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The Quest for some Crumb Cafe French Toast

6 mins read
a plate of French Toast from the Crumb Cafe

Based on a true story, but with some added dramatization. Please, for the love of whatever is up there, do not take this seriously.

We begin our story on a late Friday night (late, being around 9 p.m., so maybe not that late) in the Philip T. Sharples dining hall, roughly 30 minutes after student-run Crumb Cafe opened to serve its hungry customers. Among these customers are students who either forgot to eat dinner at Sharples earlier, enjoy late-night dining hall vibes, or do not particularly like any of the other dining options Swarthmore has to offer at this time of night. The line is long, the people are waiting, and the protagonist of this story (me, a nineteen-year-old college student tired of life) has just finished putting in her order: some French toast and a caramel Italian soda.

At first, everything begins as normal. The heroine receives her Italian soda shortly after placing her order. Suddenly, a man unexpectedly approaches the heroine, order slip in hand and regret in his eyes (at least, from what’s visible on his face with a mask on). Somberly, the man informs the heroine that, alas, the Crumb Cafe has run out of French toast tonight and is thus unable to complete her order. Instead, the man offers the protagonist a substitute of anything else on the menu in exchange. Sighing, the heroine asks for a humble caprese sandwich, a simple yet fulfilling combination of mozzarella, basil pesto, and tomatoes in between crispy slices of bread. And thus ends the first act of this story.

The second act begins two nights following the first act of the story, on Super Bowl Sunday night. On this night, the Crumb Cafe is holding a Super Bowl special, offering two Italian soda drinks symbolizing the two football teams competing in this year’s Super Bowl. Once again, the heroine (me, who has just gotten out of a grueling Garnet Singers Sunday rehearsal) places her usual order with a twist: French Toast with a Rams Italian soda special (for the record, it was a lemon blackberry Italian soda — nothing to do with football in the protagonist’s mind). 

Like the first act, everything goes as expected: the heroine receives her Italian soda and is left waiting for her French toast. Ten minutes pass. Then twenty minutes. Our heroine is getting impatient and very hungry. Despite this, she keeps waiting. Thirty minutes have passed since our protagonist placed her order. At some point during this period she snaps at a poor waitress, a low point in our heroine’s story. Has the heroine reached the lowest point, the point of no return? Alas, she decides to step into the kitchen to see what has kept her waiting for her meal, when she encounters the same waitress she snapped at earlier. 

And herein lies the root of the problem, the reason why our heroine has not received her French toast: the Crumb Cafe is terribly understaffed and needs workers! At this revelation, the protagonist feels a deep sense of sympathy for both the staff and the waitress she snapped at earlier. The utter reality of the situation starts to break her heart, and when the same waitress comes to her, a single order slip in hand and the announcement that, unfortunately, the kitchen has run out of French toast, the heroine accepts the crippling reality of her defeat and the second act ends on a somber note. But hey, in case you were wondering, dear reader, the Rams did win the Super Bowl.

And somehow, that still does not stop her from trying again, leading to the start of the third act. Our heroine once again orders an Italian soda special and French toast while woefully accepting that perhaps she may never receive the sweet, custardy, bready treat she craves. Once again, the cycle of events repeats: the protagonist receives her Italian soda and waits either for some delicious French toast or another night of disappointment. However, the heroine is about to be surprised by the twisting machinations of fate.

Someone approaches our heroine with a hot, steaming plate of French toast. The heroine screams in pure delight (this is probably an exaggeration).

And, oh, that first bite of sweet, bready goodness is heavenly. Never before has our protagonist tasted ambrosia, the food of the gods, but if she had to guess what it tasted like, it would probably taste like the plate of French toast in front of her. She praises the cooks who prepared the decadent dish that satiated her hunger and engages in lively conversation with the people (read: her boyfriend and the occasional third wheel) who have accompanied her on this arduous journey.

When her meal is finished, our heroine leaves, a satisfied grin on her face.

It still does not change the fact that the Crumb Cafe really needs workers, though.

FIN

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