For dessert or even as a snack, French toast is easy to prepare and remains a delight for our taste buds. Discover Its history.

A dish of the poor

In times of scarcity and famine, the poorest people used any food that could be recycled so as not to throw anything away. French toast then made it possible not to throw away bread, even stale, either out of necessity or because of its religious connotations, which made throwing bread socially unacceptable. In addition, to prepare this delicious dessert, it was enough to have simple basic ingredients: bread, milk, egg and butter.

the history of french toasts
French toast’s history – copyright l’atelier des chefs

French toast’s history

The name « pain perdu » probably comes between the 14th and 15th centuries. But then it is only a kind of bread doughnut. The recipe for French toast as we know it, sweetened, appeared in the 17th century. Originally a dish for the poor, French toast has nevertheless managed to make its way to the upper echelons of French society, even reaching the king’s table. Legend has it that Henry IV, king from 1589 to 1610, was fond of it. It is from there that French toast, a dish now prized by the aristocracy, is exported all over the world.

Not a tribute to French gastronomy

It is found in particular in the Kingdom of England under the name of French Bread. Note that here « french » does not mean « French », but is derived from Old Irish. And in this language, « french » would mean « sliced ». Nothing to do with tribute to our gastronomy. Today, French toast is a world famous delicacy and each place has developed its own recipe. In Normandy, the specialty is French toast à la Normande. It is a French toast flambéed with pommeau de Normandie. In Canada, it is accompanied by maple syrup and is called “French toast”. In Turkey, it is prepared only with eggs, without milk, and is cooked in oil and not butter.

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