French Toast Before It Was French

The Rotary Club of Nanaimo has a used book sale twice a year, and I always go to see if they have any new cookbooks in their antique book room.  Most times there are a couple that catch my eye, but a few times I’ve left empty-handed.  The most recent sale netted me 3 new books, one of which is WWII era etiquette (how does one handle a dinner party where both officers and enlisted men are present?) and the other two are, of course, cookbooks.

One is the Prize Winner’s 5th Annual Cook Book, by Edith Adams, a Vancouver Sun publication from 1938.   It’s a bit tattered, but full of good things.  I’m sure I’ll get around to blogging a few recipes from it sooner or later.  I also have the tenth edition, which is from right after the war.

20171111_110359-01.jpegThe one I used today to make our breakfast is The People’s Home Recipe Book from 1920.  My plan was pancakes or waffles, but that seems to be all I blog about when it comes to breakfast, (that, and weird ways with eggs) so when I saw a recipe for American Toast, I was intrigued.  Turns out it’s just plain old French Toast, but hey, that’s always good, so I went with that.

The recipe is basic –

American ToastTo 1 egg thoroughly beaten, add a little salt and 1 cup of sweet milk.  Slice light bread and dip into the mixture, allowing each slice to absorb some of the milk; then brown on a hot buttered griddle.  Serve very hot.

The recipe immediately below it also sounds tasty –

Good Toast Spread thin slices of light bread with butter, then cover with sugar; grate a little nutmeg and put a tablespoonful of cream on each slice; brown in the oven; serve hot.

I can see trying that one, too, at some point.  Very similar to modern cinnamon toast, but I sure do love nutmeg!

Our American Toast came out crisp and delicious, and to us, it seemed identical to French Toast, which is not all that surprising considering it’s the same way I make French toast, minus the dash of salt.  It’s hard to beat as an easy breakfast using stale bread.  We ate it slathered with homemade strawberry freezer jam and it was delicious, but I forgot about taking any pictures until after we’d finished eating.  That happens a lot!

I fantasize about someday owning a kitchen cabinet like this one.

20171111_120528-01.jpegThe People’s Home Recipe Book is a neat old cookbook, though my copy is quite musty.  The former owner filled the Additional Recipes Supplement pages with her own recipes for Dill Pickles, Mother’s Tomato Catsup, Rhubarb Chutney, Olivettes, Pickled Apples, Blueberries, Mrs. Reid’s Salad Dressing, and White Fruit Cake in her beautiful handwriting, but gives us no other clues as to her identity.  I love finding personal additions in my old cookbooks, and hand written recipes are my favourite finds.  I like knowing that the cookbooks I love so much have been used and loved before I got them, so spatters on the pages don’t bother me either.

What is your favourite cookbook, and what makes it your favourite?  I’d love to know!


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