I really want to eat some french toast right now. I don't know why, but I really do.
Let me tell you a story.
Many years ago, in a land far far away where magical fairies roamed the city streets with their huge machetes and giant monster rats torpedoed their way down back alleys, I lived in an apartment building with several roommates. As it happened, one of my roommates was German.
One day my German roommate was cooking something in the kitchen. This something smelled good.
My curiosity was piqued, so I strolled into the kitchen to examine his culinary concoctions. What I saw at that moment was the most incredible vision, something so amazing I thought I was going to die and go to heaven (or hell, unfortunately my whole heaven/hell situation is still up in the air).
What I saw was magnificent, dazzling, beyond reproach...
What I saw was...
Up to that point I had never eaten french toast, let alone seen a french toast. Frankly, I thought french toast was the great American myth, created so Americans would have some sort of reason to like us French people.
You see, I had never eaten french toast in France. I hadn't even ever heard a French person mention french toast. Maybe 'le french toast' was part of some unspoken secret that French people all knew of but never talked about. Maybe it worked like this, maybe when you were born in France you were born with an instant knowledge of french toast and how to make it, a magical knowledge you had from birth due to your being born on French soil. And maybe there was some unwritten code, some law, that said that if you ever talked about french toast you would be guillotined.
And the reason why I, a French citizen, didn't have this french toast knowledge? I was born in Belgium.
So, is all this possible? Of course.
In the end, my German roommate showed me how to make this magical bread. And yes, I know there is sweet sweet irony in this, a German kid teaching a French kid how to make something called french toast!
Later, after I had tasted the heaven that is french toast, I became extremely angry. A question kept gnawing at my soul, fueling my anger... Why, why oh why had we never eaten french toast during my childhood? We were French for godsakes, we ate croissants, reblochon, camembert, pont l'eveque, crepes, you get the point, except we never ate the one thing that truly mattered, french toast.
Little did I know the answers to all my questions would change me forever and force me to reevaluate everything I stood for, my moral code, my philosophical underpinnings, everything...
So came the day where I was to face my mother and find out the truth. It started off badly, I accused my mother of terrible things, telling her she had ruined my childhood.
Then I learned the real reason why I had a childhood sans french toast.
My mother told me everything...
French toast wasn't chic. It wasn't hip. It wasn't even semi-cool. The reality was that throughout French history french toast had been a last resort for the poorest of the poor. You ate french toast if you were starving and suffering through famine. And, most surprising of all, french toast isn't called 'french toast' in France! It's called 'pain perdu.' Lost bread...
So, this 'pain perdu,' it was made with bread that was old and stale, bread too hard to be eaten, but with the mix of eggs and milk, it became soft and edible. It was very calorific, especially if you had nothing else to eat.
So that's it. All my illusions were destroyed. If I couldn't believe in the immaculate greatness of french toast anymore, what could I believe in?
But all that being said, french toast is still the best food on earth, well, not quite, but it comes a close second to chocolate...