Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Breakfast Toast

By Valerie Stivers
March 20, 2018
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Author Notes: The writer Sylvia Plath was maybe the first modern woman, a girl of the 1950s and of the future, a serious worker, artist and intellectual who also dressed, entertained and house-kept ferociously. Plath's diaries are full of recipes and notes on cuisine, some of them so detailed you can cook from them. I write a food column cooking from literature at The Paris Review. https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/01/05/cooking-sylvia-plath/ . This recipe for breakfast toast was described by Plath in her diaries. She didn't say just how to do it, so I took guidance from recipes in her favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, which she called "my blessed Rombauer." Valerie Stivers

Serves: 2

  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-4 slices of bacon, depending on size
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 slices good-quality sourdough bread
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop the potato into rough slivers, about 1/4 inch thick and precook, either salted and tossed with olive oil in a 400° F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes until tender.
  2. While the potato is cooking, fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon and drain off most of the grease, leaving about 2 tbs grease and all of the crunchy brown bits in the pan.
  3. Turn the heat to medium low, add the garlic, and stir until the raw edge is removed, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally until it’s wilted. Add cooked potatoes. Toss and season with paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to fry on medium-low heat, 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture is beginning to brown. Set aside.
  4. Toast the slices of sourdough bread.
  5. While the bread is toasting, fry two eggs until cooked on both sides but runny in the middle. Season appropriately.
  6. Assemble the toast, layering on the cabbage-potato mixture, then bacon, then fried egg.

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