My oldest daughter and I were recently watching an episode of Nigella Feasts, as I’ve been on a bit of a Nigella kick lately. She saw Nigella’s version of bread and milk, and told me she wanted me to make it for her. I was particularly amenable as it reminded me of the milk toast that my grandmother used to make – especially when we were sick. I was never a big fan of it, although I remember my cousin loved it. It’s the type of comforting meal to eat curled up in a big warm blanket in the wintertime.
About 20 years ago, my great aunt had put together a book of her recipes, which I inherited from my mother because of my love of cookbooks and family heirlooms. It’s particularly special as it’s in her handwriting, instead of the impersonal typing you always find in cookbooks.
Aunt Joie’s preface to the recipe says: “There are more variations of this than there are families – the Irish way, the German way, the Yankee way – but they are all what poor country people ate; filling, wholesome, lots of carbohydrates and calories. Also, milk toast is good.
Grandpa and Grandma Heaton had it strongly flavored with cinnamon and/or nutmeg.”
Here is the method – as it’s hardly a recipe (enough for 1 person):
Take 2 slices of dense, chewy bread and toast. Chunk it up into a mug and sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar and cinnamon (if you like – my girls like it without). Melt 2 T. butter with 2 T. flour, then pour in 1 cup of milk and heat until thick. Pour the milk gravy over the bread, eat, and enjoy.
Nigella’s version differs in that it’s just plain, heated milk – and I tend towards this version more when making for my girls.
Nigella says about her version of this “this has to be eaten in a comfy chair or in bed, but never at the table”, and I have to say I agree.