I work from home, and for the most part, it’s everything you’re imagining: laptop in bed, pajamas at 3:00 p.m., talking to my cats about their hopes and dreams. But what they don’t tell you about working from home is that you are responsible for lunch every single day. There aren’t any monthly team Chipotle lunches or impromptu midday margaritas with co-workers. It’s just me and the kitchen every single workday.
Of course, stuff on toast is my go-to lunch.
It’s quick and easy, thus fulfilling all my criteria for cooking. Plus, it’s always tasty. My favorite is smoked salmon (lox, if you’re fancy) and cream cheese. This combo’s flavor profile is more elaborate than its ingredients would suggest. Smoked salmon really delivers on the tastes-like-grownup-food front.
Aunt Millie’s 12 Whole Grains Best Grains bread is my favorite for all lunches, but especially this one.
I toast it and then spread cream cheese generously across its warm surface. The heat helps the cream cheese spread nicely so it’s important to get it on there as soon as the toast is done. The smoked salmon is thin-sliced and refrigerated. I lay a few slices on top of the toast, and then I’m done.
I eat two slices, but I just post one on Instagram. A lady needs to have her secrets.
Now, what to call it?
In France, this type of thing might be called a tartine, which means open-faced sandwich, and admittedly, calling my lunch a “smoked salmon tartine” is tempting.
However, the line between toast and sandwich gets blurry when we start adding toppings. Some of the distinctions are clear. For one thing, if your bread isn’t toasted, you’re not eating toast. With one topping, like jam or peanut butter, on a piece of toast, it’s clearly still toast. If you have turkey and gravy on there, you’ve clearly crossed over into open-faced sandwich territory.
Where does that leap happen?
These are life’s tough questions. Luckily, I have this tasty meal to munch on while I figure it out.
Katie Pruitt is not a chef or even a home cook. She is a writer with a lifelong passion for toast. Although she grew up just a couple miles from the Aunt Millie's bakery in Fort Wayne, she now has loaves of Aunt Millie's bread flown to her in San Francisco on a regular basis.