Thursday, March 13, 2003

Things like this really matter it seems.

So while you're munching on that plate of delicious Freedom Fries, you might be interested to know the etymology of that wretchedly named "French" Toast.

Could the cursed French really have come up with such a culinary wonder?
Earnest patriots Walter Jones and Bob Ney learn those hateful frogs a lesson.Now feeling I was getting somewhere, I moved on the my American edition Larousse Gastronomique:

French Toast (PAIN PERDU)

A dessert consisting of slices of stale bread (or brioche or milk bread) soaked in milk, dipped in eggs beaten with sugar, then lightly fried in butter. French toast is usually served hot and crisp. It was formerly called pain crotté, pain à la romaine, or croutes dorées. In the south of France, it was traditionally eaten on feast days, particularly at Easter. Originally intended to use up crusts and leftover pieces of bread. French toast is usually made with milk bread. It may be accompanid by custard cream, jam or compote.

Now, was there a well attested American origin to French toast, I should certainly think my Larousse would mention it. Instead, I find a set of references to traditional French culinary practices. Furthermore, upon doing a search for pain crotté, I find that it is unanimously considered a Picardian tradition, and Picardy borders Belgium. At the other end, I find a number of references to pain perdu as New Orleans-style French Toast, suggesting that the English term "French toast" may in fact refer to the Louisiana French who prepared this recipe.

So, although my search could hardly be definitive without checking out the OED or the FEW (Oxford English Dictionary and Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch - the two most comprehensive etymological references for English and French), I find no support in the secondary sources for an American origin for French toast, and considerable support for an origin in contemporary Belgium or France.

It may be of some consolation to some patriotic souls to realise that the French word for the dish, Pain Perdu, actually means "Lost" Bread. How appropriate for a nation of primates capitulards et toujours en quete de fromages!!

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Rainy day FUN!

Found on the back of a Superman comic from 1965.

Mom seems to be suprisingly supportive of Dad's whacky ideas.
One has the impression that he gets quite a lot of them.