You take two slices of bread out of the loaf, put them in the toaster, wait until they pop up, then spread butter and/or jam on each slice.
Done deal, right?
Wait just a minute.... That’s not how Raquel Pelzel does it. The food writer (Saveur is on her resumé) and a former editor at the estimable Cook’s Illustrated magazine takes toasted bread to the next level and far beyond in “Toast: The Cookbook” (Phaidon Press, $25, 120 pages).
On tour inside the book we find 50 recipes for savory and sweet toasts, organized by the four seasons. Winter recipes offer toasts topped with roasted beets, saffron, honey, lentil-bacon-cabbage, cranberries, lemongrass, kiwi, spiced lobster and much more. And just think: There are three more seasons to go.
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Pelzel’s sidebars cover bread basics (buying, slicing and storing), types of bread to use (her favorite is rustic country-style) and methods of toasting (grilled, pan-fried, broiled and crisped in a toaster oven). There’s even a recipe for patty melt, involving rye bread, 1 teaspoon of toasted caraway seeds and Gruyere cheese, of course.