Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let Them eat Toast

Last week Food Writers and Critics were thrilled by the long-awaited launch of ‘Britain’s cheapest lunchtime meal’ – after aeons of in-depthest research by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), this can now be revealed as THE TOAST SANDWICH!

Here’s the recipe:
2 slices bread and butter
1 slice toast
salt and pepper to taste
Make sure toast slice in the middle

The amazing thing is that the recipe is not new!  It was created and published 150 years ago by Mrs Beeton  in her Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management – And here is her original version:

 Toast a thin slice of bread
 Butter two slices of bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
 Place the toast between the two slices of bread-and-butter to form  a sandwich

No margin for error there - you can see why her recipes were so successful. Personally, I swear by her Rice Pudding…

So, you may ask, just how cheap is this 'cheapest lunchtime meal'?  Well, the cost these days of the Toast Sandwich is estimated at 7.5p, and energy value at 330 calories.

If You can create a cheaper alternative, however, let the RSC know at once, because you might win a £200 prize!  (How much does a 3oz tatoe cost, I wonder)…  Although you'd spend a goodly dollop on cooking it, probably...

Various thrifty suggestions have been proposed to make the sandwich recipe even more appetising: why not add an egg; a sardine; a slice of courgette…?  say the chefs.

And mine own tasty addition... a dollop of tinned tomato (I love those), or three or four baked beans.  And an exciting smattering of paprika or nutmeg or basil?

The basic recipe could probably benefit from a tantalising Something after all – as highlighted by one of the comments received: "Well I just tried this and it was the most boring, tasteless sandwich I've ever eaten!"  Bit harsh...

I've been trying to remember what I used to eat in destitute bedsit days - Mothers Pride was certainly a favourite. But I could only dream of a toasting implement.  My brother apparently once made pepper soup (to boiling water, add ground black pepper).  Not only was it unsatisfying, he reported, but it tasted bloody awful.

Anyway, here is a Homage to Toast by (hell's teeth - he looks young!) Paul Young in 1978.  On what one can only assume is some strange children's tv emission.  Great hats, though


JW10 said...

Be quick and get the copyright sorted, Dolores. A toast sandwich with a dollop of tinned tomato should be called the Dolores Sandwich. My own added ingredient would be strawberry jam. As the toast is in the middle, both sides could be jammed. Yum-yum.

"Well I just tried this and it was the most boring, tasteless sandwich I've ever eaten!"
Harsh words indeed. But what would the taster think about the Toasted Bread Sandwich, that could be worse. Two slices of toast with one slice of bread as the filling.

I’ve never heard the “Toast” song before, thanks for that. Paul (very) Young before he was famous. I can use this slice of trivia to bamboozle friends who think they are pop masterminds. The children at the end of the video reminded me of the Generation Game as they kneaded the dough. “Didn’t they do well!”

Dolores Doolittle said...

Does one remove tomato before adding jam, JW?
My own favourite jam is mirabelle-plum, which is made in Vat-Loads by just about everyone we know in France. There's a danger it will envelop the world in its glutinous, quivering (yet tasty) mass.
So plenty for your innovative many-sided Toasted BREAD Sarny

Jon said...

Hecks becks! Bash me with a niblick and call me Clive: that's Paul Young singing that song, that is!

I love toast, but when I was really poor I used to buy bread and a little cheap tin of tomato purée. I would place one slice into a shallow bowl or a soup plate, spread with the purée (not too thickly, mind), sprinkle with a little sugar, and then lay over the second slice.

I'd souse the resulting sandwich with malt vineger and eat with a knife & fork. It was surprisingly satisfactory.

Expat said...

Who is Paul Young?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Jon - I was enjoying yur sandwich until you Sprinkled it with Sugar! Yuuurrrk! Without that, and with Balsamic vinegar, it sounds Irresistible, and I think you should claim your £200! It's certainly going to be on our lunchtime Pick of the Week!

Expat - Paul Young did a powerful yet mellow contribution to Live Aid 1984, but my favourite of his is 'Wherever I lay My Hat'. Or perhaps 'Every Time you go Away'. George & I saw him to a fabulous gig in Leeds soon after Live Aid - it involved climbing around scaffolding. On the stage. So not only an incredible voice, but very bendy too.

JW10 said...

Dolores, This blog is making me ravenous. And to stir the pot up a bit and have you drooling, I think I have found something more nourishing than the Toasted Bread Sandwich.

Cheese roll please, sorry I mean, Drum Roll please


It's the Toasted Fried Bread Sandwich.

Canary Islander said...

I think a chickpea sandwich might be even cheaper than a toast sandwich, provided you remove the chicken first.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Wow, JW! and d'you get a Mars Bar with that?

Dolores Doolittle said...

He hee hoh, CI. Even without the chicken, it's tempting. Perhaps improved by a dash of Worcester sauce...

Canary Islander said...

Toast on a bed of Beluga caviar, topped with Beluga caviar served on mother of pearl caviar spoons is yummy and is easily the most expensive lunch.

But for the past 15 years, I've been busy stockpiling tinned sardies so that I can survive the unfolding economic crisis.

My oldest tinned sardies will last until some day and month in 1999 years time.

Dolores Doolittle said...

I ADORE sardines, CI - can we pop round after the Nuclear Catastrophe (before or after the Economic one) please?

The Beluga is how I imagine you and Kathy revelling together. Never tasted it, but the very thought is tantalising!

Expat said...

This has to be a contender!!! "The Joy of Cooking," first published in 1931 and still going strong, has a recipe for "Milk Toast or Soup."

Toast lightly on both sides one slice of bread 3/4 inch thick.

Spread lightly with butter.

Sprinkle with salt.

Place in a bowl and pour one cup of hot milk over.

Dolores Doolittle said...

"The Joy of Cooking", Expat - just the name makes it a winner!

Grandma used to make us eat 'milk pobs', I think my mum referred tto them as - just drown the bread in milk. But This, with butter, salt, and the crunchiness of toastedness, sounds really edible!

Bilby said...

I was rather excited by this at first, Dolores, but not excited enough to dash immediately to the kitchen, and now the urge has disappeared.

The first thing that sprung to mind, my absolute favourite, is dripping on toast, but then it's not cheap if one has to buy a joint of beef beforehand. Does offal make good dripping?

I suppose porridge doesn’t count, being breakfast? However, it is cheap, tasty, comforting, nutritious, and will see you through, tummy glowing happily, to the next meal; plus it can be made energy-free in a hay box, with bonus points for extra roughage if any hay drops in unnoticed.

Thumbs up for Canary's sardines and Expat's Milk Toast (as a special treat one could add an egg, a hint of sugar, pop it in the hay box and ... voila ... Bread and Butter Pudding!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Good heavens, Bilby - there is so much to contemplate in your comment... For a start, what the hell's a Hay Box? Is it like a kennel for hay? I love porridge, specially with apricots, but I'm having trouble picturing it bubbling away in a box...

Even more trouble with the Milk Toast à la Expat&Bilby.

As for dripping, wouldn't the butcher happily give it away in vatloads?, hence making that a very cheap version of the sandwich. Sadly, completely revolting.

Bilby said...

Well, Dolores, I was completely captivated (as a child) by a book called "The Children who lived in a barn". They had been abandoned or orphaned, or something, and were a bit strapped for cash, hence the hay box.

I think it's a simple wooden box, filled with hay, which acts as an oven. I assume sunlight has something to do with it. Hard to believe, I know. In fact, it wasn't too clear a couple of years ago when I googled it. Fascinating though, don't you think? ;)

Disappointing that you didn't go for the deluxe version of Milk Toast, but you can't win 'em all.

Dolores, butchers give nothing away for free. Oh no, that's not true; ours do gratis chicken carcasses (and amazing meat, but sadly not free). You are right about the completely revolting dripping though, which is refined. Perfect toast dripping needs a dollop of meat juices ... heaven!

Bilby said...

Enjoy! ;)

Bilby said...

It's not live, is it? Perhaps that's the problem.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Thank you, Bilby - as George & I might be living in someone's barn soon, I have taken notes. Who needs a kitchen when you have a coolbox full of hay. (Although 'selfsufficientish' person doesn't 'alf go into deepest detail & I lost the thread a bit).

"Live"?! I've just spent half an hour rehoming a beetle found floundering in the kitchen - couldn't cope with live sandwich fillings. (think I may have misunderstood)

Expat said...

Ah...dripping! Ambrosia on toast with a light sprinkling of salt. It has to be home-made, though, with the meat juices that gel and settle in the bottom of the dripping bowl. Amazingly, I can buy fresh beef suet (which is what you need) really cheaply here in the USA at a local butcher and render it down with a bit of cheap beef for extra flavor. One needs to do this since American meat is trimmed of fat within a 1/4 inch of its life, so one can't "collect" the pan residue from the roast as easily. Beef dripping also makes the absolutely best fried bread. Alas, though, keeping the arteries open comes first, so dripping is a rarity in our household nowadays. Somehow, extra virgin olive oil on toast just doesn't have the same appeal.

Dolores Doolittle said...

I bet the birds Love your super-Improved dripping, Expat!- it sounds like a runny version of the grease blobs I hang for them in our maple tree. And they're forever clustered.

Bilby said...

I too found it overly technical, Dolores.

You shouldn't turn your nose up at beetles though; it's all good protein.

Bilby said...

Salivating here, Expat. We have beef dripping in the fridge from last Sunday ...

Dolores Doolittle said...

stop dribbling Bilby! as i've just recoundted on JW's, our internet phone provider SFR have cut us off two weeks too soon.
Popping into blogs will be intermittent till we find permanent tent on IOW. How I'll miss you !


Bilby said...

"Oh slurp and drat!" she says, wiping her delicate snout with her ears (sorry, it's a bilby thing).

Good luck and take care, both of you. I will miss you too!

Until we meet again ... xxx


Expat said...

Bilby, it's perfectly in order to 'squat' on D's blog in her absence and just chat away about any old thing. We (D, CI, JW and I) do it all the time and nobody minds.

BTW, I tried leaving a comment on your blog and couldn't. I will try again.

JW10 said...

Missing you already, Dolores. You will always be a star.

Best wishes to your good self and George.

Bilby said...

Jolly good, Expat! I won't have to go away and sulk then.

Sorry you can't commment. You can if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, but otherwise you have to sign up with Wordpress:

I joined Blogger because I had trouble posting on Dolores' site.

Please don't feel obliged to do so, if such things are as painful to you as they are to me (although, naturally, we would be delighted to see you). We don't do much there! :)

Bilby said...

By the way, Expat, blogging is bad for one's health. I toasted bread this morning, slathered it with beef dripping, a little ground pepper, a mere suggestion of rock salt and ... ATE it!

Unfortunately, I have no-one to blame but myself (I wish I could) as I suggested it for lunch, but couldn't wait that long.

(I deliberately said, "I toasted bread this morning", to hide the number of slices consumed.)

Expat said...

Bilby, I don't tweet, but I do FB since I have family scattered all over the world. However, I have this strong objection to being forced to join anything or disclose personal info in order to comment on a blog. It's the curmudgeon in me, if women can be curmudgeonly. So, I shall be content with enjoying your company on Dolores' blog...and envying your dripping bowl.

Expat said...

And talking about dripping toast for about that other piece of breakfast heaven, the dripping cake? I have such fond memories of "Townsends the Bakers," as we called our local establishment, and getting there early on a weekend morning for warm dripping cakes fresh from the oven.

Bilby said...

No worries, Expat! I'm not much of a joiner myself. :)

Dripping cakes? Really? For breakfast? Never heard of them. Please provide recipe ... IMMEDIATELY!! :)

Bilby said...

Is suddenly came to me, in a blinding revelation: are we talking 'lardy cakes' here, Expat?

Expat said...

Kinda...definitely similar but not totally. Google tells me that dripping cakes are a Gloucestershire/Wiltshire thing. To my amazement, I found blogs where MY Townshend the Baker was feted! Recipes vary wildy. I did look so I could provide one. You will need to take a trip to my home town of Cheltenham (perhaps for the Lit Festival?)and taste for yourself.

Bilby said...

I had a quick look and think I saw a reference to your excellent baker, Expat. It's confusing googling anything actually! One person's opinion is as good as another, if one is seeking knowledge from a position of absolute ignorance!

Yes, many recipes, much reminiscence, nostalgia and even gentle arguments about the quality, appearance and essence of the much loved dripping cake. Rather nice and quite touching.

If I find myself in Cheltenham I will definitely head for the nearest baker. :)

Karen said...

It was always stork margarine and bramble jam on toast for us growing up - bread toasted on a long fork over the fire on one side only!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Karen! Stork & bramble jam sounds exquisite.

Thank you for your comment - it was a delightful surprise after seven pitiful months of non-blogging (I like to blame unfortunate house-move but that's a feeble excuse).

I see that you have a splendid & inspirational blog & I'll be delving with enormous joy!