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French toast with garlic and herbs

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Feasting On Art

(Read caption) Claude Monet, 'Still Life with Eggs' (1907). By completing the work in the morning light, Monet reinforces the symbolic references of beginnings and birth with the morning acting as a new beginning – the birth of a new day.

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Within the history of art, the egg has been used to symbolize life, rebirth, fertility and potential. The icon has a long history and according to Silvia Malaguzzi in Food and Feasting in Art, “They symbolise rebirth, and that symbolic value was subsequently christianized in biblical exegesis and took the form of Easter eggs, the food of the Resurrection since the Christian Middle Ages.” Left with an inordinate number of eggs after Easter (pending they have not all been hard boiled and dyed) this recipe is an ideal way to convey an indulgent breakfast into a hearty supper. Apart from a slick of butter in which the bread is fried and a layer of melted cheese, there is little fat alongside the protein in the eggs and the tang of the mustard. Paired with a bitter salad of greens, this recipe is the antithesis of the surgary croissant french toast inspired by Morandi.

The muted light in Still Life with Eggs suggests an early morning composition, a period of the day that Monet appeared to examine in many of the paintings from 1907. The atmospheric qualities of light are considered via the grouping of white objects painted with a subdued rainbow of color. By completing the work in the morning light, Monet reinforces the symbolic references of beginnings and birth with the morning acting as a new beginning – the birth of a new day. The year the still life was painted, Monet began having problems with his eyesight. Still Life with Eggs illustrates his focus on the light rather than a detailed rendering of the subject; no doubt the details proved elusive to his fading sight.

French Toast with garlic and herbs

Yield: 4 servings

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