"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Crostini is Just a Fancy Word For Toast

by Julie on June 30, 2011

in Good Ideas Gone Bad, Snacks & Sides


crap crostini

They used to call me a Yuppie.

My family did, I mean. My entire ’20s and well into my ’30s, that was my working class family’s light-hearted jab at my “higher” aspirations. I’d come home for the holidays and they’d all have a go at my black clothing, or the books I cited, or my choice in movies. My vocabulary in particular, which was wholly unremarkable in my circle, provided them with hours of entertainment.

Please note here that I could have used the word “mirth,” but opted for the more colloquial “entertainment.”

Anyway, I’d come home and Mom would take us out to the local Italian restaurant.  A typical conversation would go like this:

A brother: “I’ll have the gnocchi, please.” (Nochi)

Me: “It’s pronounced ‘Nyo-ki,’ actually.”

Family: “Oh listen to you! Nyo-ki! NYO-KI!  You probably make your own at home, don’t you?”

Me: “Shut up, cretins.”

Them: “CRETINS!!!! bwahahahahah!!!”

And so on.

Fast forward many years.  My brother, a sign-painter, prospers greatly. Owns three properties. Employs others. My other brother, who installs dry-wall, travels the world in search of the perfect wave and works when he wants to. Dad, who was a pool-man in his youth, runs a pool tool manufacturing company, owns several homes and drives late model BMW SUVs.

Me? I continue to scrape together a living as a freelance writer. Drive decade-old hand-me down cars. Shop happily at thrift stores. I will probably never own a house.  All fine by me.  I was never that materialistic.

And I still have never attempted to make my own pasta.

So even though nobody calls me a yuppie anymore, you can see why I cringed just a little as I tried to make crostini the other night.

Crostini is fancy Italian for toast. But according to the Bon Appetit magazine I stole recently from my dentist’s office (the issue with Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover), it’s best if you make it on a grill and bypass the toaster.

I guess I’m just yuppie enough to own a grill, which I hauled out of the bottom of my pie pan cupboard and set to heating it in order to make crostini for the evening’s concert in the park picnic with friends. The idea was to make crostini with ricotta cheese, prosciutto and peach slices, like in the magazine.

Yes, I realize how totally yuppie that sounds. Of course, any yuppie worth her pantsuit would be able to whip up a batch of these babies in no time. I had a little trouble with it.

I cut a ciabatta loaf into 1/2 inch slices, measuring them with a ruler to make sure they were thin enough. I brushed them with olive oil (because I’m also yuppie enough to have that kind of brush). I placed them around the grill. When they didn’t brown, I turned up the heat.

This produced some very uneven crostini – burnt on some ends, uncooked on the others. Some I was able to produce with the desired grill marks, but most of them were…well…they were toasted.

And I rubbed them with garlic, just like it said to in the magazine. I’m sure Gwyneth would approve.

I bought ricotta cheese and prosciutto and peaches, and that part all came out fine, because even I can slice peaches and smear ricotta cheese on a piece of toast.

In the end, my bag of crostini was a hit, and even the nits partook of several slices.  And even though it could have been terribly precious, sitting on a blanket with food stuffed in a basket listening to the local municipal band on a summer’s eve, my friends and I kept it all real with a nice $5 bottle of wine drunk from plastic cups.

The summer is young. I will practice my crostini-making skills, and will be brainstorming more appropriate concert picnic food in the weeks to come. And yes, a lot of it will be terribly yuppie. But I don’t care because my family can’t say a thing to me anymore, and I drink way too much beer to be considered a yuppie, which is a terribly outdated term in any case.

So Nyaaa-oki this, you cretins.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Barlow June 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I grew up in a very ethnic neighborhood, and these were pronounced knock-ees. As Americans, we’ve earned the right to mispronounce whatever we damn well please. (or damn well po-leeze).


Bruce June 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Just tell me that you’ve never done the ultimate yuppie linguistic move: selectively referring to foreign cities and personages by their native pronounciations in order to impress people! In America, it’s Vincent Van-“GO”, not Van”GoCHHH”!


Jamie July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

You mean I can take magazines from the dentist’s office?!? All those years of half-memorized recipes because I was afraid of being caught. Thanks for the tip Julie!


Marion Cardwell-Ferrer July 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

That’s SO funny, that’s what I tell everyone too! ( Crostini is just little broiled “toasts”) GREAT


Bad home cook July 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

Thanks, Marion! And hey, welcome to blogging! Love your site!


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