Friday, February 04, 2005

The Consolation of Toast

There are those days when I feel so decidedly under the weather in body and/or in spirit that I simply can't think of eating much of anything. Still, the mind knows that somehow the body must be nourished, and I reach for something bland but consoling:

Toast.

I had picked up a boule of pseudo-pain au levain at the grocery store the other day. (And I say "pseudo" because unlike a true pain au levain, this loaf clearly did not use wild yeast in a real starter and was strictly white flour all the way, as far as I could see. Yes, I'm becoming a bread snob.) I had bought it as a backup for the fondue and then of course did not need it for that meal, but I was relieved to cut into it last night for dinner.

Believe me, I am usually more in favor of whole wheat bread, especially homemade, but sometimes a reasonably decent white bread is more soothing to the spirit and to the stomach. And this was one of those times.

Toasted to an amber burnish, gently slathered with sweet butter, topped with a couple small slices of good cave-aged Gruyere... it tasted heavenly. And with a main dish of pan-fried potato slices with scrambled egg, well, I didn't need much more to make me feel more settled.

In my younger days, my Chef Mother would sometimes make a cheese sauce (from Velveeta, I have to admit) and serve it to me over toast for breakfast or for lunch on a wintry day, and it always made me feel cozy and content and well-loved. Though I don't make the sauce for myself any more, I still find that fresh toast can sometimes be a good cure for almost anything.

Try it sometime... you'll see.

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