Monday, March 5, 2012

Pain Perdu

This is the time of year that is very hard to deal with for me. If you live in the Midwest, like I have my whole entire life, I bet you can relate. In the month of March, even late February you get some hints that spring is near. Signs like hearing birds that you have not heard for many months, seeing  buds on trees and some sprouting through the earth.  You may get some 50-60 degree days here and there but it is back to the 30's the next day to remind you that you need to be patient. The days are getting brighter.

 A melancholy sets in as we go through a shedding of the layers of winter and head into spring with such great expectations. Expectations of cleaning the house, opening windows to warmer breezes, shooting (my camera that is)  on the screened in porch, sitting in the yard with the dogs. The voices of children playing and laughing. Feeling the sun hit your skin and maybe a bug or two.  All reminders that things have changed. A new season has begun.

I have been doing some spring cleaning on my computer and culling through old photos. Something I tend to avoid. 

Since I started this blogging adventure I have amassed quite a collection of photos. I thought the other day I needed to go through them and delete what no longer mattered and kind of do an inventory of where I was and where I am headed.

It is hard sometimes looking at old works. It can be humbling but necessary. While going through photos I saw some mistakes,  bad lighting and composition. However, concentrating on moving forward is where my energy is.  It is always good to look at yourself wide open. To me this is how we really can grow and change. So I trashed  a ton of photos that to me were not great. What this did however was free up valuable computer space for the photos I will be taking in the future that will be great. 

I found this photo of french toast that I love. It was the grayest of days when I was culling so this really brightened my mood. I took this photo on the screened in porch one day last summer. I had meant to do a blog post then but things fell through the cracks and it never made it. 

I remember the food and how it tasted when I look at the photo. When I am done shooting I sample what I shoot and to tell you the truth whatever I make tastes better then.  The syrup I had warmed in the buffalo china pitcher which I placed in a pan of boiling water on the stove top. The butter was from Ireland and nice and salty. I sprinkled cinnamon around the plate for some extra oomph. 
It was warm and chewy with a soft buttery texture mixed with a sweet maple syrup which was warm and sticky. 

We love french toast in our household. I make it often with a day old bread. Hence the french name "pain perdu". 

"French toast is a dish we have borrowed from the French, who call it pain perdu', or lost bread...It is known in England as the poor knights of Windsor, which is the same phrase used in many countries: fattiga riddare' in Sweden; 'arme ridder' in Danish; and armer ritter' in German. One theory about how the latter name came about goes as follows: In olden times, one of the symbols of distinction between the gentry and the common herd was that the former were expected to serve dessert at dinner. Knights, of course, were gentry. But not all of them were rich. Those who were not, in order to maintain their status, made do with armer ritter', often served with jam."
---Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Food Encyclopedia, Craig Claiborne (p. 178)

Recipe French Toast

2 eggs
1 cup milk
pinch salt
few grinds of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon/sugar mixture
1/2-1 tsp vanilla
day old baguette, french

Mix all ingredients except bread. Dip bread into mixture very quickly. I use a kitchen tongs. Prepare in skillet on top of stove that is well greased with butter. Cook until golden brown.

Serve with fresh salted butter and the best maple syrup you can afford.

I love to warm the syrup up it adds and extra touch.

Serve with fresh fruit.


  1. I'm not from the midwest but from Sweden (though I live in Italy nowadays-so much better climate here) but I know exactly what you are talking about! And that is a beautifully bright and lovely photo.

    1. Hi Ilva,
      Thanks for the lovely words. Yes I heard Sweden is cold. I hosted a Swedish Dinner in December for some friends who live here from Sweden. We had Glog and swedish meatballs and a great time.
      Italy oh I am jealous. I have been to Rome, Florence and Genoa. I love the food and people.
      Nice connecting with you.
      Have a good week!