I’ve attended video meetings and worked remotely for the better part of my career. In fact, I’ve only ever had one job that required me to show up in a physical office space (and that was almost 5 years ago). My working world a weird world, full of yoga pants and Slack and video chats, of lattes and searching for plugs and being bounced off of random wifi networks. I’m used to it now, though — to the video calls, to the random people walking around in the backgrounds of meetings, to people muting suddenly when their doorbell rings or their dog starts to bark, to knowing what my coworkers’ living rooms look like. I’m used to Slack bots and gifs and DMs. I’m used to virtual happy hours full of tiny faces in square boxes. I’m used to the weird — so used to it, in fact, that I sometimes forget that it’s odd.
For the past few weeks, I’ve had to attend some online seminars for work, all on video — and it’s reminded me how funny this working world of mine is. These calls are two hours long each which, let me tell you, is a LONG time to stare at your colleagues on a computer screen. First off, we have to stay focused — with our video cameras on — for the entire two hours. Do you know what it feels like to stare at your own face for two hours? I do. We get called out if we’re not paying attention, too. Second, we don’t get any breaks during those 2 hours, and you can’t just get up to go to the bathroom when you’re required to stay on video to prove your participation. Last week I was even forced to eat my lunch on camera, in front of 15 of my colleagues, because I’d had so many meetings back to back. I’m suddenly very conscious of the way my mouth moves when I chew, of how ridiculous I look when I try to stretch my stiff neck, and of how strange my hair looks when it’s in a bun on top of my head.
Still, there are plus sides to remote working, like the glorious at-home breakfasts I get to make instead of commuting. Like the freedom to work from anywhere, whether that’s from my Prius driving across the country, or from my friend’s house in Florida. And like the ability to make my own schedule, every day. That’s rare.
Quick French Toast with Caramelized Plums
Or “It’s a Tuesday but I want to feel fancy and I work from home” french toast. Serves 2
- 4 slices of thick bread (sourdough or french bread work great for this)
- 4 eggs, whisked
- 2 T milk
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t vanilla
- 2 T butter
- Recommended but not necessary: Maple syrup, mascarpone cheese, or sprigs of mint for serving
For the caramelized plums:
- 3 medium-sized plums, sliced thinly (peaches, strawberries and pears also work well)
- 2 T butter
- 1 t sugar
- Optional and delicious: squeeze of lemon
Combine eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl. Heat a skillet on medium with 2 T butter. Once the butter is melted, dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture, then add them to the pan (depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two batches). Give the french toast 2 minutes on one side, then check to see if it’s golden brown. Once the toast is golden brown (this may take 2-4 minutes more), flip it and crisp up the other side. Repeat with the remaining bread slices, as needed, storing the already-cooked pieces on a plate with foil over it to keep them warm.
While the french toast is cooking, put another smaller skillet or saucepan on medium heat with 2 more T butter. Add the plums and cook, 5-6 minutes, until they start to release their juices and soften. Stir occasionally. Once you hit 5-6 minutes, add the sugar and a squeeze of lemon, then stir and remove the pan from heat.
Serve the french toast with the plums and some sprigs of mint. If you want to get extra fancy, add a dollop of mascarpone cheese. My husband also likes his french toast with a drizzle of maple syrup.