Sterling K. Brown on the childhood experience that made him love French toast: 'It's bread dipped in joy and deep fried'
Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.
Sterling K. Brown's 10th birthday was "very very awesome," and it all started with the most important meal of the day.
"As a kid I was very much into carbs and my favorite food was French toast and my dad made that for me for my birthday breakfast," the This is Us star tells Yahoo Life. "My dad has this platter and he chops up the French toast with the powdered sugar and the maple syrup on top and I'm like, 'Dad, this is the best thing ever, thank you so much.' He goes, 'Hey, man, something's on the bottom of your plate, you need to wipe it off.'"
On the bottom of his heaping plate of French toast, Brown found a $100 bill.
"This is 1986," he shares. "I had never seen a hundred dollar bill at that point in my young life and so that cemented French toast as the best food ever."
Today, the sticky sweet breakfast dish is still Brown's go-to order when he sits down to brunch.
"When a restaurant has a wonderful French toast, like it could be a challah bread French toast or the fancy ones with Cap'n Crunch or Frosted Flakes on the crust, it's just joy," says the 46-year-old actor. "It's bread dipped in joy and deep fried and consumed."
Other dishes that bring Brown joy? His brother's home-cooked barbecue, soul food like collard greens and macaroni and cheese, or a good steak. "The thing that expresses me is a well-marbled but not overly-marbled ribeye," he says. "There's nothing better ... a delicious medium-rare ribeye says everything you need to know about Sterling: He loves protein, he loves flavor, he will masticate — and I did say masticate — as long as he needs to to make it go down smoothly. A ribeye does the heart good."
Brown spoke with Yahoo Life as part of his work with Stand Up to Cancer and Mastercard. Brown's uncle died of pancreatic cancer just six months after being diagnosed, making the cause one that's close to his heart.
"It was debilitating for my entire family," he shares. "If it isn't something you've experienced, it's probably something someone you love has experienced. We need to do something to turn the tide and beat this disease."
Brown says his work with Mastercard, which is donating one cent (up to five million dollars) for every dollar spent by cardholders on dining and grocery purchases, was a natural fit given his love of food. His favorite cuisine? Soul food.
"Culturally there's this communal experience of eating and bonding [with soul food]," he says. "I love good greens with ham hocks — when I go home to St. Louis it's ham hock greens, mac and cheese, dressing — all of that deliciousness and then my brother barbecues some rib tips as well. I could die and go to heaven."
He also loves sharing meals with his wife and two sons. His perfect food day would include taking his boys out to breakfast for chicken and waffles, a new family favorite, then eating "some nice sandwiches" in Italy. "We'd have a couple paninis made with the Genoa ham and fresh cheese and focaccia bread," says Brown. "And the aioli? That would be an experience they would adore."
The father of two also says Korean food has been a favorite of his since college. He'd love to visit celebrity chef Roy Choi at his food truck, Kogi Korean BBQ, someday for tacos.
"If I could get some real authentic Korean cuisine, Roy Choi-style, I would be like a pig in filth," he says. "That would be pretty damn awesome."
"He is freaking awesome," Brown adds. "I would eat anything he makes. I would go to the truck and whatever tacos he had for me, he wouldn't even have to tell me, I would trust him."
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