This morning my boyfriend asked me politely to inspect a giant wasp buzzing ominously around the shower. With a deft and well-trained hand, I scooped the long-legged insect into a glass and carried her safely to the great outdoors. This is one of the many things my New Jersey boyfriend had to get used to when he signed on to date a girl from the Berkshires.
Other quirks of my childhood home include colorful murals adorning the walls and cabinets, our habit of leaving all the dirty dishes until the next morning, our insatiable love of almond butter (which we buy in bulk), and nighttime treks out to the garage to load up on wood for the fire.
There’s also the fact that we don’t have a microwave. Having grown up without one, I am thoroughly convinced of their uselessness. I don’t understand how they work. Why, sometimes, does food become unbearably hot within seconds, while other times remaining obstinately lukewarm after what seems like hours? In the absence of a microwave, waiting becomes a ritual.
Long before toast was hip, my family ate it religiously for breakfast. We’d slather thick slices of hearty bread with everything from avocado to almond butter to goat cheese to radishes. There’s something meditative about slicing bread in the early hours of morning, turning the toaster dial to “dark,” and ambling over to fix one’s tea to the gentle tune of the timer. After what seems like a small eternity, the triumphant “ding!” breaks through your morning revery. You are now ten times hungrier than you were upon waking and thus your toast becomes hard-earned treasure.
Mastering the art of morning toast:
- Toast should be crunchy: a loud, disruptive crackle with every single bite. None of this slightly-crisp-bread-with-a-few-golden-oven-marks nonsense.
- There is no such thing as one piece of toast. At least two, usually three, occasionally four.
- Salt on everything. Big, flaky Maldon crystals. Honey? Butter? Avocado? Hummus? Salt it. (I will draw the line at jam.)
- Savor it. Unlike oatmeal or eggs, toast brings an element of auditory pleasure to your morning. Every bite is a small cacophony worthy of celebration!
- Think of your bread as a blank canvas. Got some herb packets languishing in the back of your fridge? Try sprinkling them on goat cheese with thin slices of radish.
Here are 5 links to brighten up your week:
- A brief history of Julia Child, as told by a drunk person
- My hunch that baking is good for the soul, now scientifically proven
- A wintry dish worthy of breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Why you should cook in a shower cap, and more advice from writer Durga Chew-Bose
- “Make the mashed potatoes exactly as you like them,” and other tips from your December 2016 food horoscope