Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Toast to Childhood

I grew up eating just about anything I wanted. I was a sick kid, and my mom responded by letting me have what I wanted when it came to food. McDonald's multiple times a week, and Domino's Pizza every Friday night was a way of life. The Domino's was on the end of my street and when I was in elementary school it was part of the fun to ride my bike up the hill with my friends and bring home the pizza. All that is well and good, but the childhood foods I most remember, and crave are the ones that I have only recently come to realize are not the food stuffs of most peoples childhoods.
One "dish" (to use the term loosely) that will forever be a go- to breakfast food for me is the 'Egg in a Cup.' The Egg in a Cup is actually two eggs, hard boiled for ten minutes, peeled and dropped into a coffee mug. At this point they are topped with two large pats of butter and chopped into a soft mash with your spoon. Add salt and pepper, and a piece of buttered bread and you have yourself some breakfast. It was not until my adult years that I realized that most of society was appalled by the artery clogging potential of butter covered eggs served with buttered white bread. Nevertheless, I eat mine happily, telling myself that the eggs and butter from pastured animals allows me some wiggle room. I believe that if you try this once you will not be disappointed.

Times change, tastes change, but still sometimes the simplest of foods from our childhood can make everything a little bit better. I recently heard on radio that somebody did a crazy study that determined toast, with it's toasty smell and texture, to be the top comfort food in America. Interestingly, when I think of the foods that seemed to set my family's most ordinary eats apart from my those of my friend's families, it was the toast. Three versions come to mind. The first, cheese toast, was a staple. White bread, toasted and buttered and then evenly covered with thick slices of a sharp, hard cheddar was finished simply by a sprinkling of salt. Cold hard cheese on top of warm, buttered toast, served along with a cup of coffee, and perhaps a fried egg and bacon. It 's a family favorite. Again, I recognize that many are unwilling to accept bread that is buttered and then covered with cheese and then salted. To me it is family, and a warm fire, a full day of playing in the neighborhood, or hanging round with my dad 'helping him' with house projects. It is good. Now a days I have it on 9 grain instead of white, and enjoy eating it for breakfast with apple slices.
The second type is the same basic preparation... toast white bread till golden, and butter with room temperature butter. ( I'm sensing a theme here...) I should mention that the butter at home absolutely always sat in a butter dish on the kitchen counter so as to stay soft. This time, rather than topping with cold cheese, hot sizzling bacon is used. So, that is white bread, butter, and bacon- Bacon Toast, as in "honey would you like a piece of bacon toast?" Yes, thank you!

Finally, a slightly more nutritious take on this theme, Avocado Toast. Yes, toasted bread, soft butter, and soft avocado spread thick. Top with salt. Also very good, and also eaten with great frequency. All grown up I actually don't eat bacon anymore at all, possibly a shame as I still crave it almost singularly in its Bacon Toast form. I also now usually forgo the butter on my avocado toast, (but certainly not because it taste better without). Still, it was a surprise to me when friends and coworkers showed such curiosity at my smashing of avocado slices into a smooth thick spread upon my toast. What's going on here? This is not revolutionary, just simple and satisfying. Surely this would spoil the slender simplicity of the open face toast, but writing this now I'm thinking the three together would make a pretty good sandwich.

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