I just want to point out that so much in France is paradoxical. I think it’s simply quite an obstinate culture.
The well-known French paradox is how they eat so much butter, cheese, red meat, pastries etc. and yet have a very low rate of heart disease. They remain stubbornly healthy, refusing to believe that their food couldn’t be superior to that of the rest of the world. I have a few of my own paradoxes to add however.
For example, for a culture who are so obsessed with cooking and their supposed superiority in this domain, why is it that any apartment you rent is almost guaranteed to have nothing but a microwave and 2 hobs at best? Furthermore, tea drinking is a notoriously English love-affair but the aisles of the supermarket are packed with every type of tea you could imagine, and yet I’ve rarely if ever seen a French person drink any of it. Then you add the fact that they are obsessed with the quality of their food, and yet they smoke all the time, which must dull their eating experience.
And then there’s toast. The French also use the word “toast”, but they mean something different from what we mean- they’re talking about these small, mega-crunchy crackers you can have with cheese or paté. What we call toast is ‘pain grillé‘. So where does that leave us with French toast? Well, it’s not really what we would normally call toast, since it’s actually bread drenched with a lovely combination of egg & milk and fried to gooey perfection – not toasted. The French don’t call it this of course. They call it ‘pain perdu’ or ‘lost bread’. Are you keeping up?
The upside of it all, is that I can successfully make this in my kitchen, which is more than I can say for most of the unfortunate culinary attempts of the weekend. We won’t dwell on those.
Recipe: Savoury Toast-Related Eggy Sunday Brunch in France
(for one person)
Beat up an egg with a glug of milk in a shallow, rectangular dish. Add a pinch of salt, pepper & chopped herbs of your choice. Cut some bread (using up stale bread is a good idea) into triangles. Heat up some oil in a frying pan, and when hot dip the bread into the egg mixture, covering both sides, for just a few seconds and add to the pan. Keep an eye on things, you want it nicely browned on both sides. Serve with wholegrain mustard & goat’s cheese.