If you know me, you already know about my love affair with toast. This romance started for me as a child in Louisiana. We had toast, not so much for breakfast – although occasionally it was part of breakfast (or it became French Toast) – but instead for after-school snacking, accompanied by coffee-milk (a glass half-filled with coffee and the other half milk).
We usually had on hand the two essential ingredients for a good toasting experience: white bread and butter.
Evangeline Maid was the preferred bread in the Ardoin household. If the store was out of that, and Momma brought home Sunbeam (or god-forbid Ann Page or some other nasty-ass store-brand) there would be tears and agonized writhing and talking-in-tongues (from me anyway).
These days I have toast for breakfast practically every day, and also as an after-work snack so I don’t pass out before I cook dinner (no coffee milk – can’t handle the caffeine that late in the day). At breakfast, toast is more important to me than the eggs, bacon, or hash browns. Those are all nice, but they’re not toast. If there’s nothing of those other things in the house, but there’s bread, and you have either a toaster or can crank up the broiler in your oven, there’s no earthly excuse not to have toast. My favorite way to consume toast is straight-up (ie – only butter). That said, I do like preserves – (I even make some of my own – future blog-post alert!) and up here in New York I pine for old fashioned Louisiana fig preserves (oh, my) – like the kind Momma made from figs grown in the back yard in Eunice. Nowadays, since I can’t have those (unless somebody down there wants to send me a jar!), I most often eat simple, buttered toast. Call me a purist. You wouldn’t be the first.
The photo above shows a mosaic of toast. The only one of these that I’d have a bit of trouble consuming would be the top left – not toasted enough for me. I would eat it, for sure, but I would have to psych myself up to accept that it would not actually be toast proper. It won’t have the texture and flavor of a slice toast because it wasn’t in the toaster long enough. But I do love all the other levels of toasted-ossity shown in the photo – each has it’s own intrinsic culinary value, even the “burnt” one (that one, in particular, with just a little bit of scraping, is one of my favorite versions). My perfect toast level would be bottom left – that’s the Everyday China of toast. Always serviceable, no matter what you’re spreading on top.
My dedication to toast has sometimes been infectious, or so I’ve been told. An old LSU chum (who shall remain nameless, Ginger G!!) says she also loves toast and remembers our time together sharing an apartment on Iris Street in Baton Rouge (GO, Large Feline Sports Beings!) as a key moment in her life where a certain someone (that would be ME) was so persnickety about my bread, spread, and whatever other toasting accouterments I required, that it made her realize the truth behind toast dedication. I remember once having a proper hissy-fit when someone brought home a substandard loaf of white bread. I was besides myself for a few traumatizing hours until that scandal passed. (Truth be told, we had many more scandals in that house than I am legally allowed to tell here, but I digress.)
Now, below is my GLOBE-FAMOUS recipe: (I’ve made toast here in the US, of course, but ALSO in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, Austria, the UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Poland – not to mention the thoughtful, instructive guidance I selflessly provided the toast-makers of Germany, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the rain forests of the Amazon.)
Toast: A Recipe
Slice(s) of white bread
Optional: preserves, jelly, lemon curd, avocado mash, or anything else that brings you joy
Toast the damned bread
Spread the butter (and additional topping if you must)
Consume with Coffee-Milk if you wanna be a real Coonass about it.
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