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Food's Fact | 析飲析食篇

A little tale about toast

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“No matter how bad things get, it’s impossible not to love someone who made you toast. Once you’ve bitten through that crusty surface to the soft dough underneath, and tasted the warm salty butter, you’re lost forever.” – Toast (2010)

Indeed, bread and butter is a blessing for human. The satisfaction that burst out when the hot buttery yet crunchy bread melt in your month makes this staple the best match in the world. Generally speaking, toast denotes any kind of bread that has been browned by heat. As time goes by, toast refers to toasted bread that glazed with better. Toast developed into variety of form, for instance the renowned French toast. However, this worldwide staple of which fried with egg-soaked bread is not a true toast, as the eggy coating that is fried but not the bread itself.

One must noticed that French toast is not even invented in France. According to fascinating book ‘Why Do Donuts Have Holes?’ by Don Voorhees, suggesting that French toast actually came from America, specifically in 1724. The name “French” came from the chef Joseph French who first made it; whilst others disagree over whether French toast has roots. The combination of bread, egg and milk dated back to medieval times when it was to make stale loaves more palatable. Suggested by an article by IHOP, “French toast” can be traced back to 14-15 century during the court of Henry V of England when something similar called pain perdu. Coincidentally, a similar dish called suppe dorate was once popular in England during the Middle Ages; the appearance of variety of other version of names such as German or Spanish toast were basically the same thing named by variety of countries out of patriotic reason. Therefore, the myth of America originated ‘French toast’ has been proved false as it should simply be propaganda from French immigrants in America.

Digging in the derivation of toast is like putting together a massive puzzle and opinions differ widely since it has such a long history.  No matter how it began, toast is now part of our culture. Toast sandwich hailed as UK’s cheapest lunchtime meal, revealed by scientists last year.  As RSC’s (Royal Society of Chemistry) Dr John Emsley said: “toast sandwiches are also good at saving you calories as well as money.”After calculation, a toast sandwich cost only 7.5 pence. With all the ingredients in supermarket, you could always choose for the healthier alternative of margarine instead of butter.

By Jennifer Chan

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