You won’t need to know how to speak French to see the origin of French Toast!
Although the origins of both the food and the name of French Toast are unknown, it is evident that comparable recipes involving bread dipped in a mixture of milk and eggs have been whipped up all over the world for quite some time.
Apicius, a real-life Roman nobleman from the second century AD, has a compilation of Roman Empire recipes and has the oldest recorded mention of French toast. According to historians, this book is a relic of working cooks’ collections.
A recipe defined as “aliter dulcia” in the Apicius. “Slice fine white bread, remove the crust, and break it into quite large pieces for another delicious dish,” says the recipe. Soak in milk and beaten egg, then fried in oil and drizzle with honey before serving.”
Why Do Americans Refer to French Toast as “French Toast”?
If you Google this question, you’ll learn that it’s known in France as Pain Perdu and other countries as “Poor Knights of Windsor” and Armer Ritter. None of them, however, are French Toast.
What role does the “French” play here?
French Bread, French Fries, and French Dip are all famous in America. Was this egg-dipped breakfast dish created with stale French bread? Therefore they named it “French Toast?
Nachos and Caesar Salad are named after people in America, whereas Buffalo Wings and Philly Cheese Steak are named by places or a combination of the two, as in the French Dip.
The name “French toast” is claimed to have originated in England in the 17th century, before making its way across the America with the early settlers.
In 1724, Joseph French invented the recipe, although he misspelled the dish’s name and left off the apostrophe, calling it “French toast” instead of “French’s toast.”
The French called it “Pain perdu”
“Pain perdu” is a French Toast in France, which means “lost bread.” This dish was a way to use up all the bread from the days before that had gone stale. They brought it back to life by dipping it in an egg and milk combination and fried it on a skillet, resulting in a substantial and highly satisfying dish to serve a family.
Many similar recipes exist globally, such as bread and butter pudding in the United Kingdom, torrija in Spain, and rabanadas in Portugal.
While the classic French recipe for pain perdu only calls for bread, eggs, milk, a pinch of sugar, and a frying pan, some modern interpretations have elevated the meal to a more complex dish such as: maple syrup, jam, honey, peanut butter, whipped cream, fruit, yogurt, ice cream, almonds, or bacon are increasingly popular toppings.
French Toast referred as Armer Ritter
French Toast is known in England as the “poor knights of Windsor,” a term that is also used in other countries: “fattiga riddare” in Sweden, “armer ridder” in Denmark, and “armer ritter” in German. One theory for the armer ritter is that one of the markers of distinction between the gentry and the common herd in ancient times was that the former were required to offer dessert at dinner. Of course, knights were gentry. However, not all of them were wealthy. Those who were not, to maintain their status, made do with “armer ritter’,” often served with jam.
Breakfast of the Poor Knights of Windsor
The breakfast’s name has a long and illustrious history. It refers to the impoverished knights of Windsor; their formal titles are “alms knights” and “military knights.” This knightly organization has been around for almost 500 years!
There were originally 26 of these knights. They were also known as the poor knights since they used to be made up of knights who had lost their estates in battle (or other reasons). Various motives for ‘hiring’ the knights later played a part as well. Windsor Castle has traditionally been home to the knights. Their primary responsibility is to pray to God and for the King/Queen and his army.
The breakfast meal itself is over a century old!
From Simple Food to Opulent Brunch Dish
People have been waiting for the Coco Pops French Toast at San Lorenzo’s on South Great George’s Street in Dublin for their weekend brunch. Salt caramelised bananas, peanut butter, mascarpone whipped cream, and Belgian chocolate sauce top this crispy and extremely delicious dessert.
Geoff Lenehan of Bibi’s on Emorville Avenue in Dublin 8 puts a creative touch on the traditional, which he says is a popular dish “particularly on weekend mornings.” Geoff uses Tartine Bakery brioche, which has a little sweetness to it and finishes up incredibly soft. After that, he dips it in a half-and-half mixture of free-range eggs and organic milk with no added sugar. After soaking up the deliciousness, the brioche is browned on both sides in a hot buttered pan before being topped with Gubbeen streaky bacon and maple syrup or seasonal fruits. “I believe people enjoy it because it is a genuine brunch meal that bridges the gap between breakfast and dessert! There’s also a nostalgic feeling to French toast, or as we used to call it back home, eggy bread!”, Geoff explains. Bibi’s toppings change with the seasons, including Wexford strawberries in the summer, apple and blackberry in the fall, and dark chocolate and honeycomb in the winter.