Pasta With Roasted Tomatoes, Arugula and Cheesy Breadcrumbs

Stale breads are the faded belles of glorious loaves past.

Spring cleaning is a refreshing and cathartic ritual, and the kitchen is a great place to begin. Clean out the refrigerator, toss any items with long-past use-by dates, and refresh those old spices parked in a drawer. As you fill your trash and recycling bins, keep one exception in mind: Under no circumstances should you throw out any stale bread.

Stale breads are the faded belles of glorious loaves past. In their prime, they are tender and golden, piping hot from the oven and swirling with yeasty steam when broken apart. Dressed with a pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil, they are luxuriously simple. And while the pleasure of eating freshly baked bread is sublime, it’s also fleeting. Once the loaves are exposed to air, they cool and begin to lose their moisture, drying out and hardening as time passes. After a day or two, the fragrant fresh loaf is often considered a has-been, banished to the corners of the bread tin, the back of the refrigerator or discarded.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning writer, cookbook author, and recipe developer based in northern California. Visit TasteFood at