Dear Darling Ones,
I made French toast for lunch today. It was a practically dinner kind of lunch, because I had work to do and I wasn’t very hungry. I made lunch today instead of taking a nap and then eating cookies once I woke up.
Now that I’m on the other side of having COVID, I’m trying to re-establish the habits of a mildly-functional adult whose surviving through a multi-year pandemic in a dumpster fire of a nation that worships the dollar above all else. It’s not easy.
Much like how I tried to sneak into the New Year, I’m trying to sneak into my old, healthier habits. And by sneak in, I mean that this morning after trying to rouse myself to get up and exercise I decided maybe I should call January a loss and re-establish all the things in February.
After all, I said to myself, maybe you need one more week of taking it easy to make sure COVID isn’t merely over, but really most sincerely over.
Have we discussed my fraught relationship with French toast? Probably. This blog is nearly twenty-two years old, what haven’t we discussed?
French toast is my favorite of all the syrup-involved breakfasts. For me, French toast is a love-language unto itself. It was the very first thing I ever learned to cook. For a long time, it was the only thing I knew how to cook. When I was young, I made French toast for my sisters every weekend. It was how I took care of them.
The first time I ever felt shame regarding our poverty and my parents’ neglect was about French toast. For reasons I cannot remember my older cousins came over when my parents weren’t home. I was about to make breakfast for my sisters. One of the cousins asked what I was making.
“She’s making French toast,” the other cousin said with a lot of disdain in her voice. “It’s the only thing she knows how to make.”
In the moment I was ashamed because I thought I should know how to cook more things. If I really loved my sisters I could make eggs or waffles or something other than French toast. In retrospect the disdain was probably about a ten-year-old kid making French toast all the time for her siblings. I had tried making pancakes and fucked them up so badly Sister #3 still tells the story. She loves to tell people how she hates pancakes because I made them for her once and they were burned on the outside and raw in the middle. She hasn’t eaten a pancake since. She never includes the part about how I was a ten-year-old caring for three kids and doing my best.
Her repetition of that story every time pancakes* are eaten or mentioned for the last forty years is probably why French toast is my favorite.
It’s hard to fuck up French toast and also it is delicious. I always eat French toast with peanut butter and Log Cabin maple syrup. Sometimes, like today, I put bananas on it too.
Back in the before times when Sister #3 and The Tibbles were a part of my life, I used to get up at seven a.m. every morning, drive over to her house, and get The Tibbles on the bus so she didn’t have to pay for before school daycare. I would start to wake them up once I got there and at the same time I would make French toast. I made French toast for the Tibbles every Monday through Friday for months and months. I even brought the ingredients from my house because that’s all they ever wanted for breakfast and my sister never had eggs, cinnamon, or the good bread. I loved the routine of it. I loved how after they ate, I’d load the dishwasher and they’d go upstairs to brush their teeth and wash their faces. I loved taking care of them. I loved taking care of my sisters too.
And today when I made French toast for lunch, I loved taking care of myself.
*For many years my parents owned a diner that only served breakfast and lunch. Sister #3 frequently worked at that diner. Can you imagine how many times I’ve heard that story? Infinity number of times.