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Splurge First, Diet Later

September 30, 1993|MARION CUNNINGHAM

If you must count your calories, do it at lunch and dinner, but never at breakfast. Breakfast is the biggest favor you can give yourself--it sustains your spirit and body for the entire day.

An exception to the old Gaelic proverb that "a meal is worth nothing without its conversation," the daily breakfast table demands only civility, not enthusiasm. Silence is usually very welcome.

In his "Book of Food," Morton Shand wrote around the turn of the century: "Each meal has its own psychology to which we bring our temperaments and our stomachs--cheerfully, indifferently or reluctantly, as the case may be. A taciturn breakfaster may be a genial dinner companion. . . . For breakfast one should be visible, if invisibility is out of the question, but only to one's immediate familiars. Breakfast, an essentially unsociable meal, is an appropriate time to choose for disinheriting one's natural heirs."

I can only think that Shand was eating wretched food for breakfast to have such a dour attitude. I think his outlook would have been different if he had eaten either of the following breakfast dishes: French toast sandwich or Plato's pancakes.

The French toast sandwich is stunning. You must make it with two pieces of dense white bread, rather thinly sliced. You may spread the sandwich with preserves or fresh fruit puree. I make applesauce, ideal for this easy recipe, with the first Gravensteins from my local farmers market.

The recipe for Plato's pancakes might appear to be a drab little thing with a clumsy method (you barely mix the batter and leave lumps and streaks of flour), but they turn out amazingly. They are moist and light, and you should probably double the amount of the recipe when you make them.

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FRENCH TOAST SANDWICHES

4 thin slices dense white bread 1/2 cup fruit puree or jam 1 egg, beaten with 3 tablespoons water 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup sour cream Maple syrup

Spread 1 side of bread with puree, top with another slice, making sandwich. Dip sandwich into egg mixture and quickly turn, coating each side without soaking. Melt butter in skillet.

Quickly pan-fry sandwich on each side until golden. Spread top of each sandwich with sour cream and pour maple syrup to taste over. Makes 2 sandwiches.

Each serving contains about:

571 calories; 631 mg sodium; 166 mg cholesterol; 27 grams fat; 71 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 1.40 grams fiber.

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PLATO'S PANCAKES

1 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 egg 1 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons melted butter

Sift flour, salt and baking soda into mixing bowl. Add egg, buttermilk and melted butter. Mix very lightly, stirring only to moisten, leaving lumps and streaks of flour.

Heat large skillet or griddle and film with oil. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto griddle. Lightly spread each pancake to flatten. Turn pancake as soon as you can; don't wait for customary bubbles to break before turning. Serve hot. Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

398 calories; 1,458 mg sodium; 142 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 50 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 0.17 gram fiber.

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APPLESAUCE

4 large unpeeled Gravenstein apples, or firm green apples, cored and cut into eighths 1/2 cup water Sugar 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Put apples and water into skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until apples become tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add sugar to taste and lemon juice.

Stir to blend well. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mash with fork. Makes 3 cups.

Each tablespoon contains about:

6 calories; 0 sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.06 gram fiber.

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