A name used for various types of toasted bread.
Robert May in 1660 describes bread first toasted, then soaked in wine and orange juice...
Original Receipt in 'The Accomplisht Cook' by Robert May, 1660 (Robert May 1660);
French Toasts. Cut French bread, and toast it in pretty thick toasts on a clean gridiron, and serve them steeped in claret, sack, or any wine, with sugar and juyce of orange.
From the mid 19th Century, the term appears in North American cookbooks as a version of Eggy Bread or Poor Knights. In both North America and Hong Kong this version is a popular breakfast dish commonly served with a sweet topping such as icing sugar or syrup.
Original Receipt in 'Godey's Magazine', Philadelphia, Volumes 72-73 (1866), edited by Louis Antoine Godey
Beat four eggs very light and stir with them a pint of milk, slice some baker's bread, dip the pieces into the egg, then lay them in a pan of hot lard and fry brown, sprinkle a little powdered sugar and cinnamon on each piece and serve hot. If nicely prepared this is an excellent dish for breakfast or tea quite equal to waffles.
May Byron in 1914 gives the name as a form of meat loaf...
Original Receipt from 'Pot-luck; or, The British home cookery book' by May Byron (Byron 1914)
361. FRENCH TOAST (Lancashire) One pound of beef, half a pint white bread-crumbs, half a pound of tomatoes. Mince the beef, mix with the bread crumbs and tomatoes chopped up (previously scalded to remove skins); bind with one beaten egg. Press into pillow form, place in a baking tin, cover, and bake one hour. Remove cover, put a little butter on the top, and let it bake until brown. Make a nice gravy.
The 'Western Daily Press' of Thursday 20 March 1924 says that " A piece of bread and butter toasted on the dry side is said to be French toast." A version repeated in many 19th and early 20th Century sources - here from the Yorkshire Gazette, 16 April 1892 - is; "A New Way to Cook Eggs.—Prepare French toast by toasting piece of bread on one side only, and buttering while hot on the side that is not toasted. Over this spread a well beaten egg, seasoned with pepper and salt. Heat this gently before the fire."
For an ancient version, see: Meselade.and Pamperdy
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