Might Even Fly
Made some French toast Saturday, and it was not bad. The morning was spent assessing what the kids do and don’t need for school and making a short list and some shopping and packing; the afternoon found us reading or napping or both. It was a stormy day, cloudy and chilly and for the first time I felt autumn in the air. I like “autumn” better than “fall.” Sounds more like what that time of year IS, though “fall” provides a nice counter to “spring.” Anyway, I felt it on my skin and in my bones, and that led to a batch of French toast, with bacon on the side. Perfect on a cool, late-summer eve with clouds burgeoning out of the west and a fire in the fireplace.
School shopping has become less of an ordeal these past few years. It used to be a bit crazy with three of them along, trying on clothes and picking out notebooks and back packs and pens. College is different. We might pick up a pair of jeans or two and a couple of shirts, and notebooks and shampoo and toothpaste, of course. Thing is, the kids are older, and are forming their own world views, and to our relief they say things like, “The one I have is good enough” or “Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it doesn’t work” or “I think I’ll wait til next year to get a new one.” Sheew. They’ve become concerned with how much they are accumulating, whether or not the food they eat is sustainably grown, the world of politics, the welfare of refugees, the melting polar ice caps. They want less more than more. They want to eat and study and sleep and map out in their thoughts how they are going to make a difference.
While doing some research of my own recently, I learned that if ducks eat too much bread, it can cause something called “angel wing”— the wings end up pointing laterally instead of resting on the body, and this often renders a duck unable to fly. And if a duck can’t fly, it will soon die. I found this information fascinating, and sad. I believe it. Look at human beings. We tend to overeat. We bog ourselves down with things and stuff, and some people end up unable to walk through their home without navigating through stacks and piles. Some people work too much. Some can’t get enough clothing.
I must say, I’m grateful to the kids for reminding me of the value of “less,” of the value in simplicity, of the lightness in “Enough.” I imagine, with Enough, a person might feel good. Might sing more. Might even fly. Only one way to find out.
Next time your day isn’t going so well, or the weather isn’t conducive to time out and about, get yourself some real maple syrup made somewhere in Minnesota, and some real butter and a big ol’ glass of milk. This recipe has “comfort” written all over it.
Banana Bread French Toast
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ cup sour cream
1 cup milk
2 T butter
1 tsp cinnamon, optional
Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing well. Add the flour, salt and baking soda, beating until just combined. Mix in the bananas and vanilla and stir in the sour cream. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake it for about an hour.
Let bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the French toast, whisk together the eggs and milk (and cinnamon if you wish) until blended. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Cut the bread into thick 1½-inch slice and dip each piece into the custard, turning the slices to coat. Place the bread into the hot pan, repeating with remaining slices of bread. Cook each slice for about 3 minutes before flipping to cook on the other side. Continue to cook until the French toast is golden brown. Serve with fresh sliced bananas, maple syrup and/or powdered sugar.
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