Saturday, November 10, 2012

French Toast

 My younger brother was born in the month of May. Not long after his birth, my mother ended up in the hospital with blood clots in her leg. She spent a good part of the summer there and I spent alot of time with the new baby being cared for by my aunt just next door. I was eleven or twelve and that summer was all about the baby. As he grew-our bond became even closer. And one of the many things entwined in that bond was french toast-along with the citing of the first snowflakes falling and dancing aound the house to most any jitterbugging song on the radio.

My little brother thought I was the best french toast maker ever-ever! But honestly-in today's french toast standards-my version of this breakfast tradition was rather simple. I only used Wonder bread because that is what my parents bought at the A & P. There were no fancy baked breads or Italian or French breads perfectly sliced in our home-just Wonder bread with those red, yellow, and blue balloons printed on the package! As my brother sat in his bathrobe waiting I would take the big bowl from the cupboard and begin the magical process of turning bread into special moments between a little boy and his big sister. My mother only used butter then so that is what I would melt in the pan after slicing the bread and cracking and whisking the eggs with a fork. Sometimes I'd sprinkle a little cinnamon in but that was all I would add besides the milk-mixing the few ingredients to a certain point and then dipping the bread into the bowl and in turn, placing the slices in the frying pan. Sometimes I'd soak them too long and they would break apart before hitting the pan-landing on top of the stove or on the floor. Or sometimes they'd be so soaked with the egg mixture that I about burned them before they were cooked. Quite often I'd rip a slice apart trying to flip it over to the other side. None of that mattered to my little brother. He'd sit and play at the table unaware that I might be struggling with the task at hand. It's when the kitchen filled with smoke and I had to open the back door that he'd look up but not for long. He always had faith in me and he always ate whatever version  I served him after I drenched the french toast with Aunt Jemima.

My little brother still thinks I am the best french toast cooker ever and that makes all my preparing and cooking frustrations and burned slices never served and messy countertops and sticky tabletops and sticky floor and a kitchen filled with smoke more than once-worth it. Sometimes sticky and messy and smoke-filled turn into unforgettable memories as they have with those french toast slices made from Wonder bread and served with love from a big sister to a little brother.
(The illustration above is by The Reindeer Keeper's amazing illustrator-Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda).

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