For the foreseeable future I think we need to accept that toasties will be a better option that street food. It’s faster to prepare, easier to serve, has a wider appeal and can be explained in less than a tweet. It’s not, although this is a personal choice, cheaper.
If we wanted to, we could probably get value bread and cheese and serve manky toasties on that, but let’s be honest, calling that the Great British Toastie would be like calling McDonalds a nutritious, balanced diet. Instead we use classy local hams and the best bread we can find (oddly difficult) and we try and make them taste bum-tinglingly good. In line with the bum-tingling policy we have been trying to solve a problem that has been dogging us for the last few festivals. The Breakfast Problem.
The start of the day is always pretty slow. So, in a moment of genius, we devised the breakfast toastie. Sausages, bacon and beans. All nice and easy to store, and universally loved by all.
Only apparently people who like breakfast don’t like beans. We had been negotiating round it by adding cheese instead, being as you need something moist inside every toastie; otherwise it’s just hot bread with bits in. But no, the problem with breakfast is eggs.
I would even go so far as to say that eggs are not the problem, gravity is.
Trial 1 : Whole Raw Egg Breakfast Toastie.
The idea being that it will cook in the toastie, leaving you with gooey deliciousness, bacon and sausages. Unfortunately if you crack and egg on a slice of bread and the ground is anything other than perfectly flat then it will just go all Newton on you, slithering onto the toastie presses and burning. No good. Egg must be contained within the toastie. So you build sausage fortifications around the edge of the bread. The egg laughs at your futile efforts and slithers off again. Gravity mocks you.
Trial 2: Eggy Bread Toastie.
When I was little this was how toasties were made. However that was for making one toastie and then scrubbing out the little electric toastie press. Our hot plates have to stay mostly egg free, because egg does not burn sweetly. So brilliant brainwave: the inside of the slices get egged, the outsides are buttered. Toastie magnificence as the slices are perfectly sealed and a delicious texture of crisp vs. moist is accomplished within the bread. But the egg soaks right into the bread, meaning that the cooked product, despite having the same amount of egg as trial 1, only tastes of sausage and bacon.
Trial 3: Scrambled Egg Toasted Sandwich
You have to cook the scrambled egg in advance, meaning that there is a certain amount of moisture there to soak into the bread and cause sogginess. On the other hand it looks delicious, as you can actually see the egg, and it is well spread throughout the toastie, preventing any dead mouthfuls (much more likely with trial 1). It also provides you with an excellent scrambled egg, sausage and bacon taste. However it doesn’t solve one of the fundamental problems of the breakfast toastie, which is latent sogginess resulting in structural inconsistencies.
Clearly we have not discovered the ultimate breakfast toastie just yet. However we will persevere, partly because we’re doing this to make great food, but mostly because toasties are delicious. Your input would be very much appreciated, should you have any thoughts on the matter.