French Toast

Springing out of my cozy bed at the crack of dawn, I raced downstairs to start preheating my oven and assemble my mise en place for about a dozen new recipes. Time is running short in terms of my summer vacation, and I’m really feeling the pressure now. So many things are left undone, so many recipes left untested- This would be my last chance to just bake my heart out in the comfort of my own kitchen. Banging pots and pans to create the most wretched orchestra one could hope to hear before 8 AM, such a cacophony of cookware was buzzing right in my ear that I didn’t even notice a surprise visitor sitting at the table…

An old friend who must have just flown in from France, he certainly had a way about showing up on short notice! Disappointed that I was not the early bird this morning, beaten by the friend who was now eying my baking preparations hungrily, I figured that I might as well slow down a bit and chat with this unexpected guest. However, it was immediately obvious that this guy was not here for the conversation, as evident by his rumbling stomach and insistent questions about my plans for those sweet ingredients on the counter. Wielding a fork nearly as tall as himself, it was almost comical to think that he hoped to use it just as someone about ten times his size would! Nonetheless, far be it from me to refuse a friend in need, clearly my baking spree would have to wait until his appetite had been taken care of. Searching around in the pantry, there were many shortcuts that I tried to employ, offering frozen waffles, cereal, and fruit salad alike, hoping that this picky guest would be satisfied with an easy, ready to eat meal.

Ha, as if I needed to even ask! Nothing but the best for this breakfast connoisseur. Turning up his nose at the mere thought of eaten something out of a cardboard box, he seemed to become a less gracious guest by the minute. How was I to know what this French bear would want to eat? What do the French typically eat for the first meal of the day anyways? How about something like…. French toast?

As if I flipped some invisible switch with those two words, my friend at the table instantly perked up and grinned madly at the thought of sweet, sauteed toast with some spice and a soft custard-like texture in the center. Forget saving time and my own personal agenda, this French toast project became my one and only focus, my trial recipes temporarily forgotten. Slowly the sweet, cinnamon scent of my tried and true recipe filled the air, and my friend’s eyes grew the the size of saucers, imagining his luck at having such an easily manipulated personal chef, no doubt!  He’s just lucky that this very recipe happens to be one of my favorites, and is also included in my upcoming cookbook, so I’ve had plenty of practice making it.

Hot out of the pan and onto his plate, he didn’t even give it a moment to cool before cutting in and taking a huge bite. Grinning contentedly, I was just relieved that my duties as hostess could be considered fulfilled, even if I wasn’t a willing hostess to begin with. As much as I love having friends drop in like this, I wish he could have warned me in advance, so that I didn’t fall so far behind on my own agenda!