French Toast: How French Is This Delicious Toast?
Believe it or not, the dish popularly known as ‘french toast’ is not an invention of the French. It was created long before France was a country, mindblowing right?
According to American culture, a lot of things are directly named after their inventors or where they came from hence the belief that French toast came from France. French toast has different names all over the world and is prepared differently with unique tweaks to it.
French Toast Preparation
French toast is traditionally prepared by dipping bread in a mixture of milk, vanilla, and eggs and then frying it in butter or oil. It is normally eaten as a breakfast meal in most parts of the world.
Some countries have however tweaked it into a savory dish that can be eaten as lunch.
French toast can be topped with a myriad of options including maple syrup, powdered sugar, jelly, honey, peanut butter, jam, applesauce, whipped cream, yogurt, ice cream, nuts, jelly, jam, honey, peanut butter, whipped cream, yogurt, ice cream, fruit, applesauce, nuts, and butter.
For the french toast that is not prepared to be sweet like the one prepared by Australians, it is topped with cheese, gravy, bacon and even ketchup!
Surprisingly, it is considered dessert rather than a breakfast meal by the French. Scottish people traditionally serve french toast with sausage between two slices.
French Toast Origin
The origins of french toast are not completely clear, but there are theories. The earliest mentions of the sweet treat were first mentioned during the Roman empire.
What we now call French toast existed in 5th century AD among the Romans who called it Pan Dulcis. According to recipes from that time, they are prepared it the same way as today. They would soak bread in eggs and milk before frying it in butter or oil.
Another theory of where the name french toast was coined was after a cook in 1724 named Joseph French named it so. According to this theory which is believed by many, the innkeeper created this dish and named it after himself but his poor knowledge of apostrophe’s failed him.
The name “french toast” was first used in 17th-century England. It was eaten around Europe in medieval times where they would use old stale bread in an attempt to make sure there was no food wastage.
French Toast In France
In France, French toast is actually called “pain perdu”, which means “lost bread”.
The French toast is known by many names across the world such as Touriga, Bombay toast, Spanish toast, eggy bread, German toast, nun’s toast, poor knights of Windsor in England and many others.
We have Kangana Ranaut starrer ‘Queen’ to thank for the confusion of the origin. In one scene, Kangana makes some delicious breakfast for her friends in Amsterdam. When she is asked to introduce the dish, she proudly calls them, “French Toasts”.
Her statement irks her French room-mate who is quick to affirm that the meal is not from France. “I am French, and this is not from our country,” she said.
Today french toast is not only prepared in homes as a means to an end like in medieval Europe but has advanced to becoming a key component of brunch dates. It cannot be referred to as food for peasants in this generation.
Thankfully, chefs and bakers today are on the hunt for creating the next best dish. Hence, they tweak the traditional french toast in a way that works for clients.