Skip

Toast is therapeutic
January 14, 2014 6:39 AM   Subscribe

How did toast become the latest artisanal food craze? Comfort, coffee, coconuts and grapefruit.
posted by hawthorne (155 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
How did toast become the latest artisanal food craze?

I dunno, but I've been using it to teach grammar to my ESL students. Repeat after me: "toast, toaster, toastest".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


Serious question: Are they toasting these gigantic slices of toast in a toaster oven, or do they have some kind of specialty toaster, or what? My toaster can barely accommodate a sliced bagel. I'm trying to figure out when I've ever seen one you could put an inch-thick slice of anything into. But at least where I'm from, toasters and toaster ovens are very clearly distinct things.
posted by Sequence at 6:49 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


But toast is a wicked thing! a dread carb which will cause Bloating and Shame! You can get diabetes just by thinking about it! Keep it always from us, the very thought buuuuuuuurns! Hisssss!
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 AM on January 14 [9 favorites]


(via Mark Colvin)
posted by hawthorne at 6:52 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


How did toast become the latest artisanal food craze?

Because it's cheap and easy to DIY, which makes it a prime candidate to over-analyze, beanplate, and charge exorbitantly for? Also, there are multiple elements that go into toast (toasting method, equipment, toppings) that also allow for over-analysis/over-charging. In short, there's money and bragging rights to be had. See also: cupcakes.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:53 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


What do you call an expert toaster? Toastador? Toastista?

Temp?
posted by planetesimal at 6:53 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I love toast. I love it even more when my British friends often use the hashtag on Twitter #toastisthebest.

One thing I love/miss about England is that mega thick sliced bread you find in groceries. That right there is the most amazing toast bread ever. You just can't find that here.
posted by Kitteh at 6:54 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


That was a great read. Inspiring people, food, investigative journalism, more food, everything! Best of luck to Ms. Carrelli.
posted by Erasmouse at 6:54 AM on January 14 [19 favorites]


You just can't find that here.

There are no bread knives in the US?
posted by planetesimal at 6:55 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


What do you call an expert toaster? Toastador? Toastista?

Toastmaster?
posted by Foosnark at 6:56 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


There are no bread knives in the US?

Sure, there are! We even have them in Canada! But I like the comfort of occasionally buying myself that kind of bread when I can't be bothered to get crumbs all over my counter slicing into a loaf of bread.
posted by Kitteh at 6:56 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I hope the yeast was ethically raised.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:57 AM on January 14 [15 favorites]


It's really hard to tell reality from The Onion these days.
posted by octothorpe at 6:59 AM on January 14 [32 favorites]


Here's the thing: I like toast. What could be wrong about warm, crunchy bread with good things spread on it? But I hate over-thick toast. I'd rather have the wafer-thin slice of buttered rye toast from the diner than an inch-thick slab of even very-good bread.

On the other hand, this is a pretty cool, if bizarre, story (hint: it's not about toast).
posted by uncleozzy at 7:02 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


It's a really nice story about a woman struggling with mental health and who found some relief via her tiny, out of the way cafe, which sells, for some peculiar and particular reasons, coconuts, grapefruit juice, coffee, and ... cinnamon toast.
posted by notyou at 7:03 AM on January 14 [13 favorites]


That article was better than this food fashion deserved.
posted by teh_boy at 7:03 AM on January 14 [12 favorites]


All around the country and coast to coast
People always say what do you like most?
I don't wanna brag i don't wanna boast
so i just tell em i like toast

YEAH TOAST!!

posted by frijole at 7:05 AM on January 14 [16 favorites]


My toaster can barely accommodate a sliced bagel.

Industrial toasters can have huge, wide slots, and also, they can be really long so you can put in 4-6 slices side by side. You can also toast under the broiler, but it takes more attention.

I thought this was a good piece. I can't handwring over it. The person who said we overspend on basic luxuries is right, but it's because of the overall crappiness of the general run of food. First of all, good bread is head and shoulders above lame bread. It's an entirely different, more delicious experience. A thick piece of toast, done just right, with a smear of melting butter is one of life's great pleasures, but most of us don't get great toast. We just put something from the grocery store in our toaster and eat it. Great toast, though, is wonderful. And there's something bigger going on there: an effort to reclaim an experience of great sensory pleasure during the simple acts of everyday life. I personally think this is a good pursuit.

The pricing might be a bit much, and reflective of rising inequality, of course. But it's not a lot much if the bread is housemade or from a local baker, the spreads are especially good quality, and you're in a lovely atmosphere. There's a premium that goes with setting, obviously. You're not paying only for the toast - but good toast is worth paying more for.
posted by Miko at 7:07 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


See also: cupcakes.

The thing about cupcakes (and as the article mentions, pickles) is that with time and a little extra effort you can make a really KILLER cupcake or pickle. Putting in extra time and effort with toast just ends with toast. No matter how you try to spin it, it's toast. Food that can be made by pretty much anyone. You don't need a set of icing pipes or a knowledge of canning to make toast. Children make toast. The barrier to entry does not exist.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:08 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


...this is a real thing?
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 7:12 AM on January 14


Talk about food. Not too much. Mostly toast.
posted by thelonius at 7:13 AM on January 14 [17 favorites]


After having struggled as an employee in so many coffee shops, she now employs 14 people. In an almost unheard of practice for the café business, she offers them profit-sharing and dental coverage. And she plans on expanding the business even further, maybe opening up to four or five locations. With the proceeds, she hopes to one day open a halfway house for people who have psychotic episodes—a safe place where they can go when they are in trouble.
I read this as an article about a very smart and compassionate small business owner who does real good in and for her community. The whole toast aspect - well, why the heck not and the price isn't totally unreasonable.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:13 AM on January 14 [35 favorites]


hmmmm - you need access to high quality bread (which you can make at home, one supposes), a toaster that toasts evenly and reliably, and a consistent amount of spread which can be as fussy or complex as you like. Soo yeah not many barriers but there some there.
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on January 14


How did toast become the latest artisanal food craze?

It got posted on Metafilter, then picked up by NPR?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:14 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Why is it worse to "overspend on the simplest aspects of life" than to go to the opera? What kind of weird logic lies behind that statement?
posted by enn at 7:15 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


Putting in extra time and effort with toast just ends with toast.

If you're going to make your own bread, or purchase other locally made bread (starting at no less than $4 a loaf, you may be sure), slice it yourself, make an apricot marmalade jam yourself, and toast the toast yourself, you're going to be putting in a fair amount of time and effort. And some of us at least are going to find it's better than just a slice of Arnold's whole wheat popped into a toaster with some cold butter or something on it.

Frankly, I don't think a barrier to entry with cupcakes exists, either. Children make cupcakes. It takes 5 minutes (mix, eggs, oil, papers, oven). The difference between great, homemade-bread toast and regular toast is akin to the difference between the crappy flavorless yellow cupcakes frosted with Whipped Dream that the grocery store sells in 6-packs for $1.50.

It is a simple food. But even simple things can benefit from being cared about, and that caring results in a different experience when you consume the item created.
posted by Miko at 7:16 AM on January 14 [12 favorites]


It got posted on Metafilter, then picked up by NPR?

Where?
posted by Miko at 7:17 AM on January 14


No matter how you try to spin it, it's toast.

a little bit of TOAST!
posted by MartinWisse at 7:17 AM on January 14


Great article! I urge everyone to read it all the way through if they get the time. Hint: it's not really about toast.
posted by gimli at 7:17 AM on January 14 [17 favorites]


It's making me really sad to read this thread because I am out of bread and almost out of butter, and when I went to the store last night to buy eggs and bread, they were out of bread, and I didn't feel like going further to the bigger supermarket with great bread, but now I wish I had, so I could make some great toast.
posted by enn at 7:19 AM on January 14


So, this is a fine example of the article (and unfortunately, the post), burying the real story behind something fluffy. The real story, to me, is about Giuletta Carrelli, the owner of the Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club. She has schizoaffective disorder, a condition that combines symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolarity. According to the article, "people who have it are susceptible to both psychotic episodes and bouts of either mania or depression."

But stories about people running coffee shops aren't as catchy of a zinger as "Toast: The New Artisanal Food!"
posted by filthy light thief at 7:19 AM on January 14 [12 favorites]


Yeah, the role of food and drink in community and creating a business around a set of passions and values about caring for others is what makes it an excellent piece of writing.
posted by Miko at 7:19 AM on January 14 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this is a really fascinating article that doesn't deserve the easy snark you might think it deserves.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:20 AM on January 14 [9 favorites]


On a similar note, I present the House of Toast, a room party providing toast since 2002 for CONvergence, a MN sci-fi convention. Artisanal, not as much, but cool all the same. It's based on the memories of some bar in Nebraska that had a toast bar, like a salad bar but with toast.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:21 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


enn: It's making me really sad to read this thread because I am out of bread and almost out of butter

In the spirit of the Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club, "Bake Your Own Damn Bread" (though I'll let others suggest recipes and methods - I have been scolded by a relative for not making use of that bread maker I got as a wedding gift, oh 7 years ago).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:21 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I just happen to really like toast, so not living somewhere that I am likely to ever get to meet this lady, I would like the option to make better toast, is all.

I'm not being snarky at all. I also don't think it's surprising that it'd catch on, because it does good things to even mediocre bread, and can do amazing things to amazing bread, especially when combined with real butter and something special in the way of preserves. This makes way more sense to me than the cupcakes thing, which is usually just "hi, here's an obnoxious quantity of sugar".
posted by Sequence at 7:23 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


I have been scolded by a relative for not making use of that bread maker I got as a wedding gift, oh 7 years ago

Holy cow. The bread machine is one of the few appliances that has managed to earn a permanent spot on the counter. My old machine broke a few years ago when a misbalanced dough ball danced it right onto the floor and I had to replace it immediately.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:24 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Sequence: This makes way more sense to me than the cupcakes thing, which is usually just "hi, here's an obnoxious quantity of sugar".

Plus you can reliably eat toast + [something else] as (part of) a meal, while cupcakes are generally desert.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:25 AM on January 14


Sequence: can do amazing things to amazing bread

My great-grandmother's homemade bread, toasted, with a thin film of real butter on top is one of the best memories of my life.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Yes, wonderful article about surviving with mental illness

Here in NYC, it has become very hard to get a decent toasted, buttered bagel. They never toast the bagel enough and there is not enough butter. This used to be a totally standard thing. If anyone knows a place where they get a really good toasted buttered bagel I would appreciate it. kthxbai.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:27 AM on January 14


uncleozzy: Holy cow. The bread machine is one of the few appliances that has managed to earn a permanent spot on the counter.

Not utilizing wedding gifts is kind of a joke in my family (at least, I think it's funny) - my parents had a yogurt maker, still boxed up, from their wedding. I took it with me to college, where I promptly never used it.

Sadly, even the MegaJuicer I got as a wedding gift is gathering dust now, after I went through a juicing craze shortly after getting it. It's kind of a pain to clean, and now we don't have a compost bin, so I feel bad just chucking all that wonderful fruit pulp into the wastebin. Perhaps this thread is the kick in the arse I need to make use of these appliances.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on January 14


Toast and coconuts? Now I want kaya jam.
posted by zamboni at 7:29 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


I was just about to post about kaya toast and how in Singapore at least coffee and 'artisanal toast' has been a thing for ages. It really is not a new idea in many places in the world (I seem to remember speciality toast places were hip in Japan a few years ago as well).
posted by Megami at 7:35 AM on January 14


After having struggled as an employee in so many coffee shops, she now employs 14 people. In an almost unheard of practice for the café business, she offers them profit-sharing and dental coverage. And she plans on expanding the business even further, maybe opening up to four or five locations.

This aspect of the story was far more interesting than the toast. Profit sharing and dental means she pays more than the minimum wage. You see so many of these cafés fail. Especially the ones started by starry-eyed community do-gooders who don't know a thing about running an actual business. Her success comes from more than serving toast and the article does a good job at explaining how she works her brand as well as any big box retailer.
posted by three blind mice at 7:37 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


If anyone knows a place where they get a really good toasted buttered bagel I would appreciate it. kthxbai.

Bagelsmith on Bedford Ave tastes like the bagels of childhood.
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 AM on January 14


There are no bread knives in the US?

The phrase is not "The best thing since I had to laboriously slice my own bread with a bread knife, resulting in slices of inconsistent thickness due to human error".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:46 AM on January 14 [22 favorites]


Man, toast is so OVER. Enjoy it, 'cos it's over. OVER.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:46 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


This was a terrific article; thank you for posting it.

The ur-toaster, in my opinion, is the industrial food-service conveyer belt toaster with a variable belt speed control. Nothing else toasts as evenly or consistently. Unfortunately, they're a bit above my price range and command too much countertop real estate to justify outside of an industrial food service or restaurant setting.

Anyway, cronuts under various non-trademarked names ("Cronots", "Dossants") are now showing up at Whole Foods ("Croissant Donuts!") and my local mall's cupcake shop ("Crumbnut!") so it was probably time for a new hipster comfort carb. I see nothing wrong with toast as a candidate.

Toast also has some distinct features relative to previous generations of hipster comfort carbs (cupcakes, macarons, cronuts, etc). It allows for an appealing level of customization -- various nut butters, fruit butters, marmalades, jams, pastured butters, clotted cream, flavored sprinkling sugars, etc. It's more cost-effective to maintain one or two (or five) base toast breads and then maintain multiple condiments/customization options (most of which have long usable lifespans or are even shelf-stable) than it is to make up eight or twenty different varieties of cupcakes or macarons every single day.

Also, toast can only be eaten at its best in-person, unlike a cupcake. Toast promotes staying; toast promotes time spent in person. Toast is not a takeaway food. I don't think it's a mistake that she went with toast.
posted by pie ninja at 7:49 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Oh, also, possibly the best way to eat toast.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:51 AM on January 14


40+ comments in and nobody has said anything about how fucking amazing that giant piece of toast looks? LOOK AT IT. it's like two inches thick, perfectly browned. you know when you bite into it, the crunchy part will yield with the liberal application of creamy butter soaking into the untoasted part in the middle, this softness that makes you want an entire pillow made out of bread.

god forbid we forget the cinnamon and sugar, the caramelized sugar providing a crisp crunch and the cinnamon flooding our mouth with sweet spice and warmth and love.

that toast. THAT TOAST.

I need a minute.
posted by kerning at 7:52 AM on January 14 [22 favorites]


It bears repeating: kaya toast.
posted by Drab_Parts at 7:53 AM on January 14


Putting in extra time and effort with toast just ends with toast.

Flagged for offensive content.
--

I lived in a first years' dorm in England, and one day we had a Toast Race. Pick your own loaf and toppings, bring a drink, and we'll see whose Gluten Gluttony triumphs. I chose rocks-and-sticks whole grain bread and margarine, while Englishman Ed chose white bread and Vegemite, and Gary…well, Gary didn't finish the second lap, as far as I recall. I won the race and the bragging rights, but the real prize was being too full to bother going down to dinner that night or breakfast the next day (as the food was terrible).
posted by wenestvedt at 7:53 AM on January 14


kerning: that toast. THAT TOAST.

I think you mean

DAT TOAST DOE
posted by Rock Steady at 7:56 AM on January 14


This is a great article about survival, not just about toast (and coconuts).

But maybe it's just me, but toast made for me by somebody else just tastes WAY better than toast I make for myself. It's not that I make bad toast, my toast is awesome (as indexed by people I make toast for), but when the toastee is not me, toast goes to another plane.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:56 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


bluesky43: toast made for me by somebody else just tastes WAY better than toast I make for myself

This also applies to sandwiches, salads, and handies.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:57 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


Toasted cronuts are where it's at.
posted by planetesimal at 8:01 AM on January 14


My great-grandmother's homemade bread, toasted, with a thin film of real butter on top is one of the best memories of my life.

Almost twenty years ago I was driving to the east coast of Canada with a friend and an acquaintance of his (who cadged a ride with us in exchange for some gas money -- he was a university student going home for the summer), When we delivered our third rider to his home, a dairy farm in central Nova Scotia, his mother offered us lunch. I then ate this cheese sandwich made with cheese and butter made right there on the farm, sandwiched between hugs slabs of fresh bread, still warm from the oven. I recall looking out the kitchen window at the shadows of clouds sliding down the Annapolis Valley thinking, "I will never eat a better sandwich than this. Hell, maybe never a better meal."

I was right.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:07 AM on January 14 [20 favorites]


Toast
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:20 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


You don't need a lot of time and materials to make a pretty decent loaf of bread at home.

Put 6 cups of flour, three cups of water, a half tablespoon or so of yeast, a tablespoon or so of salt in a five or six quart (best if it has a lid) container. Combine the ingredients until you have a shaggy mess without much dry mater at the bottom of the container. Cover. Let it rise a couple of times and when you think of it, take a few stirs at it with a spoon to bring it back down. If it will be a while before you plan to use it, put it in the fridge for up to 10 days. After at 8 to 24 hours, mix it down, stretch it flat and roll the flat dough into a loaf. Preheat the oven to 450, once the oven is hot, slash the top of the loaf two or three times, and cook for about 40 minutes.
posted by wotsac at 8:24 AM on January 14 [9 favorites]


3.2.3: Toast

A different NC restaurant called Toast. They do a killer breakfast.

That's going to be confusing.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:26 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


If you just buy your bread, then you probably aren't aware of the time and labor that go into it. During the winter, I usually make a couple of loaves for the week. Proofing, mixing and kneading takes about thirty minutes. The first rise takes another hour and a half. The second rise takes about the same. Forming the loaves and the third rise takes another hour+. Then, baking takes another forty minutes. Not backbreaking by any stretch, but time consuming. The payoff is well worth it, though.

This is a pretty great story - toast is just a bit player, though.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:26 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Toast is not a takeaway food.

One of the odder anime cliches begs to differ.

I usually hate food trend pieces, but this was such a good article.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:30 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I suspect that not everybody reads the article all the way through before posting a remark about it. IDK why, just a feeling I get.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:32 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


All around the country and coast to coast
People always say what do you like most?
I don't wanna brag i don't wanna boast
so i just tell em i like toast

YEAH TOAST!!


YEAH TOAST!!!!!!!!!

The day I knew my partner was The One was the day I was at his apartment, he was cooking dinner for me, and we were singing silly songs. I asked him, "Do you know the Toast song?" He responded "I know A Toast song, is it the same one?" "Well, hum a few bars," I suggested. He immediately began drumming on the table.
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:32 AM on January 14 [7 favorites]


  >There are no bread knives in the US?

The phrase is not "The best thing since I had to laboriously slice my own bread with a bread knife, resulting in slices of inconsistent thickness due to human error".


I've never really understood the actual phrase. It takes literally 10 seconds to cut two slices of bread for a sandwich. A lot of breadboxes have their own built-in cutting boards, and when you're done, just wipe the knife with a clean, dry towel and put it back. Even factoring in cleanup, pre-sliced bread saves you maybe 30 seconds of lunch-making time.

People must have been easily impressed back then, I guess is my point.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:36 AM on January 14


I only lived on dorms my first year in university, but what a wonderful year it was! Wonderful because I had access to The Food Hall. I came from a vegetarian, whole-wheat, crunchy granola-type household, so I went crazy with the refined carbs. I ate nothing but belgian waffles, Lucky Charms, and huge, towering stacks of Wonderbread toast dripping with butter. Sometimes I would take a book down to the food hall late in the evening and make myself a stack of a dozen slices of buttered toast, and read and munch.

The thing I miss most about my university days is being able to eat a whole loaf's worth of buttered toast with a clean conscience.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 8:38 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


This is nothing without powdered toast.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:45 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


It's pronounced "to-ast".
posted by mr. manager at 8:47 AM on January 14


Chloe Sevigny is way ahead of you.

[edit: beaten by SECONDS!]
posted by Legomancer at 8:48 AM on January 14


At last! A good thread for sharing the Cyber Toaster Museum!
posted by donut_princess at 8:48 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


sandettie light vessel automatic, I think people just want to talk about toast.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:51 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I am not an expert bread slicer and I'm sure that my slices have minute variations in thickness, but it ain't hard to cut a bunch of similar looking slices quickly with a teeny bit of practice.
posted by planetesimal at 8:58 AM on January 14


Are they toasting these gigantic slices of toast in a toaster oven

A little toaster oven is one of the best kitchen appliances. If I had to choose between that and a microwave, I'd have to think hard.

You can quickly toast a big hunk of bread, a frozen giant pretzel, a pan full of seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), have hot toasted oats for breakfast, eat a Hot Pocket with an actually crispy crust for lunch, roast a few chicken breasts in the evening so they won't taste boiled and bland in soup and then make a quick pan of cornbread without having to heat the whole oven.
posted by straight at 9:07 AM on January 14


This is total Pepsi Blue. Can't you see the hand of The Toast Marketing Board in this?
posted by bswinburn at 9:10 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


At bottom, Carrelli says, Trouble is a tool for keeping her alive. “I’m trying to stay connected to the self,” she says. Like one of her old notebooks, the shop has become an externalized set of reference points, an index of Carrelli’s identity. It is her greatest source of dependable routine and her most powerful means of expanding her network of friends and acquaintances, which extends now to the shop’s entire clientele. These days, during a walking episode, Carrelli says, a hello from a casual acquaintance in some unfamiliar part of the city might make the difference between whether she makes it home that night or not. “I’m wearing the same outfit every day,” she says. “I take the same routes every day. I own Trouble Coffee so that people recognize my face—so they can help me.”

posted by threeants at 9:17 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I went into the article expecting to snark, and I came out of it full of wonder at how awesome humans are sometimes. Thank you for posting.
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:20 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


I, too, just finished reading this (after getting in my early shot about my own Toast Love), and was delighted by the story. I wish this woman many years of satisfaction and agency and prosperity. And now I want to try a coconut!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:23 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why I even read that. I think toast is boring and I don't like trend pieces.

But I am so, so glad I did. Everyone--not just people with mental illness--needs to have a self-care plan that works for them, and hers is strange and beautiful and inspiring.

Also, I'm glad I read the comments, too, because I just realized that I have a cutting board built right into my breadbox. Which is pretty cool.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:30 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


What a great article. Thanks for posting.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:30 AM on January 14


People must have been easily impressed back then, I guess is my point.

I think they were just entranced with what machines could newly do, not like us at all.
posted by Miko at 9:30 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


If you have come into contact with wheat or wheat by-products, please proceed to the shelter below the public library for quarantine.
posted by Sara C. at 9:45 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


"The trick was to be identifiable: the more people who recognized her, the more she stood a chance of being able to recognize herself."
Wonderful well-written story.
I also love toast.
posted by islander at 9:50 AM on January 14


The phrase is not "The best thing since I had to laboriously slice my own bread with a bread knife, resulting in slices of inconsistent thickness due to human error".

My dad has this amazing bread knife which is not only serrated for proper bread cutting, it also has this funny wooden guide on it so that you can measure out an exactly uniform thick slice.

Everyone should have one of those.
posted by Sara C. at 9:55 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Enjoyed the article, and even though it isn't really about toast, it brought back a good memory. When I was in high school our French club took a trip to Quebec/Montreal (much cheaper than going to France). I had a blast, but one thing that stood out was a stop the bus made somewhere in the woods at a little hole in the wall that sold all sorts of maple goods. Syrup, maple sugar, candies, anything you can think of. And they were passing out slices of freshly baked baguettes slathered with maple butter. To this day that is one of the best things I have ever tasted; I have never been able to duplicate it either. I would gladly pay 4 or 5 dollars for a repeat of that experience.
posted by TedW at 10:01 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Toast is slightly more accessible than bacon.

Also I can make a hell of a large margin with yeast, flour, sugar, salt and whatever that I can't make with pork product.

Toast is something everyone can make; however, there's enough mystery to good toast that you'll sample someone else's. It is quick and easy to upsell. There are an infinite number of variations you can make on simple bread to show your mastery of the medium. And each the consumer will spend money on.

Every culture has dough that they bake. Everything can be made into something as unrecognizable as it is recognizable. At the same time, by lumping it all under toast we're all safe and nobody has to try anything too outlandish.

I can salt it to make you want more. I can sweeten it to increase your enjoyment. I can sour it, egg wash it, roll it through oatmeal, change the flour, change the mill, change the proofing, braid it, slice it, shape it, smash it - whatever the customer hasn't had. Do we make it with a hard crust? Do we make it soft, crumbly? tight crumb? Toast allows a multitude of specialization - and they all contribute to the experience. Hell, that's without going artisanal with the ingredients. Yes - there are some chefs that even use mineral water when they make bread.

I like toast. I know why restaurants and foodies are making it 'in'... but ask yourself, why did you ever let someone convince you before that it was out?
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:09 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


The best part of using the broiler method for toasting is that with two small-ish children, you will eventually (no matter how much attention you try to pay it) create fire inside your oven instead of toast.

The coconuts were an interesting touch - so bizarrely out of place with coffee and toast in most people's minds, I would imagine. Great article!
posted by combinatorial explosion at 10:11 AM on January 14


Actually reading the article now, it occurs to me that this "toast bar" concept is basically a west coast alternative to the bagel & shmear. Which is fine by me, as every bagel I've had out here has been a disappointment. Replace the bagel with good bread and it's good enough for me.
posted by Sara C. at 10:14 AM on January 14


One of my favorite sayings (originally from a Celestial Seasonings mug) is this: Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea. This article reminded me of that.

The real story, of course, is Giulietta Carelli, and the even realer story is the grand irony of the new bougie food craze being started by a person whose lifestyle the runaway gentrification in San Francisco is increasingly making impossible.
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:36 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


This article was really wonderful. It's kind of really not about toast, and that's okay. Thanks for posting.
posted by lownote at 10:49 AM on January 14


I did a double-take when I saw this post, because I am one of the regulars at Trouble and knowing Giulietta has completely changed my life for the better. She can be a lot to handle sometimes, but she will also stick with you when *you* are being a lot to handle. She's truly one of the first people to really get through to me on how important it is to love yourself and to be part of a community. In fact, I've been holed up in bed for a few days with pretty bad depression-- I think I'm gonna head over right now and say hi to my friends.
posted by tumbleweedjack at 11:06 AM on January 14 [41 favorites]


Hint: it's not really about toast.

Shh! You'll spoil the fantastic "raise your hand if you didn't RTFA" self-identification thread!
posted by RogerB at 11:20 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


Wow it is it really weird to read about a friend on the blue.
posted by feckless at 11:24 AM on January 14


Is it just me or does the Trouble part of the article seemingly bear no relation to the original thesis of the piece?

It's pretty clear to me that Trouble Coffee has nothing to do with the "food trend" of toast. The descriptions of the shop bear no resemblance to the descriptions of the other toast places in the article. It is very obvious that those places aren't directly copying off of Trouble, or that Trouble didn't really start a "trend".

Carelli's story is interesting, though, and it sounds like a cool place to get a coffee and a slice of cinnamon toast.
posted by Sara C. at 11:44 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I really liked this article, but I don't think I'd like her toast much. I like my toast very thin and covered in either scrambled egg, Heinz baked beans from the blue can, or Marmite. And I don't like coconut at all. I think I'd like Carelli, though.

I have a friend who ran a toast (and pretty much only toast) shop in Seattle more than 30 years ago. Nobody wanted to know back then.
posted by Fnarf at 11:46 AM on January 14


I loved the article it was fantastically written.


On the toast front. I adore bread. Love it. I cannot bake bread much at home, as I will eat an entire loaf on my own. Instead I buy decent bread from the grocery.

Toast is a trigger food for me. If I am not careful I will eat too much of it. I make myself two pieces, butter it, sometimes jam, then I have to put the toaster away ASAP or I will make even more of it.

Toast is the perfect food.

However, I am not paying four dollars a slice for it.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:47 AM on January 14


Because it's cheap and easy to DIY, which makes it a prime candidate to over-analyze, beanplate, and charge exorbitantly for? Also, there are multiple elements that go into toast (toasting method, equipment, toppings) that also allow for over-analysis/over-charging. In short, there's money and bragging rights to be had. See also: cupcakes.

It is Retreatist and Sophist Chic. You cannot afford cake, so settle for cupcakes and pretend everything is all right in your world and when cupcakes are a stretch, go down a few notches and try to dress up dry bread with cheap gunk and a cutesy name.

Hell, people are already trying to glamorize their homelessness.

It is the ultimate form of pessimism: you don't think you will ever do better, so launch a DIY propaganda campaign to validate why your crappy situation is some sort of wonderful blessing...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:03 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I would pay $4 for a substantial slice of perfectly toasted artisanal bread spread thickly with good butter and house-made jam (or some comparably delicious spread).

The problem is that, when this trend takes hold, there's going to be a gradual slide downward in quality, and next thing you know places are going to be charging $4 for a slice of wonderbread with some kind of Sysco spreadable "food product".
posted by Sara C. at 12:04 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


What do you call an expert toaster? Toastador? Toastista?

Toastist or toastologist.
posted by contraption at 12:07 PM on January 14


I was going to talk about the article, but after reading the comments here I have to say something. Great toast is wonderful, and if you think toast is bland you probably aren't eating great toast. We take our toast seriously here, very god damned seriously. From the 24 hour no-knead dough baked in an oblong clay cloche (round cloches make for better bread, but worse toast), to our ridiculously expensive but perfectly consistent dualit toaster, finally spread with room temperature compound butter (usually hand ground cardamom). Even then we don't always succeed at great toast, but at least we tried.

Bread machines are the work of the devil. They always seem to produce an overly heavy loaf. If you are happy with the results I'm happy for you, but I haven't been.

Greatest thing since sliced bread isn't about the fact that it's sliced as much as it is about the preservatives that keep it from going moldy. That was the innovation.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:07 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Btw, breadtopia is where I got the cloche if anyone needs one.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:10 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Now that was a bit of long form journalism that was worth the conventions of the genre. Discovery, analysis, understanding, vividness. Thank goodness, that's something to wash away the bad taste of Kevin Williams the other day.
posted by glasseyes at 12:38 PM on January 14


The toast. It is really good. The bread comes from Just For You Cafe. It is sliced one breadknife width thick, toasted, and then an almost unimaginable amount of butter is applied. There's a technique that it takes a little while to master where you poke small holes in the toast so you can really work the butter through more of the thickness of the toast. It turns into melty delight. Most people get the cinnamon sugar on top, but a lot of people do other things like peanut butter & honey. Surfers, man.

Get the coconut, at least once.

If toast is not your thing you can get pastries from Goody Goody and mini-pies from Butter Love as well.

I was not expecting G to speak to an interviewer in this much depth about her life. The thing about her, though, is that she does not do what you expect. She'll probably hate being labelled as the origin of a fad, though.

Tumbleweedjack, when are you usually there? We're there every weekday at 8:20.

This is the place I was talking about when I was ranting about people who rant about expensive cupcakes and such in one of the umpteen San Francisco affordability discussions.
posted by feckless at 12:41 PM on January 14 [11 favorites]


Hint: it's not really about toast.

Well the writer buried the lede pretty darn deep. I read half of the article and it came across like one of those horrible Times Style articles about some twee trend that's not actually a trend.

On first read, I gave up about two page-downs in and didn't go back to read the whole thing until after people here started talking about the owner's journey.
posted by octothorpe at 12:42 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


You cannot afford cake, so settle for cupcakes

I really don't think not being able to afford cake is why the craze for $5 cupcakes took off.
posted by Miko at 1:09 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Bread machines are the work of the devil. They always seem to produce an overly heavy loaf. If you are happy with the results I'm happy for you, but I haven't been.

I agree. I've also noticed is that the folks who are happy with bread machines also don't proof their loaves properly when baking outside of the bread machine. My mother is guilty of this -- when I bake rolls for Thanksgiving in her house she spends her time watching the shaped rolls rise, reminding me over and over again, you can overproof bread, you know, you don't want it to fall.

And you can, but the point of overproofing is a lot further along than I suspect many home bakers realize. I have the advantage of having worked at Subway, where even the most extravagantly overproofed loaves, the ones we forgot in the proofer during the lunch rush, still ended up mostly-edible. My home-baked bread gets proofed until I'm *almost* sure I've ruined it, which seems to be the sweet spot. Any sooner than that and it ends up as the heavy, "home-baked" loaf you get out of the bread machine.
posted by pie ninja at 1:13 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


People must have been easily impressed back then, I guess is my point.
It's easy enough to slice bread that's 4 days old and treated to never go mouldy. Slicing soft crusty bread the same day it's baked is a different thing.

I love the description of Trouble as being fashioned to a sort of anti-consumerist template! Uncomfortable chairs, no space, three things to choose from and only one of them standard. It's like, customers - On my first visit on a chilly September afternoon, people were lounging on the trunk drinking their coffee and eating slices of toast, looking like lions draped over tree limbs in the Serengeti. - might have to get over themselves before they can feel ok there. And after, they will be free!

About 5 years ago a pie shop started in my town on a slightly similar, vintage-y, back to roots simplicity type thing. All you can get is pie, mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy served on enamel plates on rickety old tables and chairs. Roaring trade, because the food is filling, homey, good value and delicious and because something about the presentation seems to promise honesty. Lots of different sorts of pie mind, including vegetarian.
posted by glasseyes at 1:16 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I make bread with rosemary and fennel in it. Smells great baking. Smells extra great when toasting - a combination of warm/stuffingy/holiday food and liquorice/sensual.
posted by meehawl at 1:19 PM on January 14


Funny, I looked for this on Google Earth and found the first address (I assume), a bleak industrial block filled with kitchen installers and the like. Then I found the current address, and it was unmistakeable -- "Small Talkers" next door, some driftwood out front, though nothing like the described seating area, which seems to have been carved out from the storefront itself judging by the other photographs I found. And yes, it's everything you imagine you will find at a random weird coffee shop in SF: a dog resting out front, two bikes latched to the lamppost, one vintage, one tandem, and across the street a guy photobombing the Street View truck. Yes, it all says, yes: this is the place.
posted by dhartung at 1:28 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


The NY TImes no knead bread recipe changed my life. Impossible to fuck up and it makes great toast.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=0
posted by ericthegardener at 1:30 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


They always seem to produce an overly heavy loaf. If you are happy with the results I'm happy for you, but I haven't been.

I hated my breadmachine results until I started doing only sourdoughs. Those came out wonderfully - light, with nice big bubbles, high-risen, tender crumb, moist inside crispy outside. You can make many different kinds of bread by starting with a sourdough starter, and they were all delicious. I was especially happy to discover this because I always wanted to use whole-grain flours, which are just denser and heavier. Sourdough makes them as fluffy as white bread.

This has made me miss those days. I am trying to cut down on all flour consumption, so I don't make bread any more.
posted by Miko at 1:45 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


When I lived in a dorm in Prague (sounds like the setup for a hilarious hipster joke, I know), my roommate and I DREAMED of toast, CONSTANTLY. You just cannot make toast on a hotplate and we were too broke to afford a toaster, and we didn't have an oven.

We used to sit in bed on Sunday mornings and fantasize about toast.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:07 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Favorite toast recipe: home made sourdough or other crusty bread, sandwich loaf. Lightly toast, remove, butter and pour on the cinnamon and sugar. Take out the propane torch, and carefully heat the cinnamon/sugar/butter topping until it melts into a brulee-like crust, taking care not to burn it. Let cool (important! We're talking culinary napalm here) and eat. It's possible to do this with a broiler or in the toaster oven, but I find the propane torch gives the best results. Plus, fire!
posted by Blackanvil at 2:07 PM on January 14 [4 favorites]


They always seem to produce an overly heavy loaf. If you are happy with the results I'm happy for you, but I haven't been.

Oh yeah, the bread machine loaves aren't ideal. But they're better than any other kind of bread I can have for $0.50 or whatever. Plus pizza dough.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:42 PM on January 14


The thing about good quality bread is the strong crust, toasting soft white bread is really an attempt to produce a second rate facsimile of this.
This is why really good bread never toasts well - it doesn't need it.
posted by Lanark at 3:04 PM on January 14


it doesn't need it.

I beg to differ! There are breads I don't think toast well, but lots of really good bread still benefits from being served warm, with a nice crispness across the surface and a few spots of char.
posted by Miko at 3:08 PM on January 14


It's pretty clear to me that Trouble Coffee has nothing to do with the "food trend" of toast. The descriptions of the shop bear no resemblance to the descriptions of the other toast places in the article. It is very obvious that those places aren't directly copying off of Trouble, or that Trouble didn't really start a "trend".

From the article:
"But Baker assured me that he was not the Chuck Berry of fancy toast. He was its Elvis: he had merely caught the trend on its upswing. The place I was looking for, he and others told me, was a coffee shop in the city’s Outer Sunset neighborhood—a little spot called Trouble."

So apparently Baker and others told the author that they were inspired by the toast at Trouble Coffee, which is pretty much the definition of starting a trend.
posted by tavella at 4:33 PM on January 14


Sure, but it's very obvious that they took what she was doing and went in a completely different direction with it. It's less like Chuck Berry and Elvis, and more like the Blues and Elvis. Or field work songs and Elvis.

Aside from that awkward and sort of "you're just going to have to take my word for it" segue, there's nothing that really connects the two parts of the story. It's relatively clear that he pitched "what's up with this new food trend", found a much more interesting story that he wouldn't be able to pitch on its own, and just crammed it in.

Any other writer would probably have followed up on the recommendations of this one baker, seen that it was a really different permutation of a somewhat similar idea, and probably chosen not to include Trouble Coffee in the story. The genius of this piece is that John Gravois forced the story about Giulietta Carrelli into the silly trend piece framework, and despite the tenuous connection, it somehow works. Probably because Carrelli's story is so compelling on its own.
posted by Sara C. at 4:39 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Toast is what you are served if you hated what was for dinner, or missed dinner. Or for breakfast, or if you are hungry at a non-meal-time, or if you need comfort. Toast with cinammon sugar, made from good bread or whatever bread is available. Or with grape jelly, or marmalade, or peanut butter and Marmite or with pesto. Olive spread is good. You can probably make toast even when you are horribly depressed and the thought of cooking is too much effort. I love toast. I love my toaster. I am traveling and unable to make toast, but talking about toast is comforting and nostalgic. I wish I had the cinammon sugar shaker from my childhood; I can picture it still - glass, with a diamond pattern and a metal screw top, surely a promotional item.

Someplace to go when you are in trouble, where there is toast. That's a little slice of what was best from home. thanks for posting this. It's all kinds of best of the web.
posted by theora55 at 4:57 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


There is very little in this world that is better than thinly sliced white toast lashed with well-melted butter and lots of homemade marmalade.

Though I love the idea of stabbing the toast so that you can get butter to more thoroughly permeate a thick slice.
posted by Sara C. at 5:01 PM on January 14


<3 <3 <3 Giulietta.

I drove out to Trouble for the first time back in 2007 maybe when they first opened the first location as I had met Giulietta briefly at Farleys and had heard great things about her new endeavor. Also I love coconuts. I ended up giving her a ride across town to the bakery where she gets her bread as it is near where I was living at the time and she would have otherwise had to take an hour+ train ride to get there. Anyways, she's a truly outstanding and unique presence in this town and I'm so happy to see such a great article about her story. I'm also thrilled to consider myself part of the web of weak ties that allow ideas to spread.

What the article doesn't really delve into is that the outer sunset (the location of the first Trouble) was a pretty bleak neighborhood when Trouble first opened and since then that block in particular is booming with fantastic small businesses and Outerlands, my favorite restaurant in SF. Now that Trouble 2 has opened in a bleak part of Bayview, a neighborhood where San Franciscans generally don't ever go, I'll be interested to see if she has the same effect...
posted by garethspor at 5:14 PM on January 14 [5 favorites]


That was a great read, but I think "fancy" toast is generally a bad idea for cafes. Mostly because it's the easiest thing in the world to make at home. Push button, wait 2 minutes, add topping. Want fancy version? Just buy bread & toppings at fancy supermarket. It usually surpasses restaurant toast too because you can eat it before it cools down (less that a minute after toasting).

I guess this would be targeting people who never eat at home (but want to feel like they do)?.?
posted by p3t3 at 5:19 PM on January 14


However, you can theoretically buy your own bagels, cut them in half, run them through your toaster, and add your own spreads. Except nobody does. Everybody goes to the bagel shop. Because it's just better that way. The bagels are fresher, the industrial toaster is better, and they spackle on the spreads with a putty knife. They offer a million choices in both bagels and spreads.

A good bagel shop is a thousand times better than getting some anemic half stale garbage stuck in your toaster and then either spreading it so thin with cream cheese that you might as well not bother or using the entire $4 tub of cream cheese on one bagel.

Likewise with toast.

Also I like white toast but never buy white bread.

Also I don't have counter space for a toaster and this thread is making me want cinnamon toast SO BAD.
posted by Sara C. at 5:28 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Tea was a very special institution, revolving as it did around the ceremony and worship of Toast. In a place where alcohol, tobacco and drugs were forbidden, it was essential that something should take their place as a powerful and public totem of virility and cool. Toast, for reasons lost in time, was the substance chosen. Its name was dropped on every possible occasion, usually pronounced, in awful public school accents, 'taste'.

'I was just having some toast, when Burton and Hopwood came round...'

'Harman's not a bad fag actually. He makes really majorly good toast...'

'Yeah, you should come round to my study, maybe, we'll get some toast going...'

'God, I can hardly move. I've just completely overdone it on the toast...'

- Stephen Fry, The Liar

posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:30 PM on January 14 [5 favorites]


This is the west coast. There are (almost) no good bagel shops.
posted by aspo at 5:31 PM on January 14


But we have better sourdough, so it's a wash?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:35 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Hence the "toast bar" at places like The Mill, in the article. The setup described is exactly the setup of the venerable East Coast bagel shop, except it plays to San Francisco's strength: really good bread.
posted by Sara C. at 5:36 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


using the entire $4 tub of cream cheese on one bagel

You've been looking in my kitchen window, haven't you? Freak!

This is the west coast. There are (almost) no good bagel shops.

Bagel Oasis, aka HOT BAGELS, in Seattle is good. Outstanding, I dunno, but definitely good. At least, if you get the pumpernickel, which you should always do, no matter where you are. If they have it.
posted by Fnarf at 5:45 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Sara C., good point re: bagel shops. Living in Japan, I do crave a good bagel sometimes. Japan loves any bread product to be as soft as hot dog buns, so it's really hard to find bagels done right. Despite the growing popularity of bagels, they're usually way too soft here.

Still not entirely convinced about the business sense behind toast though. The means to make good toast are usually already present in the house without any planning. Less so with bagels.
posted by p3t3 at 5:47 PM on January 14


What is this about toasting bagels. Heresy I say.

Of course I know this is a thing that has been done for a long time but I do treasure my chances to get back into the regions where bagels are considered "done" after being placed in the case and you just eat them without toasting them.
posted by Miko at 6:22 PM on January 14


Japan loves any bread product to be as soft as hot dog buns

Come to Tokyo, p3t3. There are numerous bakeries here ready to provide you with a plethora of breads of all varieties.

it's really hard to find bagels done right.

Again, come to Tokyo. I'll hook you up.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:04 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


That was a great article. Thanks for posting it. It's easy to point and laugh at the twee little trends that come and go, but it's hard to actually explore them and how they come to be meaningful. I started reading this thinking I'd see yet another snarkingly snarky trend piece, but instead read something interesting and inspirational.

I need to thing about building my own damn house, dammit.
posted by elwoodwiles at 7:43 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Less so with bagels.

For baking bagels, maybe?

But all you need to prepare a (heretical to Miko) bagel at home is bagels, a knife, a toaster, and something to spread on the bagel. It's really no different than making toast.

And yet entire cities of people on the US east coast would prefer to go out for them.

So I see no reason why really fantastic toast couldn't be the same, especially in cities more known for their bread.
posted by Sara C. at 8:00 PM on January 14


Thanks flapjax; I may take you up on your offer sooner or later. I do have one awesome local bakery that makes proper bread, but they don't do bagels.
posted by p3t3 at 8:00 PM on January 14


But all you need to prepare a (heretical to Miko) bagel at home is bagels, a knife, a toaster, and something to spread on the bagel. It's really no different than making toast.

My point was that you have to anticipate wanting to eat a bagel when you are grocery shopping. Bread is already a staple whether you use it for sandwiches/toast/whatever. This thread made me want some toast, so I made some just now without any effort or thought, and it was awesome. My house may be different than most American households though; I have no cereals, no bagels, and toast/coffee is my standard breakfast already.
posted by p3t3 at 8:07 PM on January 14


When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries. Toad sat up on end once more, dried his eyes, sipped his tea and munched his toast, and soon began talking freely about himself, and the house he lived in, and his doings there, and how important he was, and what a lot his friends thought of him. - The Wind in the Willows

I adore toast. Hands down, it's my favorite thing to have for breakfast. Made from good bread it is utterly divine, but my mainstay was always Arnold's Health Nut bread, toasted medium-dark and buttered generously with real butter.

I'm doing low-carb now, and have missed my toast terribly; but recently I did find a pretty decent low-carb bread and now my favorite mini-meal is two slices of low-carb toast spread with cream cheese and a bit of sugar-free strawberry jam. Not quite the same as the carb-ful kind, but damn tasty and a welcome change from the meat-egg-salad routine.

The best toast I've ever had was made by my grandpa. He'd use whatever sliced bread there happened to be in the house (usually some leftover Vienna bread or the aforementioned Health Nut, I guess I developed my taste for that growing up in my grandparent's kitchen.) He buttered it generously, added a substantial amount of brown sugar and sprinkled cinnamon over the top. He then broiled it in the toaster oven until the bread became toast and the topping became a sweet, crispy cinnamon-sugar crust atop the crunchy, buttery toasted bread. One of the most delicious things I have ever eaten in my life.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:15 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


garethspor: "Trouble 2 has opened in a bleak part of Bayview, a neighborhood where San Franciscans generally don't ever go"

San Franciscans generally don't ever go there? The 33,996 San Franciscans who live there don't count?

Actually, assuming Lennar gets to land its 700 acres of Mission Bay Lite onto Candlestick and the shipyard, maybe $4/slice of toast is a vision of a particular future.
posted by meehawl at 8:34 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


My point was that you have to anticipate wanting to eat a bagel when you are grocery shopping. Bread is already a staple whether you use it for sandwiches/toast/whatever.

This isn't universally true, though. I don't have a toaster (no room in my kitchen) and rarely buy loaves of sliced bread because they go bad before I can finish them. I have to put equal thought into the possibility of wanting toast as I do into wanting bagels.
posted by Sara C. at 8:37 PM on January 14


So I leave the US for 7 years, and it turns into some post-carb society where people don't have bread or toasters, and toast becomes a luxury food.?.. Kidding, of course; I see where you're coming from. Curious to see how much this trend can spread though...
posted by p3t3 at 9:21 PM on January 14


Yeah, for me, things like bread and jam are very infrequent dietary indulgences, so it doesn't make sense for me to buy a loaf of bread or even a jar of jam, because I just won't use it all. If I ever got a craving for toast, I'd be happy to pay $4 for really good toast and not have to worry about what to do with the rest of the bread.

And thanks for posting this, hawthorne. It was a great story and one I never would have found on my own.
posted by creepygirl at 9:30 PM on January 14


If you ever run into Cantonese "cake bread," give a loaf a shot. Initial monosaccharide hit followed by a disaccharide ride. Too bad no fibre, the ride doesn't last long. Better than white bread. The egg in it gives a little protein and smooths the comedown.

It's fluffy, so toasting at high tempt for short times for a crust gives it a bit of structure to hold fillings.
posted by porpoise at 10:03 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I'm going to buck the trend here and say categorically that the you are all wrong, the best toast comes from store brand, presliced white bread. Fresh out of the toaster set at a little beyond 3 but not quite halfway between 3 and 4. Toppings out of a nondescript can with black and white labels stating on the type of food, the amount and the ingredients. Who knows which food plant packed those things, if the labeller did they weren't saying.

If I'm feeling especially nostalgic and there's room in the freezer I'll stick the loaf in there for a few days to give it that right out of the chest freezer taste. Growing up near an auto-plant town in the mid to late 70's will damage you in some pretty peculiar ways, I'll admit.
posted by mcrandello at 10:33 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


You must read John Thorne's take on toast (click on 'Quintessential Toast'). He gets it. Really, really gets it.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:40 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Wow, so many comments on this thread before someone read the entire article. :)
At bottom, Carrelli says, Trouble is a tool for keeping her alive. “I’m trying to stay connected to the self,” she says. Like one of her old notebooks, the shop has become an externalized set of reference points, an index of Carrelli’s identity. It is her greatest source of dependable routine and her most powerful means of expanding her network of friends and acquaintances, which extends now to the shop’s entire clientele. These days, during a walking episode, Carrelli says, a hello from a casual acquaintance in some unfamiliar part of the city might make the difference between whether she makes it home that night or not. “I’m wearing the same outfit every day,” she says. “I take the same routes every day. I own Trouble Coffee so that people recognize my face—so they can help me.”
Good for her!
posted by zarq at 7:08 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I go to a place like this. It's a bubble tea place, next to a Chinese restaurant with a bubble tea counter, across the street from a bubble tea cafe, which is next to a froyo place that also serves bubble tea. I think it's safe to say that bubble tea is a local trend.
posted by subdee at 8:07 AM on January 15


Bubble tea has been a "trend" since about 1998. In fact I'd go so far as to say that, by this point, it's just a beverage.
posted by Sara C. at 9:58 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Note to self: next time in SF, visit the Trouble.

Next time in Brookly, laugh at the artisanal toast places. They're doing cargo cult artisanship.

Seriously, mad props to SF if they can cause a woman with serious mental problems to thrive instead of just survive. Way cool.
posted by ocschwar at 9:50 AM on January 16


Next time in Brookly, laugh at the artisanal toast places.

Are there actually any artisanal toast places in Brooklyn? The article implies that this is a trend that is going to spread nationwide, and there's a one-off mention of the West Village (which is very much not Brooklyn in terms of the NYC food scene), but I don't really see a reason to look down one's nose at a place that is completely unrelated to the matter at hand.

(FWIW I did just ask a Brooklyn friend of mine whether this is a thing in Brooklyn yet at all, and it turns out maybe one place is doing it? But it's a brunch place that conceivably already served toast the whole time. So????)
posted by Sara C. at 9:55 AM on January 16


I can think of a couple of places that are known for having great toast in Northern New England, but they have had it for a while, so I don't think it's part of a new trend sweeping the nation. Unless that trend is "food that doesn't suck," which if that is a new trend, I'm the trendiest trendfollower that ever trended a trend.
posted by Miko at 11:22 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I don't get the resistance to buying toast?
Sure, I make exquisite toast at home - and all you bread machine dissers need to use some strong flour and bread improver (vitamin c) to get super light and fluffy - but I can also make great coffee, superb bacon and eggs and plenty of other restaurant quality or better food.
But I still go to cafes and restaurants sometimes, don't you?
Are there really people who will only buy food they can't make?
posted by bystander at 5:53 PM on January 19


...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:54 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Are there really people who will only buy food they can't make?

I only buy food that I can't make
I only buy bread that I can't bake
I only buy grapes that I can't grow
I only love gals who can't say no

I only take trains I got no car
I only stay near I don't go far
I only go out round twelve at night
I only love gals who treat me right
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:54 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


troublecoffee.com is currently pending renewal or deletion - might one of trouble's customers be able to get in touch with them and convince them to renew instead of having domain squatters take the domain over?
posted by gusset at 2:46 AM on January 22


Bubble tea has been a "trend" since about 1998. In fact I'd go so far as to say that, by this point, it's just a beverage.

And yet almost impossible to find in huge swaths of Sacramento to many friends' dismay.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:58 AM on February 8


A song about toast and comfort in hard times: "Tea and Toast," by Lucy Spraggan.
posted by lauranesson at 9:24 AM on February 8


Due to that article, I've been craving toast for the last few weeks. So I ordered a loaf of pain de mie from my CSA, and last night I had toast for dinner, some just buttered, some with butter and cinnamon sugar. It was delicious; I ended up eating the first round even before my tea was ready.
posted by tavella at 11:15 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


« Older Doing the locomotion   |   We had some good years Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post