I’m about to make a scandalous admission, the sort of thing that usually requires a press conference and a disappointed looking wife standing next to you: I’ve been having a sordid affair… a sordid affair with toast.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Toast? TOAST? You’re having a sordid affair with toast? Couldn’t you have had a sordid affair with something sexier… like, I don’t know, butter? Or bacon? Or butter-flavored bacon?” Hear me out, people. Toast can be sexy. You just have to approach it the right way.
This all started rather unexpectedly. I don’t drink coffee in the morning because I spend my afternoons writing in coffee shops and I try to limit myself to one cup of caffeine a day.
But lately, I’ve been making tea in the mornings. I’ve been using tea that Emeric Harney from Harney & Sons brought me when we did this interview last year. I go back and forth between the Paris tea and the Earl Gray and on one particular morning I thought to myself: “You know what would be great with this tea? Toast and jam.”
I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought the cheapest toaster I could:
Why the cheapest one? Because I wasn’t sure this toast craving would stick and at $20, there wasn’t much to lose buying a cheap-o toaster.
My next step–and this was a key step, so pay attention–was to buy a loaf of La Brea bakery whole grain bread that was UNSLICED.
I repeat: UNSLICED.
The reason that this is important is you want to be able to cut really thick slices. This is a technique that I learned from Blue Ribbon Bakery in New York; they sell very expensive, very tasty toasts there that are very thick. They then top these toasts with all kinds of goodies (hummus, Manchego and honey, smoked fish) and what you get is this crusty, caramelized canvas that’s soft and sweet and pillowy inside.
My love affair with toast is based entirely on cutting thick slices of bread and then toasting them just enough:
It took a little practice to figure out how far to take it. Turns out: between 3 and 4 on the dial is perfect.
As for what I put on my toast in the mornings, there’s the traditional route, with raspberry jam on a pink plate:
And then there’s the more experimental, like nutella with fleur de sel on a brown plate:
I’ve topped toast with black chickpeas and aioli, black chickpea hummus and smoked salmon (see yesterday’s post); I’ve topped it with eggs and pickled jalapenos; I’ve topped it with jam, preserves, and marmalade–sometimes all at once (that’s when I was feeling extra kinky).
On Saturday, I bought really good harvest bread from Village Bakery at the Farmer’s Market and my sordid affair has continued into this week. My toaster’s really getting a workout and my only regret is not getting one with four slots—if I had four slots, I could make toast (or, in reality, “bruschetta”) for dinner parties quite easily.
But as it stands, I’m loving my toaster and I’m loving toast. I’m sorry for the embarrassment this may have caused my wife and my family. All I can say is that toast has made me a better man and I like who I am when I eat it.