17 Comfort Foods For Deep Winter

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BOSTON – FEBRUARY 11: French Toast at Koy in Boston. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

6. French toast

You’ve probably seen this at brunch after brunch, as fancy as can be. Don’t let the fruit compotes and flavored syrups deter you, though. French toast is about the simplest comfort food out there. If you’ve got bread, eggs, milk, sugar, and a little bit of vanilla, you’re good to go.

This also might be one of the most ancient recipes on this list. The earliest known reference to something like french toast comes to us from about the 4th century. It’s mentioned in the Apicius, a collection of Roman recipes where it’s referred to simply as aliter dulcia, “another sweet dish”.

Seems a little dismissive, if you ask me. Certainly, it’s been a favorite amongst Western cultures for centuries. What we call french toast has gone under many names throughout its travels, including “eggy bread”, “Bombay toast”, “poor knights (of Windsor)”, “Spanish toast”, “pain de perdu (lost bread)”, and “German toast”. No telling why everyone seemed to think it had originated somewhere else.

The basic idea: get some thick-cut bread. Mix up an egg, vanilla, sugar, and a dash of milk. Dip the bread in the mixture, on both sides, making sure that the eggy sugar goop is soaked in. Fry it in a pan. Drizzle a little syrup over it. There’s even a variant made in Hong Kong, in which the whole thing is then fried.

Recipe: Do you really need a recipe? If you want an oven-based version, check out this recipe for classic french toast (Bon Appetit).

Healthier variation: Try some whole wheat bread, I guess.