Saturday, 4 May 2013

French Toast and Saudi Friends

French Toast is one of my favourite home made breakfasts, closely followed by a very cheesy omelette (real cheese, not the plastic fantastic variety they sell in slices).  These eggy breakfasts are quick and easy to whip up in the tiny space in our unit called My Kitchen, and I can add extra bits and pieces to the omelette if I the feel the urge and the fridge is sufficiently stocked.  (The space would be called His Kitchen, but He can never find anything in there).

He prefers poached eggs on toast which I find a time consuming, fussy breakfast but, because I'm a good Wifey, a pan of water is set to simmer on the stove top as He is showering so when He steps into the kitchen all clean and scrubbed and shaved, his brekky is ready.

One day, a couple of Saudi sisters, and good friends, invited me round for breakfast.  We were chin wagging in the kitchen when they asked 'What do you like for breakfast?'  I told, them what I usually cook up when feeling like more than peanut butter on toast.

After expressing complete surprise that I do cook, they know I eat out a lot, they then asked,  What are poached eggs?  What is French Toast?  And how do you make an omelette?  These are all Western breakfasts, not usually whipped up in their Saudi kitchen.

One thing led to another and, next thing you know, the ladies are fossicking through the fridge and kitchen cupboards for all the ingredients and utensils required so I could  give a lesson on how to cook omelettes.     Not exactly everything was one hand.  We assessed the various types of cheeses we found,  and settled on the stuff in a jar.  And I'm going to buy N a fish slice - she only had a wooden spoon.  We had so much fun in that kitchen that morning, and the omelettes were delish with toast, some juice and sweet, saucepan simmered coffee.

The following week they invited me back, this time to teach them how to make French Toast.  They had been practicing the omelette, they said, and got it down pat.  Their husbands and parents had been enjoying the fruits of my lesson.  Now they wanted to extend their western culinary skills.  So a French Toast class ensued and, just to prove they had mastered Omelettes, those were cooked for our breakfast too.

A week later I got a very early morning phone call from one of the sisters.
'Have you had breakfast yet?'
'No', I replied.
'Do you want to come over now?'
'Sure', I said.

We whipped up French Toast in her apartment kitchen together as she told me she'd been making this very quick and easy dish almost every day since I showed them how.  Her husband loved it and each morning when she asked, "What do you want for breakfast?" he'd think for a moment, then say, "French Toast".

Their father asked them to learn how to make poached eggs as he's also been enjoying the occasional home cooked, Western breakfast.  So, our breakfast menu one morning included poached eggs on toast, though the ladies decided they aren't terribly keen on that dish, so I think Dad missed out!

We often get together for breakfast and are extending our menu to things less healthy, but totally tasty.  A chocolate brownie has been whipped up a couple of times with varying results.  And last week, I picked up a tub of cookie dough from the supermarket at a drastically reduced price.

That was, in fact, the only reason I bought the cookie dough.  After a number of decades on the planet, it was time, I decided, to try store bought cookie dough cookies.  N was skeptical about the quality of the end product but, being an adventurous type, she happily watched me spoon chunks of chocolate chip mixture onto a tray and bake them in her small bench top cooker to have after breakfast.    She, on the other hand, had made the most delicious cacao covered coconut and oat balls (a recipe handed over by her sister-in-law).

With the French Toast quickly dealt with, we tucked into the baking and, after trying both, I have to say,  her home made treats were much nicer than the store bought cookie dough.

I've mentioned my cooking escapades to a couple of people and they expressed surprise that Saudi women cook.  The perception is that the maid does everything, including meal preparation, while Saudi women swan around spending money.  Maybe the rich ones do.  But, in the homes that I frequent, they all cook, and very well, usually traditional meals and recipes handed down by their mother.

My friends have asked what else Hubster and I eat for breakfast at home.  Fried eggs on toast came to mind, as did mince on toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes, fruit with yogurt, porridge, cornflakes, homemade muesli, fried bread and left overs.  Hmmm..  Which one of those should I prepare at my next Friends For Breakfast cooking class?

Visiting these ladies is always a fun time and, whatever might be dished up, breakfast with friends is a really nice way to start the day in Saudi.

Ka Kite,

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