French toast can surely be found on every breakfast menu across the country. It shows up in classic form as well as endless delicious variations. It is simple comfort food and often one of the first recipes that children learn to cook at home with their parents.
Like so many other dishes throughout history, French toast is a dish born out of a need to utilize everything and eliminate waste. At some point a resourceful cook realized that stale bread becomes a new dish after you soak it in liquid and cook it again. The earliest known reference to a dish like French toast is in the Apicius, a collection of recipes in Latin that dates to the 4th and 5th centuries. The recipe calls for soaking bread in milk and eggs, frying it and serving it covered with honey.
According to The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, the dish of soaked, fried bread was first referred to as French Toast in print in 1871. The French call it pain perdu, or “lost bread,” meaning the bread is lost to staleness but can be made new again with moisture and cooking. To this day pain perdu is a popular New Orleans breakfast dish. In 1887 a recipe for American Toast appeared in the White House Cookbook. It called for soaking and cooking bread in the same manner as French toast.
At The Original Pancake House we have four delicious versions of French Toast on our breakfast menu. We promise we don’t mind when you order it instead of pancakes!