Today I have a story for you about French toast. I was reminded of this story this week when here in the kitchen making a new version of gluten-free French toast, we were having a conversation about our travels and the foods we loved while travelling.
In 2000, I went travelling solo through the Middle East. In a small Arab town in Israel called Akko, I was hanging out in a square, drinking some coffee (yep, I once did that) when a guy came up to me whose name I can’t recall. He asked if I was Canadian. I was one of those travellers who had a Canadian flag sewn to my bag.
He told me that he was a tour guide and on one of his tours, a Canadian guest had given him a bottle of maple syrup. He didn’t know what to do with it. At the time, my cooking skills were pretty limited (meaning, I didn’t know how to cook at all), and so I told him about French toast – one of the only things I actually knew how to make. He asked if I would make him some.
Now, being a solo female traveller, I typically didn’t make it a habit to accept invitations to men’s homes in strange countries to cook them French toast, but he seemed sweet and told me his family would be there, too. I told him I would love to. I went to the store and picked up a package of pita bread, a dozen eggs, some butter and cinnamon, and later that evening, headed to the address he had given me.
His family home was about five stories high and very narrow. He greeted me at the door and we proceeded to walk up to the rooftop of his home where there were rugs and pillows, a small sheltered area and about twenty members of his family waiting to discover how to use maple syrup. And there in the middle was a small coal heated barbecue grill. This was what I was to use to make the French toast.
I scrambled the eggs, dipped in the pita, coated the pan in butter and began cooking up what I thought was the most amazing thing there ever was. I began serving it up with a sprinkle of cinnamon and let everyone pour on their own syrup.
Ever since then, every time I make French toast, I think about this man and his family all these years later, and where life may be finding them.
Since that time, I have become allergic to eggs, so I thought French toast was a thing of my distant past. But then last weekend, I had a yearning. I didn’t want to risk the face rash I get from eggs, and so I began searching online until I found inspiration from a few vegan French toast recipes I thought could be worked over and combined to make an egg-free batter for my gluten-free French toast.
And this is it, the mouthwatering perfect creation I came up with. It’s gluten-free French toast, and it’s vegan French toast too if you cook it in coconut. Of course, it’s made all the better with a slight drizzle of home-tapped Canadian maple syrup.Print