Dustin vs. Meryl or how Dustin Hoffman learnt to cook





I was too young to watch Kramer vs. Kramer when it first came out.

I watched it some years later though, and it still made me cry. Boy, what a weepie!


When his wife leaves and Ted Kramer must suddenly take over her role and responsibilities, his son reacts with resistance, even defiance, towards his parental efforts.

The fact that Ted is at first, totally incapable as a father is well reflected in the kitchen when he tries to make breakfast for his son, Billy, the first morning they are alone together. The child displays more knowledge and control there than his father has.

A breakfast scene is shown at the end of the film that rhymes humorously with that first breakfast scene; everything is the same, except that the boy and Hoffman work together like a well-oiled machine.

The two of them are now as smooth and natural together in the kitchen as if the mother had never been there.

Ted’s increasing ability to master French toast is symbolic of his ability to take care of his son single-handedly.

I haven’t ruined the film for you, haven’t I?




I had planned on making French toast for breakfast to use up some raspberries I had in the fridge after I made some bread last week. You can see from the photo I didn’t quite succeed (in using up the raspberries, I mean).


I experimented a little with it. The toast on the top is more traditional, dipped in just milk and egg. The toast below is dipped in a sugar-cinnamon enriched mixture. While first toast is prettier and more photogenic, I personally think the second option is tastier. I leave it to you to decide.

I wish I could tell you I intentionally didn’t drown the toasts in icing sugar to show you the difference. Truth is, I forgot. Hunger does that sometimes…


French toast my way – © Gabriela R.

Serves 1


2 slices white bread (mine was soft but if it’s a day-old bread so much the better)

1 egg

50ml milk


1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. caster sugar



To serve:

Greek yoghurt

runny honey

good-quality cocoa powder

icing sugar (optional)

few raspberries




Whisk the egg with the milk until combined. (It is better if you use a bowl, not a mug!) Add the sugar and the cinnamon. Mix well. Dip the bread (both sides) in the mixture.

In a separate pan, melt a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add the bread slices, one at a time. (My pan is small, but if yours isn’t be my guest and do it all at once). Fry on one side, then turn over with the help of a plate (they’re quite soggy at this stage). Finish frying on the other side.

Arrange on a plate, serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, some runny honey and some raspberries. Finally, dust with icing sugar and cocoa powder and you’re done.


Extra (probably unnecessary but interesting nevertheless) info:


There are some little jewels in the background information. I love reading not only about films but about how they were made.

Apparently Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep didn’t get along because he was a little hostile towards her. He was going through a divorce himself at the time so the film must have touched a nerve and he probably acted out his feelings on her.

In one of the film’s first scenes, we see Joanna Kramer leaving her husband and child. She is on the verge of an hysterical binge, an emotional breakdown of some sort. In order to get her in character, Hoffman slapped her and made her really mad. Talk about improvisation techniques!

She says of Dustin Hoffman (Kramer vs Kramer): “In the very first scene he slapped me as hard as he could, off-camera, you could see the mark. I was so shocked, it set me up for the right feeling for him. I love him, but I was mad at him that day.”

I just love those juicy bits!


BTW, both Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman won Oscars for their performances.


2 thoughts on “Dustin vs. Meryl or how Dustin Hoffman learnt to cook

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  2. Try this…

    1 egg
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/4 cup milk
    1-2 teaspoons butter (for pan)
    3 slices sourdough or buttermilk bread
    Cinnamon to taste

    Whisk the above ingredients well. Dip both sides, and add to pre-heated, buttered pan/skillet.

    Makes 3 slices. Can double/triple recipe for more.

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