When I was a kid, one of the first full-length animated films I saw on home video (yes, it was on Betamax at the time) was Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back) which was rather charming enough on its own, but also made an impression on the budding foodie in me via the scene where Peppermint Patty was all askance at the breakfast served by their French host family: soup, bread, butter, a selection of cheeses, and milky coffee served in large, deep bowls. I pretty much thought that it was really how the French started their day until I actually went to France a year later and learned that soup wasn’t part of the standard petit-dejeuner at all. The bread, butter, and milky coffee, however, were all there.
Fast-forward to this morning: I wasn’t quite sure what to eat for breakfast, so I found myself staring sleepy-eyed at the stuff inside the fridge when a lightbulb seemed to pop on in my head. I heated up a mugful of my homespun potage rustique (creamy potato-carrot soup), toasted a couple slices of whole-wheat bread which I later slicked up with lightly-salted butter and McLaren’s Aged Cheddar, and – given how the blasted weather’s gone humid again – made a rather localized and iced version of cafe au lait.
Paired with the soup, the cheese toasts were quite a treat and evoked the cheesy butter Anthony Bourdain waxed poetically about in his childhood memories of summers spent in France. As for the iced cafe au lait – made rather special by the addition of pandan (screwpine) flavoring and a pinch of ground ginger – it was an invigorating and lovely way to start the day.