THIS IS MY RECIPE FOR EASY, COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH TOAST
As a child I was taught that food was either good or it was bad. And there were so many ways it could be bad: Too sweet. Too salty. Overcooked. Undercooked. Crunchy. Gay.
I was raised in a community of radical evangelicals.
But I am an adult now and I like my french toast best when it’s burnt on the outside and custardy in the middle. Is that overcooked? Is that undercooked? Is that gay? You might like this recipe for easy, country-style french toast. Or you might not. That’s not my business.
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MY FRENCH TOAST CRAVING
Once upon a time there was an intelligent but inexperienced princess who woke up every morning craving french toast for breakfast.
‘Only eggs can be breakfast!’ the queen would scold the princess. ‘I’m pretty sure there are eggs in french toast,’ the princess would argue. ‘Your desire for french toast comes from the Devil,’ the queen would counter. And there was really no way the princess could reason around that one.
The queen was also a radical evangelical.
So the princess became determined to make french toast for herself. To do this she did indeed need eggs, as well as bread, milk, and several other ingredients we’ll get to later in this recipe for easy, country-style french toast.
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THE BEST FRENCH TOAST I EVER HAD
There was a small diner in town that I wasn't supposed to go to. The fundies didn’t want me reading any books besides the Bible, and the diner’s menu had so many pages they counted it as a book.
I went in anyway.
I liked their coffee and I liked talking with the girl who waited tables in the morning. I called her Helen of Troy because she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen, and because this was a Greek diner and I assumed she was Greek. I realized that was probably dumb to assume, so I never called her Helen of Troy out loud.
‘What do you recommend?’ I asked Helen of Troy one morning, unable to hide my lust. ‘This is my favorite,’ she pointed at the menu, returning my gaze. ‘Get it with syrup.’
It was easy, country-style french toast. It was my first time.
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INGREDIENTS FOR MY EASY, COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH TOAST
This is not the whole recipe for my easy, country-style french toast.
But recipes are never complete. Whenever I look at a cookbook, I become awash with indignation. Certain ingredients and temperatures and cook times — according to whom?
According to Ina? To Jacques? To God?
Maybe there is some indisputable truth in Ina’s combination of bread (brioche or challah… but why not pumpernickel?) with milk (must it be full-fat?) and egg and vanilla and good honey. Ina made french toast this way once. She knows it. God knows it. But I am not God and I did not witness her making breakfast with the good honey.
So when Ina tells me she made french toast this way, I believe her, but I also believe Jacques Pepin who made french toast too, but not in the same way.
My easy, country-style french toast has oranges in it, and that is not the only fruit. It also has raisins. And while for me raisins are a requirement, for you raisins are totally optional.
So is the syrup. So are the oranges.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MY EASY, COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH TOAST
Where is the list of ingredients?
It’s all there. Though it’s hard to find the beginning and impossible to fathom the end.
How long should I fry the french toast?
Time is infinite, unknowable. People get bored, grow old, go away, forget about their easy, country-style french toast. Don’t leave the stove. Watch the bread get crisp and flip it only when you think you should.
Where is the diner that makes your favorite french toast? Can I just get it there?
Somewhere between fear and sex. Somewhere between God and the Devil. Somewhere between the nail salon and Walgreens french toast is and the way there is sudden and the way back is worse.
Is this a recipe blog or a nonlinear queer coming of age story?
It’s more of a narrative manifesto.
Can I leave out the oranges?
I already told you the oranges are optional.
Can I add nuts?
I don’t really care how you make your easy, country-style french toast.