As I nervously rang the doorbell, I stopped to check what I was wearing. Is this cool enough for a french toast brunch? Am I cool enough for a french toast brunch? This is so adult.
When I agreed to take on the honor of trying our editor-in-chief Samantha Brunn’s homemade apple french toast, I was excited and terrified at the same time.
Yay! French toast. But also, let me go scream into a pillow because I have to review the closest thing I have to a boss’s cooking, and I want her to like me.
I am still fairly new to The Student, so the last thing I wanted to do was tell her that her breakfast was sub par. And if it was sub par, I’d have to tell her because my mother taught me not to lie.
Samantha greets me at the door, and I walk back with her toward the kitchen. I sat on a stool sheepishly, and awaited further instructions. Ceili Doyle, our managing editor and Samantha’s housemate, tells me that the french toast is running a bit behind schedule due to a lack of vanilla.
While Samantha’s housemates went for a grocery run, I sat and silently watched her slice cranberry cinnamon brown sugar challah bread she had bought the day before from the farmer’s market.
I hate awkward silence almost more than I hate children. And I really don’t like children.
That being said, I’m also terrified of pretty much any type of social interaction, and I didn’t want Sam thinking I was some creep sitting in her kitchen awkwardly waiting for french toast.
So, I started by asking her where she got this recipe from. She informed me that the inspiration came from multiple sources. While she got the idea for apple french toast from the internet, the concoction that the bread was going to be dipped into before being fried came from her mother’s old french toast recipe. She detailed how her mom always used to dip the bread into a mixture containing milk, egg, cinnamon and vanilla. (Hence, the importance of the vanilla grocery run.)
However, in the end, she believed that she was “winging it,” like most things.
While we patiently waited for our vanilla, she started slicing honeycrisp apples that she bought back home in Wooster, Ohio. While she lined the bottom of the pan with the apple slices, I acknowledged that I was also from northeast Ohio. I was elated to find someone else who knew what Giant Eagle was, and didn’t just accept Kroger for their standard of grocery stores.
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She glazed brown sugar and honey over the apple slices, while I asked her tantalizing questions like what her favorite article she ever wrote for the newspaper was and her feelings about people hating on Taylor Swift.
Spoiler alert: We both agree that everyone should stop hating Taylor Swift.
Finally, the vanilla came and this is when the toast was truly frenched. She started dipping the bread slices into her mother’s concoction and frying the bread.
The conversation eventually shifted to what I wanted to do with my career, what I’m involved in on campus and how passionate I am about the #FreeBritney movement and pop culture in general.
She might have burned a few pieces of bread, but honestly I didn’t notice or care. The brunch became more about getting to know each other than about trying french toast. The food was simply an added bonus.
She laid the bread on top of the glazed apple slices, and topped them off with more apple slices and honey-brownsugar glaze. She put what could now be described as an apple french toast casserole in the oven for ten minutes while we continued our conversation.
By the time the french toast was done, I felt like I was now eating brunch with friends instead of reviewing The Miami Student editor-in-chief’s french toast with her housemates.
The french toast was amazing, by the way. The cranberries in the bread were my favorite part because it added an extra fruity component that enhanced the overall flavor of the toast. Admittedly I believe that apple-flavored anything is automatically scrumptious.
After we all fiercely devoured our french toast, I hopped into the car with Samantha and her two housemates: opinion editor Kate Rigazio and columnist Kirby Davis. I felt as if I was Cady Heron in “Mean Girls” as a journalism newcomer being accepted by The Plastics, and it was everything I always wanted.