Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Food

Origins of Pain Perdu

“Dip a slice of bread in batter. That’s September: yellow, gold, soft and sticky. Fry the bread. Now you have October: chewier, drier, streaked with browns. The day in question fell somewhere in the middle of the french toast process.” — Tom Robbins

To add on to the quote above, add a little sugar before you fry the bread and with a glass of milk to go, November has come and almost gone.

In the morning chaos, one of the easiest options for a quick breakfast (besides cereal, oatmeal, eggs and bread) is the french toast. French toast is a dish made of bread soaked in eggs and milk, then fried. Alternative names and variants include eggy bread, Bombay toast, German toast to name a few. Yet the name is a misnomer as the recipe didn’t originally come from France. The Apicus, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century have the earliest reference to French Toast where it is labelled as simply aliter dulcia (“another sweet dish”) which breaks down the steps of the recipe to “slice fine white bread, remove the crust, and break it into large pieces. Soak these pieces in milk and beaten egg, fry in oil, and cover with honey before serving.” This recipe has been modified and carried to German, England, Nordic areas as well as Italy.

The usual French name is pain perdu translated as “lost bread”, reflecting its use of stale bread. Known for its ease in making and simplicity; sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla can be also added to the mix. Alternatively, the bread may be soaked in wine, rosewater, or orange juice either before or after cooking. The bread is then fried in butter or olive oil until browned and cooked through. Day-old bread is often used, both for its thrift and because it will soak up more egg mixture without falling apart.

“The things that you did with parents, whether it was spending every Sunday morning with your dad and eating French toast and watching Popeye, or decorating the Christmas tree with our mother – these are memories that help you be happy.” ~ Leonardo DiCaprio

All said, bringing breakfast to the table from different parts of the world makes the morning light, quick and interesting; in addition to the fact that the kids will love the change once in a while.