Contrary to it’s name French Toast did not originate in France. In fact it originated long before France was even a country.
French Toast is basically made with stale bread dipped in an egg and milk mixture then fried up for a tasty meal. Being that bread, eggs, and milk have been staples since they started to prepare bread in some form it makes sense that it’s been around for centuries. And of course back in the day people weren’t wasteful so turning stale bread into a meal using basic ingredients that were readily available makes sense too.
The first mention of a similar dish dates back to a cookbook attributed to Apicius back in 4th. Century Rome. It was then called Pan Dulcis, or sweet bread, and made pretty much how we make it today. The dish spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, specially the practice of using stale bread. In France it was known then as it is now as Pain Perdu which literally means Lost Bread. It is known by this name in Belgium, New Orleans, and other places where the French had some sort of presence. We call it French Toast for the similar reason we call fried strips of potatoes French Fries; simply because it was popularized in America by French immigrants.
French Toast has become a staple on diner and coffee shop menus. In fact it is one of my favorite breakfast foods mainly because not only is it easy to make and very tasty, I almost always have all the ingredients in my kitchen!
Now there are many fancy variations of this humble dish like the Crème Brûlée French Toast I make on Christmas mornings. Now that requires a bit more fussing. But the basic French Toast recipe is so easy that you can make it even on weekday mornings, or at the very least on weekends.
This year Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday so I know cooking breakfast is pretty much not on the top of your priority list. But wouldn’t it be super sweet to wake up just 15 minutes earlier this Valentine’s Day and surprise your sweetheart with a stack of French Toast?
Garnished with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or whipped cream can dress up this humble dish and make it look like you’ve been up for hours preparing it! So go ahead, wake up your Valentine with the cinnamony aroma of fresh made French Toast! The kids’ will love them too! Here’s my recipe!
3 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla
6-8 Pieces Bread – any type will do, you can use day old or fresh, whatever you have on hand.
Garnishes like fresh fruit, powdered sugar, whipped cream, etc.
Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.
Add milk and sugar and stir well.
Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
Melt butter in a frying pan.
Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.
Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.
Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want.
You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves.