Back to From the Editor

The French Toast Frenzy


I am not a huge fan of winter, but growing up in the north, I have come to appreciate the occasional snowstorm. Every winter should have one. Are you listening Mother Nature? One. ONE good storm.
  As I am writing, areas south of us are preparing to get hit fairly hard with a nasty storm and they are already getting hit with what I like to call the ‘French Toast Frenzy’.
  I will never quite understand what possesses people to go out and stock up on bread, milk and eggs before a snowstorm. First and foremost they are perishables, so these aren’t going to keep you going for long if, by chance, you do get stuck inside for a considerable length of time.
  Like any good journalist, I had a question so I went seeking answers…to the interwebz I went!
  The first thing that I found suggested that buying perishables like eggs and milk is purely psychological. Buying food that will spoil quickly is a subconscious way to convince yourself that storm won’t be so bad and you will be unstuck and back to business as usual pretty quickly. However, stocking up on Spaghetti O’s and Velveeta Shells and Cheese – or any selection of non-perishables not designed for 12-year-olds – sends the message that you expect the storm to keep you homebound for an extended period. Although practical, non-perishables are a psychological admission that you've surrendered to waiting out the storm and its aftermath; perishables are about optimism.
  This idea seems a little modern, but I get it. I also understand it far more than the next explanation I read.
  The other idea says that New Englanders are to blame. As the story goes, they started doing this after a huge blizzard in 1978 that trapped people in their homes for days, and in some cases, weeks. Obviously, a lot of them ran out of necessities, like bread, milk and eggs. But see, I still don’t understand…even if you had stocked up on these things before a huge storm, they are only going to keep for so long. It still doesn’t make sense to me.
  So I kept digging (no snow pun intended)…and then I found what is probably the most logical, if a bit less applicable explanation.
  In 1950 Pittsburgh got hit with a HUGE snowstorm. Like 3 feet in 24 hours huge. Apparently, inaccurate weather predictions aren’t new as they were only predicting 12 inches, so people were left less than prepared.
  So, they get hit with this major storm and, as a result, roadways are shut down and deliveries to grocery stores were delayed causing a shortage of – wait for it – bread and milk. An article in a local newspaper referred to bread as being "doled out" in some grocery stores and to milk as "the one shortage that has hit all sections" due to the storm.
  Since then it has apparently just become habit to stock up on these items as a precaution.
  So there you have it – the reason behind the ‘French Toast Frenzy’. It may not make a lot of sense, but tradition is tradition and, hey…who doesn’t like French toast?