Well, it had to happen. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that it took 18 months of blogging for us to get to crumbs.
They are such a big part of my life, crunching under foot with nearly every step I take. When the 2yo decides that he wants dry Weetabix for breakfast, walking across the kitchen floor takes on a percussive quality.
But crumbs needn't be the bain of your life. In fact you could learn to love them. I have.
Rather than throwing out that stale heel of bread, or ignoring a slice of toast which has been neglected in the toaster for a few days, reach out to them. Show them some love. In the form of whizzing them up in the blender. It's what I do and it makes me feel efficient, frugal, and like a top mum in a Good Housekeeping kind of way. I just need a white coat and hair that doesn't look mental.
Then I pour the crumbs into a resealable bag which I keep in the top drawer of the freezer, topping up whenever I have some old bread hanging around. I'm not sure about the hygiene element of this. Probably some of those breadcrumbs are several months old, but I'm still here, never having succumbed to a crumb related illness (that I know of) and you can buy breadcrumbs that hang around in cupboards for years, so I reckon there's not much which can go wrong (*drops dead*).
When to use them? Whenever you want. I don't think there's much that can't be livened up with a layer of crunch. The other night we had braised fennel and leeks - a boring way to spend a Monday night, you might think. But not with a layer of Parmesan breadcrumbs on the top (and half a bottle of Oyster Bay). Rather than use plain breadcrumbs I season them, and mix them up with grated cheese, dried herbs, and a spot of chilli (if the kids are in bed).
I'm not the only one to be in thrall to the crumb. Mrs Beeton liked them too, as does the Reluctant Launderer, who blogs brilliantly about them here. Having read this I made the tomato dish that night, with a herby, cheesey crust. There's not many things that can turn a couple of tomatoes into a delicious meal, but breadcrumbs can. And the KitchenMaid also has some great hints and recipes for them here.
Go on, fill your boots. And your freezer bags.