'm having a medical procedure in the morning. It is now 4:20am and I have not been allowed to eat or drink since midnight. I ate dinner late (9:00) and had a big glass of water before midnight but now I'm both hungry & thirsty. I might give $16.50 if I were allowed a piece of toast and a cup of coffee right now.

  13. CJ--When I see your initials commenting on past posts, I always smile. You catch up to me in bunches, and I love it.

    Pork and applesauce/apples is an Old Classic. It's lovely, isn't it? I often roast a nice Boston butt with apples and onions, then skim off the fat in the resulting drippings, add a zing of Dijon or coarse grain mustard, and whizz it all up with my hand blender to serve as a sauce in lieu of gravy. It's wonderful.

    I am so sorry about your fasting. I detest that rigamarole and the testing afterward. Reward yourself as soon as possible with lovely toast along with a nice breakfast. I hope it all goes well, and as always, it is so nice to see you here.


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