When I asked my French professor if French toast was really from France she piqued my interest by saying… “Mmm Noou”.
As I did some research, I found out that the recipe for it dates back to ancient Rome. Romans would soak slices of bread in a mixture of milk and eggs and then they would fry the slices in oil or butter (which is how it is most typically done today). It was done with the sole intention as to not waste food, finding a use for stale bread. It is also suggested that the wealthy used white bread (the finest at the time) as well as some spices and the like in the mixture. The recipe became popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, and today, it is well known around the world.
French toast itself is called “pain perdu” in France, literally meaning lost bread. And even before it was called “pain perdu” in France it was called “pain a la Romaine” (Roman bread).
There are several theories as to why French toast is called French toast. Maybe the name came to be because it was popularized in America by French immigrants. Or maybe it was because the recipe was adopted from France and we attribute it to the French.
It is hard to say exactly why it is called French toast, as it is even called different names around the world (eggy bread, gypsy toast, poor knights). However, one thing is for sure: many of us enjoy it and we thank whoever came up with the idea!
Here are some additional facts about French toast…