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New Year’s  Day Breakfast Toast

In her 1963 novel The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s literary alter ego, Esther Greenwood, speaks with feeling about the twixmas slump: “I felt overstuffed and dull and disappointed, the way I always do the day after Christmas, as if whatever it was the pine boughs and the candles and the silver and gilt-ribboned presents and the birch-log fires and the Christmas turkey and the carols at the piano promised never came to pass…”

When such feelings took root, cooking and eating proved a therapeutic and life affirming activity for Plath: “dusting, washing daily dishes, talking to people who are not mad … helps.”  This recipe for breakfast toast  – sautéed cabbage, bacon, eggs and potatoes – was described by Plath in her journals. It’s the perfect New Year’s day morning pick-me-up: in effect, a comforting bubble and squeak on toast. She didn’t give exact instructions, so we’ve followed the recipe in her favourite cookbook,  Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking.

Breakfast Toast

Serves: 2


  • 1 medium potato
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper


  1. Chop the potato into rough slices and either par-boil for 5-10 minutes, or sprinkle with olive oil and roast in a hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes
  2. While the potato is cooking, fry the bacon in a large frying pan. Remove the bacon, leaving some fat behind in the pan.  Retain any crispy leftovers
  3. Turn the heat to medium low, add the garlic, and stir to prevent any burning. Add the cabbage and let it wilt. Add the cooked potatoes. Season with paprika and salt and pepper. Continue to fry on medium-low heat, 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is beginning to brown
  4. Toast the sourdough
  5. While the bread is toasting, fry two eggs, keeping them runny in the middle
  6. Load the cabbage-potato mixture onto the toast, then top with the bacon and fried eggs