An Ode to Toast
Whether you can tolerate wheat and gluten or not, it seems like everyone has a soft spot for toast.
Just the word itself is comforting. It’s plain, and yet. It’s something more.
What would we do with jam if it weren’t for toast? Crackers? Please.
Toast is a universal food. It’s comfort. Quick. Warm. Crunchy.
There’s the old-standard white bread, of course. We’ve all had that. Whole-grain is so good too. So are rye and dark pumpernickel, with just a thin smear of coconut oil. Sourdough is sublime for crusty sandwiches. Even gluten-free brown rice toast holds up: dense and crisp. And we can’t forget bagels. With a (vegan) shmear.
There’s French toast, too. I think you can count that as the King of Toast. When it takes center plate–albeit drenched in powdered sugar, fruit and maple syrup. It’s all dressed up; royal. It’s still toast though.
I like thick chunky toast made from freshly baked bread I get from my local farmers market. You know the kind—once you slice into that loaf, you get a big slab that’s slightly unevenly cut, and a bit shaggy. When it comes out of the toaster, the little shags are all brown and crispy.
Sometimes I slather on the almond butter, dripping over the sides, gooey. Lately though it’s rich sesame tahini. Sweet and slightly bitter. So good once the bread warms it.
In the summer, I go with a baguette and top it with smashed avocado, fresh slices of heirloom tomatoes and lots of olive oil, nutritional yeast and salt. Sometimes I eat this combo all day long. And well into the night.
Thin toast (not too thin) has its place too. Like when you have a strong paté to top it off with.
Toast is more than just a side to breakfast. It’s apparently trending in San Francisco and other cities, like cupcakes and cronuts. Toast Bars. Really. That’s a thing now.
It makes sense though.
Toast is yummy. It’s comfort. It sops up sauces, saving you from the disgrace of licking your plate in public (which you should always do in the privacy of your own kitchen, though). In that respect toast keeps you from wasting food. It was eco long before eco was.
I’d like to toast toast. With champagne. Or roast it, with Don Rickles. Because it deserves a little bit more respect than we give it. I mean, after all, it just sits there quietly on the plate overshadowed by food with fancy names like omelets and Hollandaise sauce. Yet it often doesn’t even get a mention on the menu description. Like a fork.
But toast is so much more.
It’s the crispy, crunchy sweetness of our souls. Top it however you like, or go ahead and eat it plain, especially if you’re feeling really lousy. Toast will help. It always does.
Image: Nic Taylor Photography