Today I am thankful for… french toast sticks.
I can’t remember the last time I ate them. Probably high school, maybe college. The last time I went to the grocery store, I saw them and couldn’t resist the temptation. And this morning we ate them for breakfast and I was flooded with memories and thankfulness.
At the house where I grew up, there was a field behind our house that was undeveloped. As a result we had our fair share of woodland creatures that would come around. Namely a squirrel who liked to have breakfast with me. Mom and I named him Alvin. He was a rotund little guy, and it was our fault. Every morning he would sit on the ledge of the kitchen window and patiently wait to eat breakfast with me. We had those crank out windows and took the screens off in the winter so we could see outside better. So I would crank out the window, and Alvin would step back and wait for me to put food on the ledge. He never tried to run into the house. Then we would eat breakfast together. If I was late, he would press his face against the glass and with his front paws out, looking in, wondering what was up with the delay. French toast sticks remind me of how this simple daily ritual brought so much joy and laughter to our morning routine.
And in case you didn’t know, there is a right way and a wrong way to heat up french toast sticks. I confess that this morning due to laziness I used the microwave. But that’s the wrong way. After a few minutes, if you don’t inhale them fast enough, microwaved french toast sticks get oddly hard. I don’t understand the physics of it, but it’s true. However… if you use the toaster oven… food glorious food. Slighty crispy on the outside, perfectly soft on the inside. This is the right way. I’m thankful to my mom for teaching me the right way.
This morning’s french toast sticks were cinnamon flavor. Mind you french toast sticks were a cheat used on school mornings when time was tight and Dad was still working (or sleeping because his shift just ended). But on the weekends we had real french toast. And it was a special day if we had St. Germain Bake Shoppe English Muffin Bread on hand to make it. But Dad always made french toast from scratch and always put cinnamon on our french toast. He still does if I ask nicely when I visit. I am thankful for my Dad for putting love and craftsmanship into every slice, even if he would cover his with strawberry jelly, much to my confusion.
Sometimes it’s helpful to go back. To remember.
I don’t want to forget the squirrel at our window. Or the way Mom would speak as if she were the squirrel, giving him personality and making me laugh before I left for school.
I don’t want to forget how awesome of a cook my Dad is, and how he makes things in ways no one else can match. And he does it just for me, because he loves me.
I don’t want to forget that the little things are actually the big things. That sometimes love can be wrapped in a yellow box that sits in the freezer.
I admitted to making french toast sticks the wrong way. If I close the door and don’t start it right away, the microwave flashes this message. I think it’s telling me that it’s hungry.