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We call it French toast; in France it's called pain perdu--"lost bread." Whatever the name, there are few ways to use up stale bread that are as delicious.

You can find French toast recipes that call for egg, whole wheat, raisin and just about every other type of bread--sliced thick if you prefer a custard-like center, or normal width for crisp French toast. You can leave the crust on, remove it, or cut the slices into various shapes using biscuit, doughnut or metal cookie cutters.

Some recipes suggest adding a dash of nutmeg, vanilla extract or rum to the batter. Grated lemon, orange or grapefruit peel gives the toast a bit of tartness.

A dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup are the traditional toppings. They, along with currant jelly, all types of preserves, applesauce and fruit sauces, are delicious.


This is Marion Cunningham's recipe for French toast from "The Fanny Farmer Cookbook" (Knopf, 1994).

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup milk

6 slices stale bread

Powdered sugar

Maple syrup

Mix eggs, salt, sugar and milk in shallow dish or pie plate. Soak bread in mixture until soft, turning once. Cook on hot, well-greased skillet or frying pan, turning to brown each side.

Serve immediately sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied by warm maple syrup.

Makes 6 slices.

Each serving contains about:

141 calories; 375 mg sodium; 110 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 19 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.05 gram fiber.

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