• The It's Over Issue

    Bake Up Your Break Up

    The It's Over Issue
    French toast crop

    Photo by author

    Bake Up Your Break Up

    What happened isn't really important, it's what you do now that matters. And what you should do is make something to eat.

    Not just for survival or to displace your weird feelings, which are both legit. I'm talking about the metaphorical, breaking of bread kind of sustenance, because that relationship might be over, but you aren't.

    This recipe for baked French toast got me through a breakup precipitated by the onset of a no-sleep, can't-eat, heart-won't-stop-racing, constant-panic-attack clinical depression. On Friday nights, I would put this together so that, no matter how shitty I did or didn't get, I could drag myself out of bed long enough to pop the pan in the oven the next morning. Every Saturday, my crew and I would get together, turning our individual traumas and heartbreaks into collective healing through the comfort of food and community. This is the kind of cooking that fills bellies and hearts at the same time.

    It's easy to prepare and will impress anyone you share it with. It's also infinitely adaptable: make it savory or sweet, and if you want to make it vegan, just use your preferred substitutes for the milk and eggs. I recommend coconut milk and a half cup pumpkin puree for a sweet version, and plain almond milk and a quarter cup cornstarch for your savory version.

    Overnight Baked French Toast
    1 whole loaf white bread, cut into 1-inch slices
    3 eggs
    3 cups milk
    3 tablespoons sugar/maple syrup/your favorite sweetener (if you have a sweet tooth)
    ½ teaspoon salt
    Butter (for the pan)
    10-inch round pan, or 9 by 13-inch pan

    Let's talk flavor theory for a second. For this recipe, there are two kinds of flavorings: the kind that you will whisk with the milk and eggs and soak into the bread (e.g., whiskey, cinnamon, grated parmesan, thyme) and the kind you will layer between the slices of bread (e.g, toasted nuts, chocolate chips, caramelized onions, shredded cheddar). The rest is up to your imagination. Sliced ham and gruyere? Go for it, you bourgeois fuck. That sounds delicious, but it's going to be just as satisfying if you keep it basic.

    1. Grease your pan. If you like it crispy, use a 9 by 13-inch pan. If you prefer a more custard-like bread pudding, use a 10-inch round pan.

    2. Layer your bread in the pan. You want the slices tightly packed to maximize the crust. If you are adding any chunky delicious things, sprinkle them on top of each layer before adding the next.

    3. Whisk the milk, eggs, salt, sugar (if using) and any seasonings together, and pour over the bread.

    4. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator overnight.

    5. Bake at 425° F for 30 minutes until golden brown and only the slightest bit wobbly. This could take as long as 45 minutes to an hour if you use the 10-inch round pan.

    6. Slice it up and get down on it. You deserve it.

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