Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of making an American brunch for one of the Indian girls I've come to know here in Poitiers. The idea was first put forth by a mutual friend, a fellow Iowa lady, in fact. Whether or not one can truly make an American brunch in France is a point to be debated, but we certainly did the best we could.
Yours truly made hashed browns (cubed, not shredded, with onion and parsley) and cream biscuits. The hashed browns turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself (and without a picture), but the biscuits were definitely on the squat and dense side. I like to blame the differences between American and French flour whenever something like this happens...or possibly the baking powder. Or the humidity. Some force other than myself was clearly responsible for those leaden biscuits! Actually, they weren't all that bad...just not as light and fluffy as they are when I make them back in the States. Still, since the Indian girl had no previous experience with biscuits, she thought they were great. And did I mention that I made homemade apricot jam to go with them? That definitely helped wash them down, in my opinion.
After we scarfed down my hashed browns and biscuits, it was time for the other ladies to make their contribution: pancakes. Of course, these were the Iowa girl's suggestion. The Indian girl had never made them before, so it was a bonus for her to both make and eat them. They did a great job, and the pancakes were very fluffy (different baking powder, aha!). I haven't had American style pancakes since coming to France, so just the smell of these was heaven. We also had real maple syrup to top them off. The little pancake shown in the picture even had corn in it. (Can you tell that two of us are from Iowa?) For drinks, we had milk and grape juice, but the juice was just a little...odd. Dark violet rather than blackish purple. Certainly, it didn't hold a candle to the punch-in-the-mouth, intoxicatingly tart-velvet experience of Welch's grape juice. Gotta love those Concord grapes.
Aside from the blasphemous absence of bacon (the other two ladies are vegetarians-but you can't get real American bacon here, anyway), and some would say eggs (I don't like them, myself), I think we did a damn good job of showing off some of the finer points of a traditional American morning feast. It made me feel nostalgic for home, which is good, since I'm going back there in exactly two weeks.
And you can bet I'll be trying those biscuits again once I get home, this time with the right flour!