Cupcakes stuffed with Snicker bits topped with peanut butter maple bacon frosting and drizzled with salted caramel sauce.
Did I get your attention? Probably.
Scrolling through Pinterest and browsing food blogs lately has started to feel overly indulgent and a bit… stomach clenching. Why this sudden trend to stuff more “stuff” into a dish to make it more outrageous? More decadent?
Early in the year, Vancouver held it’s annual Hot Chocolate festival. I normally love the festival because… well… let’s face it. It’s chocolate. In liquid form.
But this year, I didn’t go. Last year, it seemed like all the establishments taking part were trying so hard to conjure up something unique that had never been done before that I simply couldn’t get a really delicious, classic cup of hot chocolate.
Not one. And I tried many. At one point, after several tries, I gave up and had Sean take me out for tacos instead.
I thought about going this year. But then one chocolate shop put out the Paula Deen Hot Chocolate: 70% dark chocolate ganache made with condensed milk, salted kettle chips and vanilla whipped cream. The chips sat on top of the hot chocolate, the whipped cream on top of that. I’m not even sure, from the photos floating around the internet, how you got to the hot chocolate part.
I just wanted a cup of hot cocoa! Rich, creamy and chocolatey. Not so overly indulgent that I can’t finish it – where’s the enjoyment in that? And not so over the top that I can’t figure out how to drink it.
What does this all have to do with avocados on toast?
Only this: I am craving a return to simple food that isn’t trying so hard! There doesn’t need to be an obscure ingredient in the recipe title to make it “different”. It doesn’t need to be pretentious or have a hipster twist.
I’m talking about eating a tomato with a sprinkle of salt on it. Or green beans sauteed with a little garlic and soy sauce.
One of my favourite dinners is a grilled pork chop seasoned with nothing but a little salt, pepper and garlic and served with a pan of hot garlic potato perogies that have been fried with bacon and onions. Add some sour cream and a side of steamed broccoli and I couldn’t be happier.
But what’s pinnable about that? Where’s the unique recipe? How can you blog about that?
I don’t care anymore. Sometimes the blog post isn’t about the recipe. Instead, it’s about the dish itself and why it resonates with you. And as I was reminded when I photographed kale a few weeks ago, simple can be stunningly beautiful.
Avocado on toast resonates with me. It’s simple comfort food. It makes me feel oddly fulfilled – like I’ve created something wonderous but in 90 seconds. I always want to eat it slowly because I don’t want it to disappear. Even though I could go make another piece in another 90 seconds if I really wanted to.
You don’t need fancy bread. Plain whole wheat will do just as well as crusty French bread.
You can slice the avocados or mush them up with a fork (I find mushing so much more satisfying but I slice when I’m in a hurry). On its own the taste is fine. But spritz with a little fresh lime juice or a sprinkle of salt or a dash of pepper (or all three as I prefer) and the flavour goes to another level. It’s a lesson in how one ingredient can bring out the best in another – just like a couple meant for each other!
And so that is what you get today. I didn’t stuff any olives, peppers, capers or potato chips (or all four) into the smushed up avocado. I just spread it on a hot piece of toast.
And I ate it terribly slowly while savouring every last damn bite of it.
Food Photography Notes
Not so much notes today as a question. I am becoming increasingly frustrated with my 100mm 2.8 macro lens. It’s a Canon EF lens – just a regular one, not an L one. The focus is not doing it for me (just look at that last photo!). Does anyone else out there have the same lens? Have you found it difficult to focus? I find I do better with it on manual but on auto it’s really a struggle.