Monday, January 18, 2010

Recipes: 1

For some reason, University of Texas students seem to have a tough time of it.

I knew two guys who fought like hell to move out of the dorms, got their own place, then realized they'd bitten off more than they could chew; in order to balance their budget for the semester, they had to pretty much eliminate their food budget.

They did so by surviving on nothing but macaroni and cheese (generic, four boxes for a buck) for most of the semester -- rather stoically, I thought. I say most of the semester because they didn't quite make it; they wound up hospitalized with scurvy and general malnutrition around the beginning of May, and wound up punting their final exams. Some say they wouldn't have lasted that long, but for the nutrition inherent in beer.

Another fellow I knew -- a UT student -- got himself into a similar situation, but being smarter than that, he bound himself into consumption of variations on a single foodstuff, thus rounding out his nutritional needs. The single foodstuff was toast -- fried toast, garlic toast, roast toast, cheese toast, toast crouton salad, tuna melt on toast, open-face bacon and cheese on toast, chocolate toast, toast a la mode... (I'm told his vitamin C and D came from pills and sunshine...)

It got pretty big. His off-campus digs became known among his friends and neighbors as "Toast Terrace", and at one time hosted a rather odd internet bulletin board which carried, among other things, some rather odd toast recipes. He and his equally broke friends would get together and hold toast parties, compete as to who could best wax lyrical about toast, sing toast chanteys, and of course, drink toasts to each other's health. Altogether, this guy knew (and probably invented) more ways to make toast than most people could imagine, and he could probably write a book on nothing else but.

Anyway, this recipe I got from him. I got a reputation among my roommates as a terrific guy because of this stuff; they'd wake up in the morning and find this amazing breakfast laid out and waiting for them. Truth to tell, I like the stuff, it's quick, cheap, and simple, and it's about as easy to make a lot as it is to make a little.

1 quart fresh strawberries

1 pint whipping cream or 1 tub Cool Whip

1/4 cup sugar

butter or margarine

8 - 12 slices whole wheat bread (it works with white bread, too, but this apparently violated some sort of taboo at Toast Terrace; I was told that the last unworthy one who had served the Strawberry Toast on Wonder Bread had been flung off the balcony into the pool as a sacrifice to the Mighty Spirit Of The Heating Element)

eggbeater or blender

skillet or toaster


OPTIONAL: banana, sliced into little discs

Clean, dry, and mash the berries in the bowl with the eggbeater, or reduce them to a pulp in the blender. Gradually add about 1/4 cup of sugar and the whipping cream to the mix (if you're using Cool Whip, forget the sugar unless you're really in need of a sugar rush). You should eventually wind up with a pinkish whipped cream substance with chunks of strawberry embedded in it. Put this in the fridge.

Heat up the skillet, toss in a pat of butter, and fry a slice of bread on one side; when it's ready, scoop it out, add another pat of butter, and do the other side. Do this until you run out of bread. You can also just toast the bread normally, if you want to be quick about it. Top each slice of bread with a couple of spoonfuls of berry mixture and serve. Toss on a few banana slices if you want.
This stuff is best when the whipped mix is cold and the toast is still hot. It also works well with all kinds of berries, and even peaches and applesauce. The Toast Terrace mob tended to take things a little too far, however, and I don't recommend the watermelon, Rumplemintz, or Hershey's Chocolate Syrup variations...

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