bread as a staple food, what does such a diet look like?
June 9, 2019 11:24 PM   Subscribe

It turns out that I enjoy making bread, and since I can write off the labor as entertainment, home-made whole-wheat bread enriched with canola oil is an incredibly cheap way to get carbs, protein, fiber, and fat. The only problem is, I'm not from a culture that eats bread (at all) and I have no idea how one does it. Can the bread-eaters of MeFi describe how they incorporate bread into their meals?

The most successful thing I've tried so far is making a soup or stew and ladling it over a slice of bread. Pretty much everything I've tried works well with this, from chili to miso to split pea. Also, milk works well, cold or hot, like a Weetabix but a slice of bread instead.

Less successful has been making sandwiches. The sandwiches are fine, and convenient for lunch because they can often be carried and eaten at room temperature without utensils. Unfortunately, I have to research my recipes carefully when making them to eat in public. E.g., peanut butter and jelly is fine, and cheese and pickle is fine, but peanut butter and cheese makes people say that I've done something "wrong" and "disgusting", and insist that I not eat it.

I've also tried eating some other food, but not enough for a meal, and then separately eating bread until I was full. It works, but feels a bit Dickensian and I suspect I'd get bored of bread if I did that often.

I'm primarily interested in convenient recipes for everyday meals. E.g., I've seen one recipe that wanted me to bake the loaf at low temperature for hours and then pulverise it with a mortar and pestle. The resulting soup was fine, but not nearly worth the trouble.
posted by meaty shoe puppet to Food & Drink (62 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
If you want bread that's in the meal, classic dishes include bread pudding, French toast, French onion soup, and garlic bread. Dried bread makes croutons and breadcrumbs.

Also, put anything you want on your sandwiches!
posted by zompist at 11:42 PM on June 9, 2019 [9 favorites]

Cheese + toast (3 ways):
- (USA) grilled cheese. Make a cheese sandwich, fry it in a frying pan.
- (UK) cheese on toast. Grill one side of bread. Top other side with cheese and any other toppings you like. Tomato is common. Grill again til melty.
- (Nordic countries) literally just slices of cheese on buttered toast. Often accessorised with marmalade.

All good for a reasonable lunch or breakfast by themselves, or good accompaniments to soup etc.

Also, there is a whole universe of breads out there which can perform different functions!. Try some new breads to accompany different meals; pitta, focaccia, chapati, bread rolls, milk loaves...
posted by Balthamos at 11:50 PM on June 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

people say that I've done something "wrong" and "disgusting", and insist that I not eat it.

Wait why do other people get to vote on (or "insist" even) what goes in your sandwiches? Why do other people even know what goes in your sandwiches? The bread should keep the other ingredients secret!

I've totally had peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. Also, on special occasions, peanut butter and pop rocks.
posted by aubilenon at 11:55 PM on June 9, 2019 [47 favorites]

Oh and I should add: Bread is great for breakfasty stuff. Fry an egg, and put it on your toast. Or cut out the middle man, such as it were, and make toad in the hole. French toast is also great, though more work.
posted by aubilenon at 11:57 PM on June 9, 2019 [9 favorites]

Don't neglect the toast food group. For example peanut butter on toast with honey is very nice.

Garlic bread is good too: bread which has been spread with a garlic butter mixture on one side, then covered in shredded cheese and placed in an oven until the cheese melts. In the U.S. this is often eaten as an accompaniment to Italian-American foods such as pasta.

Simple bread and butter can be paired with almost anything.

One application that's similar to what you're already doing, again common in the U.S., is the "bread bowl" in which a large round bun is hollowed out and filled with a thick soup or stew such as chili or clam chowder or another creamy soup.
posted by XMLicious at 11:57 PM on June 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

* Toast! Served with spreads like peanut butter, peanut butter + jam, margarine (or butter, if you eat dairy) with Vegemite or marmite, or with avocado. For something a bit more filling, toast with baked beans is good. This is usually a breakfast thing, if I want to make it more filling I put a salad on the side with any of the savoury toast toppings (I would not have peanut butter + jam with a side salad).

* Served with soup or curry.

* Garlic bread served as a side with an Italian meal.

* Stale bread could be turned into bread and butter pudding or croutons or something.

Honestly, though, probably don't eat bread more than once or twice a day. It's not a bad source of calories but don't overdo it. You need variety in your diet.

If you have too much bread to use, slice it and then freeze it. It will toast just fine from frozen in a toaster.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 12:00 AM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

peanut butter and cheese makes people say that I've done something "wrong" and "disgusting", and insist that I not eat it

I'm from a culture where people who insist I'm doing my own sandwiches wrong can be told "I hear what you say and I'll take that on board" or "bless your heart" or "oh fuck off" depending which code I need to switch to. In any case, I will then go on to eat my own damn sandwich.

Try a Vietnamese pork roll! So good. Prep is a bit fiddly unless you make the complicated bits in bulk though.

If you've been enjoying bread with soup or stew, try toasting the bread on one side under the grill, then turning it over and toasting the other side with some cheese on until the cheese goes all bubbly.

For breakfast, you can't go wrong with a good thick slice of home baked wholemeal bread, toasted to perfection, then heavily buttered and topped with a decent St Clement's marmalade. Or if that's too fiddly and you're feeling a bit millennial today, smashed avocado on toast.

If you've baked crusty bread rolls, the best garlic bread is made by cutting deep slits that almost but not quite separate the rolls into 2cm thick slices, stuffing pickled crushed garlic and maybe a little oregano blended with plenty of butter into each of the slits, then wrapping the whole thing in foil and baking it again until the butter's all melted.
posted by flabdablet at 12:06 AM on June 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

I am a cultural bread eater but at home growing up bread was only for soups and sandwiches, as you've described. HOWEVER, last year I lived with someone who just... served bread and cheese with literally every dinner, as a side course. Sometimes it was bread and honey with salt instead. It was the most decadent dining lifestyle I have ever lived: wine, bread with cheese, and then whatever else we were eating. Usually we sliced up a baguette but sometimes we'd just tear handfuls off a homemade or fancy loaf.

Mezze are really good with bread-- traditionally pita etc, obviously, but that's not required, the whole wheat bread you're describing sounds like it'd be good with some babaghanoush or muhammara.

I had another roommate who introduced me to bowls full of greek yogurt, honey, and fruit preserves and I did discover that if you dipped lightly toasted bread into this, it was very tasty. This is maybe not one I would do in public.

(as someone literally, currently reading this question as i have a fun midnight Bread Snack, i do feel a bit like a dickensian orphan, but in a good way)
posted by peppercorn at 12:08 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

the whole wheat bread you're describing sounds like it'd be good with some babaghanoush or muhammara

or hommous or tzatziki or beetroot dip or guacamole or pretty much any leftover vegetable dish you're trying to get rid of blitzed up with maybe a bit of cream cheese to hold it together.

Dips ftw!
posted by flabdablet at 12:17 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've also tried eating some other food, but not enough for a meal, and then separately eating bread until I was full.

I love this description, because it's like an anthropologist observing my habits and describing them perfectly accurately, in a way I would never think to describe them. I don't just add bread to any meal, though. It has to complement rather than duplicate what I'm eating. So bread with salad, yes; bread with pasta, no.

Egg toast and avocado toast have already been mentioned, but they can't be mentioned too many times.
posted by aws17576 at 12:19 AM on June 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

As a Brit, I am going to post a quick link to John Montagu the 4th Earl of Sandwich - he fulfilled a large number of high profile roles during his life in the 1700s: usually incompetently or corruptly. The story goes (and it his story - so - a grain of salt) that he wanted some kind of quick food that would not divert him from the lengthy sessions at the gambling table that he liked to take part in. The original sandwich would have been filled with salt beef and made to a recipe like this. Still pretty tasty.

Of course, people had been using pita bread as a container for food long before this in Greece, India, the Middle East etc.
posted by rongorongo at 12:27 AM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Scandinavian-style open faced sandwiches (Danish: smørrebrød, Swedish: smörgåson) are a great way to have variety both within a meal and day-to-day. You start with a hearty, dense, dark rye bread that's been thinly sliced and then top it with whatever your imagination can conjure. Some good toppings are salmon, little shrimps, pickled herring, liver pâté, boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, various cheeses, tomatoes, beets, pickles, and all kinds of other things. Here's a blog with a bunch of ideas. Look up recipes for rugbrød if you want to make the bread at home.

The best is to have a combination of something savory with something sour or tart. Chicken liver pate with a little sour cherry preserve on top is a personal favorite. Bleu cheese, apple, and bacon is another good combo.
posted by theory at 12:44 AM on June 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Ctrl+F Nutella... not found?!?!

You *have* to try any and all chocolate/sugary spreads on fresh, homemade bread.
posted by gakiko at 12:45 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

I tend to use bread as a food delivery vehicle. I don’t care what other people think. If I like it together with bread I’m happy to shovel it either on top of a single slice (I’m in Europe) or doing the double bread thing (because I’m American). I’m lazy so I don’t tend to do grilled sandwiches but they are super tasty. As mentioned above, I also use stale bread for bread pudding and dressing. I don’t eat a lot of bread overall. Home-baked bread is the best, tho. Enjoy!
posted by Bella Donna at 12:54 AM on June 10, 2019

Hi! I'm from a country where bread is commonly eaten for breakfast and lunch.

For breakfast, we often eat open face sandwhiches (what a convoluted way to describe a slice of bread with something on it!) spread with butter and then covered with, for example: jam, thick syrup, chocolate sprinkles (YES), peanut butter, cheese, sliced up meaty things like ham and sausage... lots of options. Meat, peanut butter or cheese are sometimes combined with tomato or cucumber. Sweet toppings can be combined with fruit such as sliced apple or banana. But most of the time we don't bother.
Personally I like peanut butter + cucumber + a smear of sambal (a condiment made from hot peppers).

For lunch, it's pretty similar, but with less sweet and more savoury, although sweet stuff is not off the table. There may be soup or a salad, as an extra, but generally bread is the biggest part of the meal. If you're making a lunch that you are eating at work, you can make sandwiches or rolls/buns. Many people like a savoury filling (cheese, meat, fried egg) combined with a vegetable garnish (tomato, bell peppers, cucumber, lettuce).

We don't typically eat bread with dinner, at least not traditionally; except when dinner is soup. Our traditional dinner cuisine is heavily based on potatoes. But when we're having food from other cuisines, such as French, Greek or Italian, bread may very well make an appearance as a side. It'll usually be a fluffier bread like baguette or ciabatta.

The Dutch word for a slice of bread with or without something on it is 'Boterham'. Yes, that word comes from 'butter+ham'. Throw it into an image search engine of your choice and you should get a good visual impression of what Dutch bread-based meals look like.

And please don't let anyone tell you what should or should not be on your sandwich. It's none of their business.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:12 AM on June 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

One traditional Italian way of using up stale dry bread is panzanella, a sort of bread and tomato salad.

Don’t believe the people who tell you you have put the wrong thing in your sandwiches. As long as the sandwich is not so wet that it collapses, you’re doing fine. The whole point of sandwiches is that they are a neutral base you can make into anything you like. I wouldn’t personally eat peanut butter and cheese because I don’t like peanut butter, but it doesn’t sound outlandish to me.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:16 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

Peanut butter and cheese to me sounds really gross, but I would never tell someone enjoying it so. I personally like weird English-indian relishes on cheese with Vegemite and random crunchy vegetables and other people in my house have informed me I am off my rocker as I eat my piled high monstrosities with delight.

Really good jam is a treat. The kind made with big fat fruit or where the rind of the marmalade oranges is still seen. Creamed honey or single-flower origin honey swirled over salted butter. You can keep it very simple if you get intense flavours.

Have you got a great bread knife? That makes such a difference in getting thin good sandwich slices. And oh a bread roll with the pointy corners, sliced open and stuffed with deli meats and crunchy veg and some kind of paste is SO GOOD as a portable snack. Just wrap it in a tea-towel and you have a happy pocket lunch.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 1:23 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Classic British light supper dishes: fried mushrooms on toast, scrambled egg on toast, baked beans on toast, welsh rarebit (fancy cheese on toast), scotch woodcock (scrambled egg with anchovy on toast).

Bruschetta is basically tomato salad on toast.

Dippy egg and soldiers! Soft boil an egg, cut the top off, and dip pieces of toast in the egg.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:31 AM on June 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

Pate and caramelised onions spread on bread or toast.

Nthing Nutella, Biscoff, other sweet spreads - there is an Italian pistachio spread in this vein which is great. I've not tried adding sprinkles, but this is common in some areas.

Toast + runny egg yolks. Either putting a fried egg on the toast and popping the yolk, or a softboiled egg with "toast soldiers".
posted by Gordafarin at 2:07 AM on June 10, 2019

Really good jam is a treat

OHHH yes. A steaming chunk of crusty home baked wholemeal bread torn off a loaf that's just come from the oven, fig and ginger jam, whipped cream.

Not really a meal as such. Well not a sustainable meal at any rate.
posted by flabdablet at 2:13 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Bread is the most glorious when you make a cold spaghetti sandwich. With margarine. You may have inspired me to make this asap. Also try it with yakisoba, I bet that’d be great too. Don’t let anyone @ you about carbs.
Also: lie about your sandwich fillings if necessary, and/or avoid nosy sandwich people.
posted by sacchan at 2:25 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like Strata (a kind of egg / bread / cheese casserole) for using up older bread and leftover veg, meat, etc. You can make it with pretty much any ingredients that appeal to you, and there are a lot of recipes online to give you ideas.

While most Strata recipes call it a breakfast or brunch dish, I usually make it for supper, served with salad.
posted by taz at 2:46 AM on June 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

peanut butter and cheese makes people say that I've done something "wrong" and "disgusting", and insist that I not eat it.

Then let me introduce you to the weird combination that is peanut butter on one slice, mustard on the other, and a slice of balogna in between, which sounds weird, but tastes pretty darned good. I've also eaten peanut butter and cheese, no harm done there.

While you're at it, you can make an Elvis sandwich.

You can use stale bread to thicken white gazpacho, or to use as toasted croutons for red gazpacho.

Bread crumbs are also good in meatloaf, especially if you soak them in a little milk first. I sometimes add them to my kafta mix.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:12 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Suprised no one has mentioned hamburgers and hotdogs. So much better with homemade buns and rolls.
posted by night_train at 4:35 AM on June 10, 2019

Peanut butter and cheese is interesting, but I'd be amused if told, and inquire what kind of cheese works well. Not like people ought to be examining or discussing your lunch in any regard. (And try peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, or peanut butter and pickles, they're yummy!)

And my "weird" sandwich as a kid = bread + leftover macaroni & cheese. Never get it as an adult... with four kids, there never IS any leftover mac & cheese!
posted by stormyteal at 4:36 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

This lentil loaf from Oh She Glows makes great sandwiches. I skip the glaze and use barbecue sauce. Ketchup would work too.

Pretty much any vegetable works for sandwiches. Add ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce. I really love the veggie sandwich in this video.

People my parents’ age who grew up during the Depression ate lots of sandwiches that seem weird now. I knew people who grew up eating ketchup or bean sandwiches. My grandmother, who grew up in dire poverty, made sandwiches with canned pineapple or peaches. People who criticize your sandwiches should be cheerfully ignored. (I eat bean sandwiches now, but I mash the beans up with spices.).
posted by FencingGal at 4:38 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

dorothyisunderwood's comment reminded me that I was just extolling the virtues of Marmite + hummus as a sandwich filling the other day. It tastes almost like cheese, and I ate it a lot while I was vegan.

On the subject of cheese: fondue! The bread used should be slightly dried out, and cut into chunks of one inch or a bit less, each with crust on one side. You push the fork through the soft part of the bread chunk and embed it in the crust, so there are no points coming out that would scratch the fondue bowl.

French toast has been mentioned, and you can also top that with whatever you like. In our house when I was a kid, the options were sugar, salt and Marmite, but I'm sure jam would work too.

If you want more entertaining bread recipes, you might try bagels (which are boiled before baking) or Zopf/Challah (the Swiss and Jewish versions, respectively, of a plaited loaf containing milk). You can also wrap foods in bread before baking: things I've tried have been cheese and grated carrots + celery.
posted by daisyk at 4:39 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I forgot: nut roast usually contains breadcrumbs, too. Here's my favourite recipe.
posted by daisyk at 4:44 AM on June 10, 2019

Oh my favourite. Naan bread with Indian Curry.
posted by night_train at 4:46 AM on June 10, 2019

My dad is from a culture that uses bread as a food group, and he was the family cook. Bread and a green salad with vinaigrette at literally every single meal.

One thing not mentioned above yet is that bread is amazing for drippings. If you pan fry something with butter (like a steak or piece of salmon or eggs), put a piece of (possibly buttered) bread on the plate you're going to serve the meat/fish on and then lay the hot food right on top of the piece of bread. After you eat the hot food, you get to eat the bread, maybe with a fork and knife because it's so filled with drippings. This is especially nice with fried eggs that are a bit runny, because then all the broken yolk goes into the bread.

If you're cooking something a different way, then whenever you finish eating it, wipe up all the drippings from your plate and maybe the serving plate and maybe even the pan with a piece of (again, possibly buttered) bread. Wiping up the drippings isn't just for meat/fish-based meals, though. One of my favorites is eating a full English breakfast and then sopping up all the "stuff" left behind from the fried tomatoes and the egg yolk. And of course when you eat soup, you can wipe drippings from the empty soup bowl (yum).

Also, what you're doing with the bread when you finish your main course but then finish filling up on bread is basically the cheese course without the cheese. So just add cheese! If you use a stinky cheese, then butter the bread before putting it on. If you're using a very plain one (like mozzarella), I prefer to heat either the cheese or the bread before I put one on top of the other, but that's maybe just me.

If you have leftover bread you want to use up, then make it sweet. French toast and bread pudding are the classics. But a favorite of mine is a slice of bread with butter and covered in cinnamon and sugar. I think in Australia they maybe do the same, but use sprinkles instead of cinnamon and sugar?
posted by rue72 at 5:00 AM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also came in to recommend a strata - they freeze well so you can cut them into squares, freeze, then take out a single serving as needed. I don’t even heat them up just let them thaw at room temp for a while.
posted by lyssabee at 5:01 AM on June 10, 2019

I'm fond of making English muffins (here's the loaf pan version) because I can eat them for breakfast (toasted, with butter/peanut butter), use them to make open-faced grilled cheese or a soup side at lunch, or dress them up as tiny pizzas as a quick dinner for the kids.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:14 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Like you, I love baking bread, and maybe I bake too much sometimes, so I spend a lot of time researching what to do with it. It does depend on the bread, though.

We have bread with every meal. Sometimes I'll serve only bread, as a replacement for other starches. For instance if I make a coq au riesling, or an oxtail stew.

I'm Danish, so I'm used to smørrebrød, but I'm not that good at baking the good whole grain rye bread needed for many of the sandwiches. However, there are some smørrebrød where either wheat bread or semi-rye bread is the tradition. These include strong (aged) cheese: you can use wheat or semi-rye, or semi rye with caraway. Serve the aged cheese with fat from pork, raw onion, meat jelly and a spoonful of aged rum. Shrimp and salmon are served on wheat bread or semi-rye with caraway, with butter and mayo. Rullepølse is also served on wheat bread with butter, meat jelly, raw onion and cress (not in the linked post, but all over Denmark).

Something we've had a lot at home is the pa amb tomàquet from Catalonia. The linked recipe is delicious, but at home, and in Catalonia, we often just rub the toast with first garlic, and then a half tomato, and then serve it with olive oil and salt to taste. This is best with a hearty sour dough, but works with any bread.

Crostini are traditionally Tuscan appetizers. You can have them with any topping you can think of. Tuscan bread has little or no salt, so often the toppings are savory.

I love tramezzini. They are traditionally made with a basic sandwich loaf cut in thin slices, like the English sandwiches, but I make them with what I have.

For a while, I've been experimenting with baguettes, which don't keep very well. But you can use them for banh mi, and then they become a delicious meal.

My kids love grilled aubergine sandwiches, with mayo, ripe tomatoes, raw onion, coriander and maybe a bit of chili oil or sriracha. And I can't believe there hasn't been a BLT mentioned here yet: Bacon, Tomato and Lettuce with mayo, on toast. I prefer my peanut butter with a slice of apple, for crunch.
When Americans have elections, we celebrate at home by making American sandwiches. Tuna melt is the all time favorite that we sometimes also do outside election time.
posted by mumimor at 5:32 AM on June 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I added bread into my diet about a year ago, after never eating it as an adult. I get a loaf every week or so from my local bakery. I use it to make toast every day with either (1) cream cheese and smoked salmon or (2) butter and sliced avocado on top for breakfast. For lunch or dinner I will sometimes (1) pile roasted veggies on a slice covered with Dijon mustard and top the veggies with cheese, pop under broiler; (2) make a tuna melt; (3) toast it and top with homemade pasta sauce. Sometimes towards the end of the week I will slice up the remainder and make homemade croutons for salads.
posted by sockermom at 5:35 AM on June 10, 2019

E.g., I've seen one recipe that wanted me to bake the loaf at low temperature for hours and then pulverise it with a mortar and pestle. The resulting soup was fine, but not nearly worth the trouble.

This recipe was wrongly advising you to do things the hard way. I'd be willing to bet that the dish it's based on was originally created by someone to use up leftover, dried out old bread. So many great bread-based dishes (bread puddings, stuffings, croutons, panzanella, anything that uses breadcrumbs as a binder, batter component, or crust) are like that: they take into account the lifecycle of a loaf, the way that you might eat a ripe banana, but bake with an overripe one. Many of them are designed to take advantage of the fact that, as it dries out, bread becomes ready to absorb whatever flavorful liquid you soak it in, and give it structure.
posted by pykrete jungle at 6:02 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

Here are some more grilled sandwich favorites:
  • A Reuben features corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, usually on rye or pumpernickel but good on other bread too. Rachels use turkey instead.
  • A Cuban has ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and lots of mustard. Some people add in tomatoes and lettuce.
  • A Croque Monsieur is ham, Gruyere (or any good melty cheese) and mustard dipped in an egg/milk mixture and fried a la French toast (the Croque Madame has turkey). A Monte Christo is the same sandwich but covered in a bechemel or hollandaise sauce instead.

  • Club sandwiches are often triple deckers, but are BLTs plus a meat (usually ham, turkey or roast beef) and cheese (usually Swiss or cheddar).
  • Brie and cranberry and turkey is wonderful.
  • Try peanut butter and marmalade.
  • Almond and cashew butter are also delicious.

    Mmmm... sandwiches!

  • posted by carmicha at 6:04 AM on June 10, 2019

    So many good ways with good bread but don't take the one man's argument totally, it certainly can be utterly gross, my psychologically training sister, bless her heart, dredged up ancient early childhood memories of my "grey bread balls" basically rolled up wonder bread, very chewy, and yes totally disgusting in retrospect. Try every recipe first but go for it if desperate.

    Anyway, get a really good toaster, carefully burnt bread is just the best, between a crock of salty onion soup and melted burnt Emmental cheese utterly divine!
    posted by sammyo at 6:21 AM on June 10, 2019

    sacchan: Bread is the most glorious when you make a cold spaghetti sandwich. With margarine.

    There you go, OP, you can tell folks who laugh at your PB&Cheese sandwich all about this and thus turn a rude person into someone who is in awe of your knowledge of esoteric sandwich habits!
    posted by MiraK at 6:39 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

    As a very inveterate bread-eater, I just wanted to note that Dickensian as it may feel, I definitely come from a family where people would just eat a slice of bread for a snack with no butter or anything on it. It may grow on you. (But there's lots of other great things to eat on bread, so go do that!)

    The way you describe eating one meal and then bread separately makes me think that you haven't tried eating bread and a completely separate dish at the same time. Often in the US you will have your dinner plate and then also a smaller bread plate at your seat. A loaf of bread or basket of rolls will be in the center of the table, along with some butter or oil maybe. You are served dinner (say, some roast chicken and vegetables) on your main plate and help yourself to pieces of bread, which go on your bread plate. You more or less alternate bites of bread and your other food. This might feel less Dickensian to you but is essentially the same thing.
    posted by branca at 6:57 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

    posted by ericales at 7:01 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

    I like to toast my bread then spread it with goat cheese
    posted by azalea_chant at 7:04 AM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

    A fairly versatile place to start is French Toast/pain perdu, which is fundamentally bread dipped in eggs and milk, then cooked on a skillet.

    Most American recipes will have this be sweet, with sugar and cinnamon and other similar spices typical. But you can absolutely keep it savory and serve with fresh herbs and hot sauce, for example.
    posted by thegears at 7:14 AM on June 10, 2019

    I'm very fond of savory strata/bread pudding kinds of things -- one I particularly like is John Thorne's Bread and Cheese Pudding, really wonderful on a chilly evening. This page gives a sort of master recipe with some ideas for variations.
    posted by Kat Allison at 7:17 AM on June 10, 2019

    The best thing about sandwiches and toast is you can make them however you want. Don’t worry about people judging your sandwich choices - there’s no way to do it wrong. My current favorite combination is toasting the bread, buttering it, and spreading Greek yogurt on it with some salt, pepper, and honey. Another classic sandwich is a BLT: bacon, lettuce, and tomato (I usually put both mustard and mayonnaise on the bread first and toast the bread). My mom loves a sandwich with just cream cheese and sliced green olives with pimentos inside. My grandmother used to make us potato chip sandwiches (and I still sometimes will add a few potato chips inside a sandwich for some crunch). Later in the summer, when tomatoes are in season in the east coast of the US, I love thick sliced bread with good mayonnaise, tomatoes, and lots of salt and pepper.

    Many people incorporate bread into a meal by putting it on the table sliced with some butter (bread and butter). When I was growing up, our dinner was always a meat (usually chicken breasts or pork chops), a vegetable (a salad, roasted asparagus, baked potatoes, etc) and a basket of bread with butter.

    Some people do find that bread makes them put on weight more easily than its calorie content would suggest, but you might not have any concerns for that. It’s definitely something I have to watch.
    posted by sallybrown at 7:32 AM on June 10, 2019

    I found a recipe for a dish called mazalice - bread with a layer of ground meat smeared on, then lightly fried or baked - when looking for something Croatian* to bring to watch last year's men's World Cup. It ended up being amazing and we still make it for casual meals.

    300 g of ground meat
    1 egg
    3 garlic cloves
    1 Tablespoon of spices
    Sliced bread

    Combine ground meat, spices, chopped garlic, and egg. Mix well. Spread a thin layer on one side of the bread slice, and cook meat-side-down on a lightly oiled skillet until browned. Flip slice to toast the other side. Remove from pan, and add shredded cheese if you like.

    *The only Croatian person I know here in the States had no idea what mazalice was, so maybe it's not even a thing. Still tasty!
    posted by Drosera at 7:52 AM on June 10, 2019

    Not just butter, but really good butter. Kerrygold or whatever your local equivalent is; or if you happen to be in Texas, Falfurrias; or elsewhere, I think Tillamook and Cabot both make butter? Plugra is another good European butter.

    Get unsalted, then after you spread it on your bread, sprinkle with your favorite salt -- I like sea salt but if you want to be really decadent, fleur de sal or Maldon flakes are divine.
    posted by fiercecupcake at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

    I sometimes just eat bread + spaghetti sauce as a dip; basically like a very lazy meatball sub.

    I'll also make fancy croutons by chopping up slightly stale bread then tossing in olive oil and baking at 400 for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then toss with a bit of salt and whatever dried herbs you feel like. Great for soups and salads.
    posted by ghost phoneme at 8:09 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

    Inspired by your ask, I started baking, and was reminded of several sandwiches and other stuff I haven't seen mentioned here yet.
    Two English classics: egg and cress sandwich and cucumber sandwich.
    A crostini that wasn't on the list I posted before, but is more of a classic: chicken liver crostini. You can also just put that same filling on the table along with a loaf of fresh bread, and have people serving themselves.
    Or you can blend a can of tuna in oil with butter to taste ( a lot, though), finely chopped scallions, a a spoonful of mayo, a cherry tomato and some lemon juice. Season to taste. You can call it tuna butter or tuna mousse, and serve it along with some delicious bread as a starter or snack.
    When I was a dickenesque poor kid, I had bread with margarine and brown suger after school. I would personally prefer butter and chocolate sprinkles, Dutch style, but I just want to put it out there as an option.
    Today, the toast I eat the most is with a slice of cheese and lots of sliced tomato. Seasoned to taste. I like plain tomato sandwiches too.
    About diets: my most succesfull diet ever was when I baked a bread full of seeds and kernels every week or so, and had a slice every day for breakfast and lunch with peanutbutter and apple or cheese. It was filling and healthy and very fiber-rich. At dinner I had normal family meals. In two months I lost more than 20 pounds that I didn't put on again till 20 years later.
    posted by mumimor at 8:11 AM on June 10, 2019

    My husband's comfort food is a grilled cheese sandwich made with American cheese, with peanut butter smeared on the top (outside) of the sandwich. So if you like peanut butter and cheese, hold fast to it!

    In my area of the country, bread is often used to sop up sauces from the plate while you're eating and afterwards.

    I also like eating a traditional fried-egg breakfast with toast--the eggs are cooked in butter to over medium (the whites are cooked through but the yolks are still somewhat runny). Cut up the eggs into small pieces and scoop them onto buttered toast a bite at a time with the help of your fork, and eat that way. A bit easier to do and eat if you slice the toast crossways into two triangles.

    Also, it's a thing from the UK to eat soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers--toast sliced into strips, used to dip into the soft-boiled egg. In that case the egg is served in an egg cup and you crack the top, peel off that part of the shell, and scoop the egg out of the shell to eat with a small spoon if you're not dipping your toast into it.
    posted by telophase at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2019

    Look up Tuscan recipes they use bread as their carb not pasta as much of Italy do. They make everything from Bread based salads to bread soups, bread with beans

    The best part of all is as you're making your own bread, you could make it without salt like they do traditionally area in the area. Use it to sop up a Tuscan Ragu, or serve it with beans over. Google crostinis for lovely delicious toppings for bread.

    Also if any of that lovely homemade bread starts going stale you have a whole world of delicious bread puddings to explore.
    posted by wwax at 8:28 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

    No one has mentioned my summer fave Salmorejo which is a cold Spanish summer soup made with bread, fresh tomatoes, a clove of garlic and good olive oil.

    Blend bread+ tomatoes together until thick and creamy and DEVOUR. top with olive oil, salt and pepper.

    posted by larthegreat at 8:38 AM on June 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

    Charcuterie Plate:

    Hunks of a really good bread.
    Some sliced Prosciutto or another meat.
    Pickles or cornichons.
    A nice cheese.
    Maybe a fruit, like a fig spread or a cut apple.
    Some almonds or another nut to munch on.
    posted by spinifex23 at 8:59 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

    Two thick slices good fresh bread, preferably wholemeal and/or sourdough, toasted
    A very thick layer plain full-fat Greek yoghurt on each (1cm maybe)
    Loads of coarse-ground black pepper on the yoghurt
    A poached or sunny-side-up fried egg on top of each (if fried, cook with lid on pan to poach top side)
    A little salt

    Breakfast. With a big glass of orange juice.
    posted by flabdablet at 9:52 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

    Oh boy. Sloppy joes. egg salad, tuna salad, canned salmon mashed with cream cheese and a little green onion, ham and cheese, fried egg cooked hard with a slice of cheese to melt on top, add ketchup - best on toast; cheese and tomato; make-your-own-submarine sandwiches were a treat for my kids. Thinly sliced apples and cheese. My English Dad would occasionally make chip sandwiches using either french fries or potato chip between 2 slices of buttered bread. Another favorite of his was thickly sliced onion. On those nights my mother might sleep on the couch..
    posted by Enid Lareg at 11:06 AM on June 10, 2019

    I enjoy flaky/crispy textures and flat breads dipped in tasty sauces so sometimes make my own roti or paratha at home. Scallion pancakes could go in this category too although I haven't tried making them with whole wheat flour.

    Whole grain rolls sliced in half and topped with butter or cream cheese, smoked fish, and maybe a sprinkling of chopped herbs. The quality of the butter/cream cheese is important here.

    As a Californian I would be remiss if I didn't recommend avocado toast. Slice bread and brush both sides with with olive oil, perhaps rub with a clove of garlic, toast under the broiler. Top with avocado mashed with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, perhaps a drizzle of truffle or herb flavored oil.

    Sourdough breads are especially well suited to making French toast as the tanginess adds extra depth of flavor. Slice thick and allow to go stale overnight before soaking in milk and egg. Try it with a savory topping of sauteed mushrooms and green salad on the side.
    posted by 4rtemis at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2019

    Much like celery, you can see bread as a convenient vehicle for shovelling deliciousness into your mouth. Bread can, IMO, sub for other carbs in just about any recipe.
    I‘ve had pasta sauce with bread, I‘ve had stir fry with bread...If it tastes good with a carb, and you dig bread, it‘ll taste good with bread.
    posted by Omnomnom at 11:45 AM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

    Also, if you come from a culture where they a) think bread is weird and b) comment on food a lot, I would straight up lie about my lunch.
    „I‘m trying out the new bread diet, Dutch scientists found that eating bread every day increases your life span significantly.“
    „Cheese and peanut butter is a staple in Spain.“
    posted by Omnomnom at 11:48 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

    "Hot" sandwiches are also an option if you bake them into individual loafs/ baguettes; there's the 'Philly Cheesesteak,' but nothing stops you from filling it with other flavours.

    I'm fond of using Chinese style fried beef (basically soy, white pepper, garlic, sesame oil) with spring onions and toasted sesame seed. I get sirloin roasts (~2lb) and divide them into quarters, grain of the muscle along the long axis. Wrap in cling wrap and freeze. Pull from the freezer and thaw in the fridge in the morning. By evening (depending on your fridge) you can make razor thin slices cross the grain.

    Or just buy hotpot meat (that has been shaved using a shaving machine). Shaved flatiron steak is delicious.
    posted by porpoise at 6:47 PM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

    My all-time favorite is the peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich on any kind of bread. I grew up on this. Being a Seattle boy, my mother introduced me to Adams Peanut Butter and Nalley Dill Pickles at a young age.

    Some people like to use sweet pickles, but sweet pickles are a crime against pickleanity, a waste of perfectly good cucumbers.

    Science fiction/horror writer Chuck Wendig discovered (caution, NSFW language) PB&P sandwiches last year. Even though he seems to like sweet pickles, I'll forgive him because it's such a delight to read.
    posted by lhauser at 8:03 PM on June 10, 2019

    fried over a fire or on the woodstove, slather with butter while still warm, or butter & jam. heaven.

    also team peanut butter & cheese.
    posted by cabin fever at 12:50 AM on June 11, 2019

    Most of the above suggestions are telling what you can do with bread having already baked it. Are you also looking for meals which are baked Into/With/OnTopOf/AsPartOf bread dough?

    For ideas, look for recipes using Pillsbury crescent rolls or frozen bread dough - things like Taco Ring, Chicken and Broccoli Ring, Pizza Loaf, Ham and Cheese Roll. Using homemade dough instead, you can use many different flavor choices to make these different shapes of basically a filling wrapped with bread dough.

    In addition, you can make pizza or calzones or stromboli. Buns with beef stew and baked in muffin tins. Chicken and dumplings. Chicken pot pie with dinner rolls as the top. Pizza loaf. Monkey Bread made with savory ingredients. Pull apart breads. Cheesy breadsticks. One of my favorites: Georgian Cheese Bread boat (Acharuli Khachapuri).

    Another leftover bread recipe that I don't see mentioned above is stuffing (also called dressing) which used to be cooked inside a chicken or turkey but modern science tells us that is a recipe for salmonella, so we make it separately now.
    posted by CathyG at 2:11 PM on June 11, 2019

    « Older Things to do, visit in evenings in Shenzhen   |   Flying with congestion/cold? Newer »
    This thread is closed to new comments.