Thursday, 19 November 2009

A Philosophy of French Toast


Hullo ma wee blog,

3am. Kitchen, coffee and computer. Banshee winds.....

It truly is the wee small hours and my sole companion is my faithful friend insomnia. Even our pair of cats, Jess and Bailey, blink scornfully at me and shoulder cosily closer together in an unspoken 'Aw jings! Not again!' when I have the audacity to put on the light in the utility room in my search for the fridge. Jess watches me with one disdainful open eye to make sure I put the light off as I skulk out with my prize of a pint of cold milk. Its pathetic when a cat can make a grown man feel guilty and uncivilised.

I smile ruefully as I put on the kettle and plan revenge via worming tablets or maybe even a bath. I can be so petty at this time of the morning.

I had driven in to Edinburgh to meet my lovely G from work and take her for a simple dinner out before chauffeuring her home as she has been struggling with a cold this week. One of those deceitful colds that robs you of your voice and some energy but somehow leaves you still feeling well enough to go to work, although she did spend the day with me yesterday in silent, voice repairing companionship as she was due to be at another of those pointless meetings that employers often hold just to prove that they actually do have communication sessions. You know the ones. They hold you prisoner all day in a place that's difficult to get to and talk to you the whole day without saying anything meaningful before pushing you out again at evening rush hour to take twice your normal travel time to get home. Sure, they pay travel expenses but don't pay for your time involved to get there and back. { I know, I'm bitter and twisted, especially at this time of the morning.}

It was good to spend the day with her. A nice break from my solitary days and mostly
spent sat together at my usual work station in the kitchen with me scoping the job sites and her doing email and various other bits and pieces on her laptop. She is one of these strange beings who gets 50 or 60 emails a day from various sources. Mainly friends but somehow she also seems to get offered lots of cheap viagra via various Internet sites who also seem to be extremely concerned about the size of her [ahem} manhood.

So, you now know who wears the trousers in this relationship, don't you!


During part of the afternoon yesterday we were discussing French Toast for some very strange but now unremembered reason. Its was probably about our completely different upbringings. I was brought up by very conventional working class Scots parents and the lovely G was raised by a, to be frank, pair of quite eccentric, but beautiful and amazing, parents. Her Mum was Swiss German and her Dad was the product of some pretty expensive private education. You know - one of those ones where the kid is packed off at 5 to be returned, university loaded, at 16 or 17 as a tightly packed bundle of neurosis with a deep understanding of ancient Greek and Latin and a Victorian attitude to women and sex. Thankfully her Dad was both a bit of a rebel and a sickly child so managed to return only slightly malformed having cleverly avoided many of the most damaging hazards and having totally escaped the clutches of private school by the age of 14 to start work in engineering at Rosyth Naval Dockyard. { bet his headmaster cringed at that one.} He then had the luck some years later to meet and fall head over heels for a young Swiss girl working in Edinburgh as a nurse and the rest as they say is history.

But anyway. Meanwhile back at the ranch as we used to say.

One of the first times my lovely G and I noticed our different 'cultural' upbringing was when we had just started living together and I had offered to make her one of my childhood favourite dishes which was French toast. I described to her how I made it and it all went well - as you would expect with such a simple thing - until I started to lay out the table for serving it. I put out salt, pepper, tomato and brown sauce when she started to get quite agitated and ask about the sugar and cinammon mix and the fruit.

"Eh? What ARE you talking about?"

"French toast should be served with a sprinking of cinammon sugar and with pears or peaches or apricots to go with it. Certainly NOT with tomato sauce! Not ever, in any circumstances. Good grief!!!"

And so we had a long and frequently 'entertaining' discussion about how this delicacy should be treated and at the end, while I of course, being a gentleman, even if a complete and unreconstructed plebian gentleman - shouldn't those two be mutually exclusive? - made sure that she got hers then and to this day with cinammon sugar and the required fruit on the side, - well, at the end we agreed to disagree. But we have still to this day, twenty odd years later, long and heated dabate and completely opposing views about what goes best with French toast.

She likes it sweet and I like mine savoury. {salt and pepper and with a hint of tomato, brown, worcester or even soy sauce} I know from years of research that I'm in the minority. I could be unique even. I don't think I have ever met anyone outside of my family who enjoys it served the way I do.

BUT......

I'm not saying she's wrong. She's just not as right as I am..........

see you later.

Listening to........ the wind howling past the gable end.
Time for a cuddle I think........

p.s. don't even THINK about trying to convince me on this. I know I may be in the minority, but you are just wrong. And I couldn't find a picture of French Toast with tomato sauce on it anywhere on the web. Bah!!!

10 comments:

Morning's Minion said...

Greetings, Al;
Not quite midnight here and J. and half the cat tribe bedded down, while I'm just finishing a project.
I thought I knew about French toast: a beaten egg mixture to dip the bread, fried gently in butter, then more butter, maybe some cinnamon, and doused with maple syrup--REAL maple syrup, none of the tawdry imitation stuff, thank you!
I shall have to tell J. tomorrow that there are options, but I think he'll be squeamish about tomato on toast [and I dare not think what "brown sauce" may be!]
Hope you get some sleep. Insomnia is a beast to deal with--although my cats are much more companionable than yours if I'm prowling at night!

Alistair said...

hullo MM,
I hope you get this in time to avoid damaging J's psyche too much. Its tomato sauce - dont you guys call it ketchup - not tomatoes. I dont proof read very well at that time of day obviously.

Sorry too you don't seem to have brown sauce out there either. Its one of Britains main contributions to culinary civilisation. {Ha} The most famous here is HP sauce.

regards......Al.

lom said...

I like mine with brown sause and bacon

Anonymous said...

Al,
How could you .,.,., Ketchup ,,OMG NO ! ...
A wee splash of Lea & Perrins & pepper ,, brilliant ,, even a whiff of Soy ,, very ocassionally a mere touch of HP brown but I agree with G .,., never ever Ketchup ,, on anything !
I've never tried the fruit variation but now that you've mentioned it ,, Mmmmm it's a definite go-er .,., I like cinnamon on most anything too ,,but not G's sugar or MM's Maple Yuk ,,, way too sweet ?

Morning's Minion said...

Ketchup--on French toast---GAK!

Alistair said...

Hullo all,

well, well, well........

who would've guessed that my inoccuous wee insomniac post would generate such responses.

So far no one will admit to the illicit pleasures of french toast and tom sauce although I do note a few votes for brown and even others.

Is there no one out there with my open mind and {obviously} better developed pallet.lol

May I refer you all to my comment above.

'You're not wrong. You're just not as right as me'

The debate may rage on around me but I am impervious - or happy in my ignorance - as the lovely G would say.

Bon soir..........Al.

Bovey Belle said...

Well, here's a confession, I am a French Toast Virgin . . .

Alistair said...

Dear BB,

Poor Lassie - you've never lived until you've tried french Toast! {with just the tiniest bit of tom sauce of course}

Cheers.......Al.

Big Swifty said...

I've just asked our French lodger, and she would only consider a sweet topping for Pain Perdue (lost bread), which some of us in the UK call French Toast and others may say Eggy Bread. As Morning's Minion says, it can be served with maple syrup (yes, the real stuff, and rather expensive in the UK!)and also with bacon. We enjoyed that once in a B&B in Niagara on the Lake. Mmmmmmmm

Alistair said...

Hullo Swifty,

Ach - whit dae the French ken aboot onything!!!!


Just kidding.....

regards....Al.

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