Mostly clear

Toast, the ultimate comfort food

When it comes to comfort foods, we all have our favorites, gleaned from childhood memories and moments of simple delicious pleasure that eclipsed some private or public difficulty and continue to resonate over the years.

For many people, the best comfort food in the world is a nibble of chocolate, either milk or bittersweet, depending on personal taste and early exposure. For others, it may be Kraft macaroni and cheese, a bowl of Cheerios with ice-cold milk or cold spaghetti eaten with your fingers by the light of the refrigerator.

For me, it's a toss-up between cold spaghetti — Bolognese, doused with plenty of Tabasco sauce — and toast.

Even the word itself, toast, is comforting. Why, exactly, toast is so deliciously comforting is hard to say. Do we remember it from convalescing after a childhood illness? Is it the evocative aroma effecting us viscerally? Is it, simply, that good? Perhaps it is a combination of all these reasons, along with other more personal triggers.

These days, toast is under attack, its simple pleasure eclipsed by all manner of nutritional warnings, trends and fads. Traditional breads have gluten, gluten is deadly to many individuals and even if we don't need to avoid gluten perhaps it's a good idea to eliminate grains entirely and adopt a Paleolithic diet, which excludes grains, legumes, dairy and sugar.

If you've managed to navigate all these pitfalls and find yourself still able to enjoy bread now and then, think of it during these final — and often stressful — days of the year.

French toast — along with homemade waffles and pancakes, and cinnamon coffee cake — are traditional indulgences on holiday mornings, especially Christmas morning, though you can enjoy this anytime, including for dinner on a cold night.

Cinnamon-Scented French Toast with Bacon

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