September 18, 2004

Friday, 9/10/04

On Friday, 9/10/04, I lunched on spiced French toast with Eric Hounshell, my coworker and friend at his new residence, the infamous Berkeley co-op, Casa Zimbabwe (CZ).

For those of you who are not familiar with Berkeley co-op housing, co-ops generally attract a socially and politically progressive crowd. That means hippies, Gentle Readers in my native Buffalo. When we arrived at CZ shortly past 12:30pm, the kitchen and dining areas were a bright and happy sea of motion. Those present seemed to be in a gregarious mood, as it was a beautiful East Bay Friday afternoon. Obviously, Gentle Reader, not everyone was strictly a hippie; but to be fair, there were several. Say what you will about collective living, but the CZ kitchen proves that a group of (relatively) peacefully cohabitating people are indeed better than themselves as individuals.

The kitchen, although somewhat dirty, is well organized and has two griddles, an industrial gas range, a center island/chopping block, and several sinks, not mention the walk-in fridge and (forthcoming) walk-in freezer. The spread of edibles includes 40 various loaves of bread available for public consumption, a whole shelf of alphabetized spices, diverse cereals, a milk machine, assorted vegetables and meats in various states of being processed. I saw 4 gallons of "spicy-ass vegan hummous" in the fridge. People living in CZ have workshifts in exchange for living there. To fulfill that end, many cook meals for the entire house. That afternoon for example, a tall dreadlocked woman was making what looked like 5 gallons of vegetable soup. CZ certainly provides for those who live there, at least in the cooking department.

Eric and I took advantage of this bounty by making spiced French toast. To duplicate what we did:

First, slice about 3/4 a loaf of good, tight-crumbed bread (in our case, a sourdough loaf) into 3/4" slices. We then sliced the slices diagonally. Next, we dipped them into a batter made of 8 eggs, a couple tablespoons of whole milk, a tablespoon or so of sugar, a pinch of black pepper, and a few pinches each of ground clove, grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and salt, beaten together in a large bowl with a whisk.

Then, we griddled the battered bread until just cooked through. Eric put powdered sugar and maple syrup on his. Mine I topped with just syrup.

To drink, we had jasmine tea made in a Nalgene bottle. How very co-op. Eric seemed very excited about living in CZ. I certainly agree with him that it is (at least right now) the right place for him to live.


At 9/19/2004 07:22:00 PM, Blogger Dingus said...

Aww man, Spiced French toast is a great recipe that everyone should have the opportunity to embrace.

At 9/20/2004 01:07:00 AM, Blogger harsh said...

I too have taken the eating plunge at the infamous CZ, but I think it's more an act of lunch (and less one of bravery) to make it yourself. One of these days you should bear the unbridled fury of enchiladas prepared by a dirty hippy on a bender (who oddly enough, was not the person I was visiting)


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