French toast has significance importance in my life, as it was something that my mom made us after a hard day of work. At a young age, my parents divorced. I lived mostly with my mom in an apartment in Montebello and saw my dad on the weekends, who lived in an apartment in Whittier. Growing up, I loved my parents, and like any kid, wished my parents would get back together. I went to catholic school in East Los Angeles (Our Lady of Lourdes), where my brother and I had a babysitter who watched us while my mom worked. My mom was a great cook and made many different types of food, but our favorite comfort food would have to be her french toast topped with Welch’s grape jelly. My mom, being a young single mother, had my brother and me to feed and this was something that she could do cheaply and quickly. We always had Wonder bread, eggs and grape jelly on hand and my mom could whip this up into delicious french toast in no time. I grew up on Welch’s grape jelly and Wonder bread using it for toast, peanut butter and jelly and of course French toast.
My Mom’s french toast recipe – 8 slices of wonder bread, 3 eggs, a little milk, oil and a jar of Welch’s jelly. Soak the bread in the slightly beaten eggs with milk and put in the cast iron frying pan with oil. Turn the bread to cook until golden brown and serve with butter and grape jelly.
The history behind french toast is that it was created by “medieval European cooks who needed to use every bit of food they could find to feed their families. They knew old, stale bread (French term ‘pain perdu’ literally means ‘lost bread’) could be revived when moistened and heated. Cooks would have added eggs for additional moisture and protein. Medieval recipes for “French” also suggest this meal was enjoyed by the wealthy. These recipes used white bread (the very finest, most expensive bread available at the time) with the crusts cut off, something a poor, hungry person would be unlikely to do.”
Welch’s “began over 140 years ago, when Thomas Bramwell Welch decided to serve grape juice instead of wine at his church. Welch’s was the first to pasteurize bottled fruit juice using Concord grapes, paving the way for a future industry. After its debut at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Welch’s Grape Juice went on to become the national family favorite it is today. At the heart of Welch’s are about 1,000 family farmers who make everything possible. Each and every farmer is a grape growing expert, who takes great pride in the vineyards they’ve cultivated for generations. It’s our farmer’s dedication to growing the best Concord and Niagara grapes that’s allowed us to provide families with the delicious juices, jams and jellies they’ve loved for years.”
“Wonder bread’s history started in 1921, when Indianapolis consumers were teased that “Wonder” was coming on May 21st. What arrived on that historic day was Wonder Bread—a product that would stir the nation’s imagination like no other and that, nearly a century later, continues to do so today. With a name inspired by the “wonder” of the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway and iconic balloon-shaped imagery to match, Wonder Bread soon became a common sight in kitchens across America. Everyone’s favorite white bread really took off in the 1930s when pre-sliced bread became all the rage. Today, Wonder Bread is still enjoyed by millions of Americans across the nation, where it’s packed in lunchboxes, served in restaurants and craved by those young and old.”
On the weekends when we spent time with my dad, if he wasn’t cooking us up breakfast, which for him consisted of either chorizo and eggs, tamales, menudo, donuts, pan dulce, then we would go to the local diner Norms, The Grinder or Bob’s Big Boy. If we had the chance to eat out, I always went for the french toast or pig’s in a blanket. Restaurant french toast never disappointed, the thick bread, dusted in powder sugar with whipped butter on top and warm maple syrup, yes please. It wasn’t so much that the french toast was the best, but it was the time we spent with our dad that made it special.
My Mom’s french Toast has evolved throughout the years as we moved from Montebello to a beach house in Belmont Shore and it still happens to be one of my favorites. Instead of using wonder bread and grape jelly, we moved up to King’s Hawaiian bread and Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. This is by far the best french toast I’ve ever had and I never knew about the King’s Hawaiian restaurant. The way my mom prepared it and served it up was always something that we looked forward to.
My Mom’s french toast recipe – King’s Hawaiian round bread, 4 eggs, milk, splash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon, real butter, oil and Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. Mix together slightly beaten eggs with milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Slice the round bread into 1 inch thick pieces and soak in egg mixture. Heat cast iron frying pan with oil until hot and fry soaked bread pieces until golden brown on each side. Top with sliced butter and warm syrup. Bon appetite.
“Our mouthwatering tale begins in the 1950’s in Hilo, Hawaii. There Robert R. Taira, the Hawaiian-born son of Japanese immigrants opened his first bakeshop, Robert’s Bakery, after graduating top of his baking class. The first round, soft loaves of Original Recipe King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread were made here. The loaves rarely ever made it home before being devoured, and a local traditional island favorite was born. (Or should we say baked?) After nearly a decade of growing popularity, in 1963 the much-loved original shop expanded and moved to King Street in Honolulu, where it was renamed King’s Bakery. It didn’t take long for the new location to become a beloved institution as locals lined up around the block for Robert’s famous breads and cakes which were prepared and served with Aloha Spirit, an expression of caring and sharing that is an essential part of island culture.”
Credit for image given to rockinmama.nett
King Hawaiian’s French Toast – Ingredients; 4 Large eggs, 1/2 cup Milk, 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1 tablespoon Butter or oil for frying and KING’S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread. Preparation; Step 1 Slice bread crosswise so that each slice is about 1-inch thick. Cut larger slices into halves or thirds, if desired. Set aside. Step 2 In a shallow mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix occasionally to ensure its well-blended. Step 3 Quickly dip slices (do not soak) in egg mixture and cook in frying pan until golden brown on both sides. Step 4 Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with warm coconut or maple syrup.
Throughout my childhood, I have always loved french toast and it has been a source of comfort food to me in my life. Whether I’m making it for myself or ordering it at a restaurant, I’m always excited for that first bite. Thick pieces of bread covered in powdered sugar topped with whipped butter and a side of warm syrup or “pain par due,” which is stuffed french toast with an orange marmalade cream cheese filling, topped with powdered sugar, served with warm syrup, Mimi’s Cafe. Who knew bread soaked in egg could taste this good and give meaning to stale bread, besides just being used as croutons in salads or in making stuffing.
Credit image given to mmm-yoso.typepad.com
“French toast, which in France is known as ‘Pain Perdu’ (lost bread), is prepared using thin slices of baguettes. Its entire story begins and ends with putting a slice of bread into beaten egg and milk and then cooked in the frying pan. The only difference of its preparation might be in the quantity of the ingredients used to add the flavor for the bread you want. In Germany, the french toast is known as “armer ritter”. This term means “the poor knight”. The same process is being used in preparing the armer ritter. The bread is immersed in the milk and eggs and then fried in the pan. In Portugal, the french toast is served on Christmas Eve and is known as “rabanadas” which literally means “bread golden slices”. It is prepared in the same way as a traditional french toast. After being fried in the pan the Portuguese usually add honey to the bread which looks like golden bread. In Great Britain, there exists another version of french toast cooking. This magnificent piece of bread is soaked in the milk and beaten eggs. After frying it in the pan, it is served with tomatoes and cheese. This savory bread is known as “the eggy bread”. The french toast became popular in North America after the colonization of France by the United States of America and Canada.”
Being a mom myself it’s funny that my kids don’t share the same affection for french toast that I have. I’ve cooked french toast at home the way my mom made it and they are not a fan. They like grape jelly on their peanut butter sandwiches only and that’s just two of my kids. French toast from King’s Hawaiian or pain par due from Mimi’s Café is also only liked by two of them and not the same two. My younger one’s only like french toast sticks from Carl’s Jr, I don’t know where I went wrong with those two. I guess being on the go in the mornings Carl’s Jr was the closest thing to having french toast as I could get. Carl’s Jr by my house knows me well and they always oblige in the evening time when my kids have a fix for french toast. Now you can even buy Krusteaz frozen french toast which is a staple in my house, go figure.
Today you can get french toast almost anywhere and 24 hours a day at any restaurant or you can make it at home. There is such a variety out there depending on your taste buds. You can get them topped with fruit, stuffed with cream cheese or chocolate and made with different kinds of breads. There are so many different flavored syrups, sauces, butters or just good old C&H powdered sugar. No matter where I eat, french toast is always with me, along with the nostalgia of eating my mother’s french toast. Whether it be from Wonder bread and Welch’s grape jelly or the King’s Hawaiian round bread with Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, to me this is the best comfort food, because it was made by mom with love.
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