Monday, July 15, 2013

F is for French Toast

I was just finishing up my French Toast and scrambled egg when I realized I had the perfect topic for my sixth letter of the AtoZ Challenge.

French Toast is that wonderfully delicious breakfast made with bread (stale is better) that is submerged in an egg and milk blend and then pan-fried on each side to thoroughly cook the egg and brown each side nicely before adding butter and syrup (or powdered sugar). I also sprinkle cinnamon on mine when I put it in the pan. I then take the leftover egg and milk mixture and cook that as a scrambled egg so that I don't waste any of what I'm using.

But, why do we call French Toast FRENCH Toast? Is it because they resemble the popular Croque Monsieur of France? Is it because it sounds better than the English translation of "pain perdu" (lost bread)? It's interesting that in France, they once referred to this style of bread as Roman bread (pain a la Romaine) before they began calling it "lost bread". In fact, a recipe for a very similar style of bread has been found in a 4th Century work where it was referred to as "another sweet dish".

So, then.....why FRENCH toast? Apparently, for the same reason we have FRENCH fries. French immigrants to the US popularized both items and, because they were originally associated with those French immigrants, those items were called French. Although, I wonder if, with regard to French fries, it might not also be related to the culinary term of Frenching which refers to a style of cutting something into long thin strips (French-style Green Beans). I don't think that is an impossibility. Still, I can see the French bringing a cooking technique with them that becomes popular here, so we call it French because they brought it with them. I think that explanation does cover French Toast well.

References:
What is Frenched Food?
French Toast was not Invented in France.

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