French toast, that bit of gastronomical yumminess that is fried egg/bread combo, is an old dish. In fact, it predates the founding of France.
According to the Apicius, a collection of recipes from the early 5th century AD, the dish we now know as the French toast existed as early as the age of the Roman Empire. In their style of French toast, called Pan Dulcis, Romans would soak bread in milk (and sometimes also egg) mixture, then fry it in oil or butter.
In the 15th century English court of Henry V, a version of the French toast called "pain perdu" or "lost bread" was the culinary rage. Then, it was called "lost" bread because the recipe called for soaking hard or stale bread in a mixture of milk and egg, then frying it. Pain perdu is what the French call French toast today.
So, if the French did not invent the modern French toast, who did? According to legend, it was an Albany, New York, innkeeper named Joseph French. He created the dish in 1724, and advertised it as "French Toast" because he was grammatically inept and forgot the apostrophe.
Danny Groner told us how the French toast and 8 other site-specific foods got their names in this neat article over at Bigstock - Thanks Danny!
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