Toast – French style – is easy to make

Toast – French style – is easy to make


A warm, nourishing snack will feed the soul and cheer flagging spirits. French toast is serious comfort food for any time of the day. It’s one of the quickest ways to cheer someone who needs food.

In this pandemic time, eating a nutritious snack will help to stem the anxiety that some people feel. French toast is a recipe that revives dry bread and hungry consumers.

Even if someone says “not bread again …”, they will soon realize that they need to eat bread. They will also learn about that English proverb that ‘an empty sack cannot stand upright’.*

That is, just as the flour sack is kept upright by the flour it contains, so a hungry person is supported and kept alive by the bread consumed. 

French toast is a simple snack for fussy eaters to enjoy because the basic recipe does not contain meat or nuts. Almost everyone can consume French toast and feel nourished.

While I have not yet found my Mother’s recipe for her tried and tested pain perdu recipe, happily, the ‘lost’ (stale) bread recipe is not a ghost. Several recipes for French toast have come to light recently and each satisfactorily tested during the lock-down period.

The Big Book of Breakfast’ ** was left last year on a shelf in the ground floor pop-up book-exchange in my local shopping mall. I saw the cookbook and secured it immediately as it contains almost 20 different types of delicious breakfast recipes.

On inspection, it is also generous in providing 10 different versions of French toast within its paperback covers. The basic French toast recipe listed in this weblog is described on page 188 of the cook book.

The book’s author, Maryana Vollstedt, recommends using day-old bread because fresh bread “absorbs too much of the egg mixture and will lose its shape and become soggy.” She suggests using any type of bread for the recipe: white, sourdough, rye, whole wheat, raisin or French.

French toast can be served hot with a variety of sweet toppings, fillings and sauces. Think of using sweet items such as sugars, honey, jams, fruit compotes or butters.

Or the French toast can be stored in the refrigerator to serve cold as part of an antipasto dish with side dishes of cheeses and vegetables, with mustards and savoury compotes.

To maintain the integrity of the French toast at a buffet, Ms Vollstedt suggests not serving toppings on top of the French toast but rather passing “the toppings separately”.

Pantry items:
Three (3) large eggs
2/3 cup lite or whole milk
A dash of salt
Six (6) slices of day-old bread of your choice
Two (2) tablespoons of butter, margarine, or vegetable oil, divided.

Kitchen items:
One large, shallow bowl
One egg whisk
One spatula
One large piece waxed paper
Large waterproof bib apron
Oven mitt or glove
One large non-stick skillet or griddle.

Cooking instructions:
Wear the bib apron when working in the kitchen. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and salt. Dip slices of bread into the mixture. Turn each piece of bread to cover with egg mixture. Place each on the waxed paper.

Preheat a skillet or griddle on medium heat. Using the oven mitt to hold the skillet handle, add one tablespoon of butter and swirl it to cover the skillet. When the butter foams, add three slices of the bread and cook until lightly brown.

Remove bread from the skillet and keep warm. Add remaining butter to skillet and repeat process with the remaining bread. Serve with toppings. Voile!


Text copyright Fiona Rothchilds and other acknowledged sources.
*Ronald Ridout and Clifford Witting, ‘English Proverbs Explained’, Pan Books Limited, London, England, 1967, p. 58.
**‘The Big Book of Breakfast: serious comfort food for any time of the day’ by Maryana Vollstedt, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, U.S.A., 2003, pp. 187-198.
Photograph copyright of the image by Fiona Rothchilds 2020.
Uploaded 9 August 2020.

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