What’s So Special About French Toast?

What’s so special about French Toast? Well, nothing really. It’s delicious, but it’s not particularly unique, nor is it difficult to make. So why write about it?

I dunno, just because I feel like it.

Okay, but that’s kind of a weak answer. WHY do I feel like writing about it? Perhaps because some of you are curious about what I do in the course of any given day on the island. Others of you are interested in the concept of choosing a better life for yourselves and are searching for clues in the experience of others. And some of you, like me, just like food!

So today’s post is simply about French Toast. And it’s the “simply” part that’s most important to me and part of my Better Life.

So, let’s talk.

Yesterday, my beau was visiting a neighboring island after work, and one of the women sent him home with a loaf of fresh-baked bread for me – cinnamon raisin, mmmmm.

Fresh, homemade cinnamon raisin bread.

Many of the women in the islands bake their own bread. My mother even baked bread with a bread-maker machine in years past. My darling ex-pat neighbor, normally a fantastic cook, even called me one day to tell me not to worry if I saw smoke pouring out of her kitchen window – her bread-maker was having a bad day!

Many of the Bahamian women bake the oh-so-delicious “Bahamian Bread.” One of these days, I’d like to tackle that. For now, I enjoy the fruits, errr breads, of their labors. The classic Bahamian bread is white, thick, dense and sweet. In this health era, women bake whole wheat, too. Coconut bread is a local favorite which, as you may suspect, has grated coconut in the bread for a scrumptious flavor. Cinnamon bread, pictured above, is the last of the four standard varieties.

Many of the women bake for their own families. Others have turned it into a business. Local bakeries, often selling out of their own homes, are delightful places to visit with the warm sweet scents emanating from the kitchen. Generally, Bahamian Bread (white) sells for $5 per loaf, and the other varieties sell for $6 per loaf.

So, yesterday, I was delighted at our friend’s thoughtfulness in sending bread to me, and I immediately thought how tasty the cinnamon raisin bread would be as french toast. This morning, those thoughts were still on my mind.

It is another hot day, with a slight breeze, but it still feels like a warm damp blanket wrapped around me and everything in the house. I do have A/C units in each room, but electricity is expensive, and I don’t want to get so used to the A/C that I can no longer function in the ever-present heat! Summer is just beginning, after all. So most days, I sweat it out until late afternoon or early evening, then indulge in cooling off the main room for dinner and evening relaxation, and the bedroom for sleeping.

But I digress.

On this hot morning, I just felt like taking a break from the usual busy pace of cleaning, prepping lunch and dinner, running errands, dealing with online stuff, and all the usual details of the day. Nope, today I felt like treating myself a little bit – and French Toast was the way to go.

I laid out everything I would need and threw together the egg/milk batter. I pulled out my all-time favorite Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. Funny the things we like. My beau and I have friends from New England who brought us The Real Deal in the form of Vermont maple syrup. While all-natural and absolutely delicious, sometimes I just want Mrs. Butterworth’s.

Side note: the little red-topped container that lives on my counter contains pure rock salt, hand-gathered locally by a friend!

Let the cooking commence! I won’t even attempt to frame this as a “recipe” since I can tell you nothing about French Toast that you haven’t already learned from your own family or the almighty internet. Approximately one egg with 1/4 cup milk or so, sprinkles of cinnamon powder, stir together, dunk the bread on each side and plop onto a hot griddle, flipping to cook each side until done to your liking.

French toast in process.

Not having made it with cinnamon bread before, it didn’t occur to me that it might brown faster or burn around the raisins. Whatever. I’m not claiming excellence – it tasted better than it looks! Same goes for the egg yolk that broke when I flipped it, but it still ended up over medium, as I was hoping.

Final touch – fresh strawberries purchased on a day-run to Nassau yesterday for errands and groceries. Occasionally, fresh strawberries will come through our local stores, but it’s a treat, so I grabbed a box of pretty-looking ones in Nassau.

Breakfast is served.

As always, Angel maintained an alert post beside me while I ate, anxious for accidental droppings or not-so-accidental handouts.

Anything for me?

And this pic just because she’s so doggone cute.

I wasn’t giving her any handouts, but – with the camera taking her picture and all – she knew I was still paying attention to her. So she diligently held her “sit” position to show me what a good girl deserving of treats she must be. In fact, she was so intent on holding her pose that her back legs were slowly sliding out from underneath her! Cracks me up . . .

Still waiting – and slowly spread-eagling.

Eventually, she gave up on the pose, got more comfortable, but still stayed right beside me – just in case.

I’m right here if you change your mind.

I didn’t change my mind, and I polished off the whole plate.

Mmmmmmm.

So, that’s been my morning so far. Well, that plus the dishes and blogging about it all.

It just made me HAPPY this morning to make French Toast. Temporary, fleeting, minor, low-key, whatever. But every little bit of happiness must surely be a good thing. Today, for me, I found happiness in “treating” myself to postpone laundry and computer errands. I found happiness in a friend’s generosity of gifting me bread. I found happiness in the fresh homemade goodness itself. I found happiness in satisfying a craving for French Toast. I found happiness in a childhood favorite syrup. I found happiness in fresh berries. I found happiness in Angel’s antics. I found happiness in the view of the sea as I cooked. I found happiness in the contentment of a full belly.

Realizing that I couldn’t remember a single day of making mid-week French Toast for myself in more than a decade of lawyering, I found appreciation and happiness in simply having the time to putter with all of this today.

The “big” things in life are momentous, important and sometimes life-changing. But it’s the little things in every single day that give shape to how we feel on that particular day. Those little moments accumulate into the whole of the day. Mine is off to a good start! I hope you find some little pleasures in your day, too. Cheers, friends!

9 Responses to What’s So Special About French Toast?

  • One of the things that makes me happy is reading your blog posts! It is the little things that really are important, taking a break and taking a breath. The french toast sounds extremely yummy and Angel is adorable. Reminds me of my little shih tzu when we are cooking. Have an awesome day Dawn.

  • Dawn says:

    And that, in turn, makes ME happy, Mara! I'm so glad to bring even the slightest of smiles to you and all of the Better Life readers. Hugs to your dog, and thanks so much for sharing.

  • Anonymous says:

    The best stories are built on universal lessons — "little" things made big, or "big things made little. This is a great example of how a small thing can be very meaningful because it provides a connection with others — not to mention a magnificent breakfast!

  • Great blog my friend…I am hungry just looking at the pix…

  • Dawn says:

    Thank you for your very wise comment. I love connecting with you Better Lifers! I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

  • Dawn says:

    Thanks, Tom! I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. Now go get some breakfast. 😉

  • Dawn says:

    Oops. I replied to you but it showed up below. Didn't want you to think I was ignoring you! 🙂 Thanks again.

  • Sarah says:

    Love the post, Neighbor! lol…btw, the bread maker has gone on to the great department store in the sky. I actually managed to kill it. I found happiness in getting back HOME to the island today. I cleaned and whipped up some wonderful, garlicky bean dip, and generally just nested. Happy Independence Day, fellow "ex-pat".

  • Dawn says:

    Glad you liked the post, Sarah. R.I.P. to your bread maker! Welcome home – I thought I noticed some signs of life over your way. Happy 4th!

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