It all began with a little recipe book that Mr. Torres found at a garage sale last weekend. The title of the book was The Way to a Man’s Heart and the cover features a young woman with a dress, apron and high heels who is holding a fresh out of the oven pie. I have yet to find an occasion in which I need to do my cooking while wearing a cute little dress and three inch heels. But if I ever do, I’ll be sure to bake a pie (and stand around holding it so that such a rare event can be captured in a picture).
I have never been one to say no to a new cookbook, so we handed over a quarter and congratulated ourselves on such a good find.
The book is a compilation of recipes from The Gas Service Co that was printed in 1953. It, therefore, includes plenty of recipes that involve the broiler, beets and canned pineapple. That being said, it didn’t take me too long to skim through the majority of the recipes.
One thing that I enjoyed about my new little cookbook was the addition of clever poems that were included a the beginning of each section. There was a poem about meat, a poem about stews, one for salads, so on and so forth. However, when I reached the bread section, I was met with this;
“Breathes there a wife with soul so dead;
Who to her husband has never said:
‘This is my own real, home made bread’.”
Now, I am well aware that just because Mr. Torres has never had homemade bread, it does not mean that I have a dead soul. There are many wives who have beautiful, vibrant souls and couldn’t make homemade bread if their lives depended on it. And I am equally sure that there has been at least one wife somewhere that had a dark, dead soul and made her husband fresh, homemade bread every day (or at least every week). Still, a poem is a poem and a challenge is still a challenge even if it was written over half a century ago. Although I still have a loooong way to go, when it comes to being a Mrs., I like to do my best. If it was homemade bread that Mr. Torres was needing and/or wanting, then homemade bread he would have. Nevermind that I didn’t ever ask Mr. Torres is that was indeed what he needed or wanted, my cookbook told me all I needed to know.
Fortunately, after making up my mind to bake some bread, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to tackle.
If this picture doesn’t make you want to spend time in the kitchen, then there probably is nothing that will.
I found this wonderful looking picture on one of my favorite food blogs, What’s For Lunch Honey? It is chocolate and pistachio French toast. Because the blog is out of Germany (or maybe I just need to get out more), the recipes regularly call for ingredients that are not as well known here in the U.S. For example, this French toast recipe calls for brioche bread (never heard of it). The recipe for brioche bread calls for saffron (heard of it, but not familiar with it), quark (never head of it) and muscavado sugar (never heard of it). After a little research, I discover that brioche bread is a buttery french bread, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, quark is a type of cheese and muscavado is unrefined, dark sugar. Sounds like a lot of work for French toast.
A quick search for more I-do-my-grocery-shoppping-at-WalMart friendly brioche recipes yielded this highly praised recipe found at food.com.
It is a super detailed recipe that has nothing but positive feedback. It looked like a winner to me.
After many cups of flour, two sticks of butter, three rises and thirty minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, I pulled this out of the oven (if only I had thought to slip into a cute dress and heals). A dead soul no more! This was my own, real home made bread that I was serving to Mr. Torres for breakfast.
It smelled wonderful, looked beautiful and sliced exactly like I would hope homemade bread would slice (or any bread for that matter). However, when we finally got around to eating the final product, it tasted like…well, bread. That’s it. There was really nothing special about it at all except for the fact that it was warm. I had spent so much time looking forward to this highly-acclaimed, buttery French bread, that I had forgotten that, afterall, it was just bread.
Verdict: Mr. Torres and I enjoyed our breakfast of buttered brioche bread with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top, but what we’re really looking forward to is using the brioche bread in the French toast recipe!
I leave you with a revision of the little bread poem.
Breathes there a wife who is worth a boast;
Who serves her husband Chocolate Pistachio French toast.
Sounds like a challenge to me!