Recently, over coffee, I was talking to my friend John about toast. Specifically, about how I love it (the aroma; the taste; the possibilities!) and how I refuse to accept its current status as an “it” fad food.
And yes, I talk to my friends about food. A lot.
“Toast is an ‘it’ food?” John asked, probably wondering why he’d asked me to meet up for coffee in the first place.
“Avocado toast, is, I guess,” I replied. “I think it’s ruining things for other toasts.”
“Oh yeah. Avocado toast is everywhere. But I think other toasts are safe.”
Comforted by this, I started thinking about those other toasts: basic toasts, spectacular toasts, toasts of the future. Don’t get me wrong— I still love a good avocado toast! That combo lives in the part of my heart where meatballs and dim sum wear tiny crowns and celebrate their golden jubilees. Not going anywhere. But there have been other toasts. Special ones. A few that come to mind:
Magic Toast, Brooklyn, 2015
A thick slice of toasted rustic bread topped with house-made ricotta, sautéed mushrooms, possibly mint? There might have been some citrus zest in there, too, but who could know for sure with toast this good? This toast is still so present, yet so far away from me, that the details of its excellence are hazy and I wonder if it really ever happened. I asked the restaurant to share the recipe a few weeks later but never heard back. It’s ok, guys; if I had come up with toast like that I probably wouldn’t tell anyone how to make it, either.
Tuna Toast, Saturdays Since Forever
Sure, this might qualify as an open-faced sandwich, but as long as this thing is involved, it’s still toast to me. I won’t enter the “what makes good tuna salad” fray here; let’s just say that tuna salad, however you like it, over almost-but-not-quite-burnt multigrain toast, add thinly sliced tomato if the mood strikes you, is weekend lunch perfection. PS: Team Diced Dill Pickle FTW.
Tomato Toast, Barcelona, 2013
Could this blog post be a flimsy excuse to take a trip down trips lane? Possibly. But I do tend to toast it up when travelling. Case in point: tomato toast, or pan con tomate, when in Spain. Toasted baguette rubbed with fresh garlic, topped with olive oil (I love this one), grated tomatoes, and good salt. Pretty straightforward, but if you like to follow steps like I do, this old Saveur recipe is a good one. Related: “This Old Saveur Recipe” is the name of my new podcast.
Turn the Corner Toast, Every Cold I’ve Ever Had
White or buttermilk bread, butter (not this butter), raspberry jam. When you’re in the throes of a cold and this combo starts to sound good, you know you’ve turned the corner on your way to Get Well Town.
I could go on, but, as I mentioned, I was having coffee with a friend while all this reverie happened, so I kept it short. But I think John could tell that toast had taken me to that special place reserved for thinking about the food you love; a week later, I got an illustration from him of almost-but-not-quite-burnt toast in the making, ready for something great on top, ready to be a favorite.
How do you like your toast? Leave a comment to let us know!