Thirty-one might seem like a young age to write a culinary autobiography, but with her first book, A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg has penned an endearing love letter to food and family--and contributed the latest entry in the quickly growing genre of quarter-life food memoirs.
Fans of Wizenberg's blog, Orangette, will be familiar with her life story: How the Seattle native went from an Oklahoma City childhood with food-adoring parents to life as a Seattle-based food blogger, with several happy sojourns in Paris in between.
A Homemade Life is organized chronologically into 45 essays, each of which introduces a recipe. But the book gains real emotional weight when Wizenberg writes about her husband and her father, Burg, who passed away in 2002, two years before Wizenberg began blogging. The story of how she met her husband, Brandon, via Orangette, includes the recipe for the lemon-yogurt cake that first inspired him to write to her. And an entire chapter rhapsodizing on her father's breakfast talents ends with this excellent recipe for deep-fried French toast--our favorite new brunch trick.
Burg's French Toast
Recipe adapted from A Homemade Life (Simon and Schuster)
Makes 2 to 3 servings
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Canola or other neutral vegetable oil, for frying
6 to 8 slices day-old bread, sliced on the diagonal about 3/4-inch thick
Pure maple syrup, for serving
1. In a wide, shallow bowl or baking dish, whisk the eggs with the milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
2. In a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, pour in enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom; heat over moderately high heat until shimmering.
3. Meanwhile, place 2 or 3 slices of the bread in the egg mixture. Let stand, turning once, for about 2 minutes. Line a plate with paper towels.
4. Using tongs, transfer the bread slices to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the bread to the paper towels and let stand for 2 minutes before serving. Repeat with the remaining bread slices; serve hot with maple syrup.