Let’s set the time machine for 2003. Ten years ago. Do you remember anything about that year?
For me, it marks the only time in my life that I’ve had any amount of worry for my parents living in the United States. Is that a furrowed brow I see? You’re wanting an explanation, aren’t you. After all, America is the land of the free, a melting pot, bring us your poor, etc., etc.
In 2003, it wasn’t. In 2003, U.S. Representatives Bob Ney and Walter B. Jones used their committee authority to take on the oh-so-important task of forcing House cafeterias to change all references to French fries and French toast on menus to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.
During those days, my own brow furrowed as I heard the grumblings against the French grow and my thoughts went to my French-speaking parents. They can’t help but break into their mother-language when talking to each other. It’s as natural as breathing. When they say ‘pardon my French,’ they mean it literally.
Luckily, it didn’t take long for people to recognize the silliness of changing the name of food as a means of protest and things were back to ‘normal’ before long. Ok, it took three years, but it did happen.
Which brings us to today and Family Circle’s recipe for Vanilla French Toast.
Many people don’t realize how easy this breakfast treat is. In my opinion, there are only three small, but important things to remember.
First, whisk the egg mixture really well so when the eggs cook, there are no discernible white/yellow streaks.
Second, don’t make the griddle too hot because you don’t want the egg goop to cook too much on the outside before it has a chance to bake the bread on the inside.
Third, don’t soak the bread too long. Coat the outside well, letting a bit of the egg mixture soak into the slices, but don’t get them slimy-soggy. Slimy-soggy slices equal slimy-soggy French toast.
In fact, I found that my toast was done in less than two minutes per side; it was more like a minute and a half per side.
Absolutely delicious. Because I’m a huge vanilla fan, I was certain that I would like this. Because vanilla was the emphasis, I used the best I had, my Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. It was worth it.
The French toast was swoonably fantastic. The vanilla did shine and the toast was perfectly cooked. I’m not a fan of slimy-soggy French toast so I was thrilled at the short cooking times and the results. I prefer this version to those that include cinnamon.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Not a thing.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 loaf challah bread
- confectioners’ sugar
- maple syrup
- Butter a nonstick griddle and heat to 350 degrees, or melt 1 tbsp unsalted butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. In a shallow dish, whisk together 6 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Cut 1 loaf (1 lb) challah bread into ¾-inch-thick slices. Dip into egg mixture; flip over and gently press into liquid. Gently lift slices, allowing excess liquid to drip back into dish. Transfer to hot griddle. Cook 2 minutes, until bottom is browned. Flip over and cook 2 more minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with maple syrup. Serves 6.
While I was concerned for my parents, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun with the whole Freedom Fries (Toast) thing myself. I’d goad friends into tirades about the French when we’d come upon a restaurant that had changed the name of their fries in protest of France’s refusal to support the Iraq War. Then I’d mention that I was born in France. The subsequent embarrassed silence was priceless.