In the dark, short days of winter, after resolutions have been made and often broken, comfort food beckons. For me, it evokes the aroma of toast.
Forged by enormous loaves of white bread, this connection was marketed to thrifty families with ravenous children like us. The simple breakfast toast habit morphed into appetites for restaurant bread baskets and carbs of all kinds. Fortunately, my tastes, and more notably my values concerning food, evolved.
I was raised on frozen vegetables and soup from a can, but ten years after the emergence of the hippie movement, “real” food became tantalizing. The California Lifestyle, another stroke of marketing genius, was equated with good health and healthy eating. Granola was sexy; vegetable gardening was cool.
A college diner lured us from meaty institutional food toward good coffee and sweet rolls; however, it was the odd offering of avocado sprout sandwiches on whole grain that kept us coming back. The hearty bread would have been familiar to our parents’ generation – but that a California avocado made its way onto the menu in a New Hampshire hole-in-the-wall was, in retrospect, unusual.
Twenty years before the ’90’s debut of avocado toast at a New York City French Moroccan cafe, we were noshing on something substantially the same, but served over a formica counter at Lou’s.
We began eating avocados in earnest while road-tripping through the self-proclaimed Avocado Capital of the World. Already hooked by our experience at Lou’s, we lined a collection of the bumpy fruits on our dashboard, and made our favorite sandwich any time one ripened – or ate them plain.
I missed the avocado toast trend by decades, yet when I finally tasted it, its appeal was clear.
Uncomplicated and fresh, its simplicity evokes recipes for good living. Avocado toast speaks to my past, but tastes modern.
My comfort food for a new year: still toast, but with a green profile all its own. (c)