UPDATED: The February 2014 Great Panic Toast Cookoff begins on February 13th. Details below!
“Into each life, some snow must fall, but the denizens of the little state of New Jersey know there is but one response… keep calm and toast on.
When the snow comes down, each home becomes an island with its own insular cuisine. Until now, we’ve just assumed that one family’s ‘panic French toast’ is the same as another’s. Today we find out for sure. Use the marvel of modern technology to share your secret French toast recipes and photos for a chance to win one bottle of (Vermont) maple sugar, one trophy creamer, and bragging rights over all of Jerseydom in the coming year! You know you want to – what else are you going to do when all cooped up?”
- During and after the next snowfall (
predicted to be Wednesday into Thursday, Feb 12-13ON February 13th) cook up your best shot at Panic Toast. Be creative. Nothing is off limits! It just needs to follow the basic theme of Panic Toast and must primarily consist of all three traditional Panic Toast ingredients (eggs, milk, and bread).
- Take pictures of it. Again, be creative! Show off your photographic skills.
- Go to the official Facebook page, and post your pictures
in the appropriate thread (one will be open as soon as the snow starts falling)right here along with what you’ve named your interpretation, and how you’d like it to go down in history. 🙂
- Once the snow is over and all toast is eaten, I’ll open up a poll where you can vote on which Panic Toast you like best.
- The winner will be given a jar of Vermont Granulated Maple Sugar and a Trophy Creamer! — And bragging rights. Those are important, too.
Also, feel free to spread the word by changing your Facebook profile image to one of these:
Required Disclaimer: This contest isn’t affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook.
Haven’t you noticed that right before a snowstorm people act like this:
And then wondered, “What happens to all of that bread and milk, anyways?”
Well, allow me to share with you one of New Jersey’s favorite snowstorm pastimes:
New Jersey Panic Toast!
- 1 snow storm, blizzard, or hurricane
- 8 slices of white or whole wheat bread cut into triangles
- 3 eggs
- two cups milk
- salt, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to taste
- The day before the storm, panic and buy the ingredients. Seriously, panic!! There’s a storm coming! Gotta get the bread, milk, and eggs!
- The day of the storm wake up and feel a bit safer that you panicked the day before and got your fixings while you find a large bowl.
- In that bowl, beat the three eggs with the cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and sugar. (Keeps the cinnamon from poofing everywhere and lessens the panic.)
- Beat in the milk.
- Arrange the bread in a svelte pattern on a greased cast iron skillet.
- Pour the batter over the toast to ensure maximum soakage.
- Bake at 350-400 degrees until crisp on top and the custard is puffing.
- Stop panicking and serve with appropriate collops (especially pork roll, ’cause it’s New Jersey; but bacon, sausage, etc. work too).
I’ve always been one who has scratched his beard over the whole “War on Christmas.” Aside from the occasional, rare, and laughable “Really, now?” moments that crop up in the press (like the whole “How the Grinch Stole the Holiday” debacle), Christmas is vibrantly alive and well in the United States. One only needs to walk down a main street to see the festive decorations and lights adorning nearly every storefront and front yard.
Regardless, sometimes when I discuss how I wish people “Happy Holidays” some people get indignant. “What other holidays are there other than Christmas? Especially this year when Chanukah is over and done with!”
As a Christian, when I say Happy Holidays, I am acknowledging my own Christian tradition.
Christmas is but one holiday on the Christian calendar that falls around this time of year, so allow me to show you precisely what I mean. When I say Happy Holidays I am personally referring to:
- Advent – A holy seasons of 4 weeks leading up to Yuletide, where the following holidays fall:
- Dec 4th: The Feast of St. John of Damascus: An amazingly educated man and defender of religious art.
- Dec 5th: The Feast of St. Clement of Alexandria: An early Christian philosopher who focused upon equality among other things.
- Dec 6th: The Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra <—- This is Santa Claus’ feast day. Has to get his energy up before Christmas, I suppose. 🙂
- Dec 7th: The Feast of St. Ambrose of Milan: Patron saint of bees, beekeepers, wax, and candles. A neglected saint nowadays in the era of electric light.
- Dec 24th: Christmas Eve (you probably are familiar with this one). Major holiday.
- Christmastide or Yuletide – Christmas actually lasts 12 days. Not one day.
- Dec 25th: Christmas Day! The celebration of Jesus’ birth. Christmas carols begin. Major holiday.
- Dec 26th: The Feast of St. Stephen. You’ve probably read about him in Acts.
- Dec 27th: The Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. (Not St. John the Baptist, that’s in June.)
- Dec 28th: The Feast of the Holy Innocents. The day we remember the slaughter of the children at Herod’s command and celebrate young children in general. With a new baby this year, this feast is particularly important to me.
- Dec 30th: The Feast of Francis Joseph Gaudet, Educator and Prison Reformer. He’s a more recent saint and a bit obscure despite it.
- Jan 1st: The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Commemorates the circumcision of Jesus and his naming, eight days after Christmas Day.
- Epiphanytide – A season that lasts 8 weeks which starts off with:
- Jan 6th: Epiphany – The day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus. Major holiday.
So when I say “Happy Holidays” this time of year, as a Christian I am referring to three seasons and over 10 holidays, at least 3 of which are fairly major on the Christian calendar. Christmas is but one of them, and the shortest season of the three. 🙂
Also not in that list are civil holidays like New Year’s Day (which lands on the same day of the Feast of the Holy Name) and Boxing Day (mainly for my friends in the Commonwealth, piggybacking on The Feast of St. Stephen). So there are a few more.
If you want to talk about a more true-to-form “War on Christmas” I personally find it irksome that Christmas music — rather than Advent carols — are played all throughout Advent, and after Christmas Day they simply vanish, as if the other 11 days don’t exist. Episcopalians tend to celebrate all 12 days with fervor, sometimes to the point of odd stares. However, I’ve found that odd stares are best dealt with by means of education. Simply start singing a few lines of “The 12 Days of Christmas” and they’ll say, “Well, I’ve just had an epiphany! That’s what that song is about!”
But then then I tell them that they’re jumping the gun: Epiphany’s the next season. 😉
(PS. It also doesn’t hurt that at around this time of year there are other holidays celebrated by other religions. Just sayin’. 😉 )