HPNM

How to Feed a Picky Kid

Every family has a picky eater, and in ours it was my baby brother, Tom. His hamburgers were mayonnaise only, his salads “honeymoon” (lettuce only), and steaks not medium well, but well. Very well.

These specifications presented a challenge to our mother, whose patience was as limited as Tom’s stubbornness was infinite. Breakfasts were an ordeal; the merest fleck of white in a serving of scrambled eggs would send him into a sour sulk, complete with crossed arms, a lowered head, and a puckered brow.

He was an absolute tyrant. Bacon had to be evenly cooked, but not crisp, and his biscuits had to come from the center of the pan. Now I wish I’d asked him why.

Eventually, mother found a dish that Tom adored so much that it was all he ate for breakfast until he went to Ole Miss. Even after he’d finished graduate school, she’d make it for his breakfast when he came to visit. You’d better believe he ate it.

We called it French toast, but this simple recipe of bread dipped in beaten eggs and milk and fried is very old and known by many names, most notably pain perdu, “lost bread”. French toast is most often served as a sweet dish much like pancakes or waffles with powdered sugar, syrup and fruit, but Tom preferred it simply seasoned with salt and pepper. We usually made it with Wonder bread, but it’s good with pretty much any sliced bread.

Beat three eggs in a cup of milk, season with a little salt and pepper; add vanilla or almond extract if you plan to serve it sweet. Sop dried bread slices in egg/milk mixture and pan-fry in butter until nicely browned.

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