Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lets have a TOAST

OR ~~~ Breakfast for my Sweetie ~~~ my Knight in Shining Armor OR is that Amore'?
Valentine's Day is coming soon I need to prepare to shock his socks OFF! But then every Day should be Valentine’s Day!

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[In West Virginia where love is king~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When boy meets girl here's what they say]
Being a tad more serious, for a moment ~~~

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Ingredients
~~~~~~~ 8 slices of bread
~~ 2 eggs
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1 cup milk *** I used half-and-half
~~ 1/4 cup flour
~~ Fat or butter
~~~ Powdered sugar *** I used baked apples and cranberries
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Instructions
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. Mix together the eggs, milk, and flour and pass through a strainer. *** If you mix WELL, this step is not needed
~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. Dip slices of bread into the mixture and fry in the fat or butter on both sides in a frying pan.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar. ***Did not use this…
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I added this step: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Recipes for "French toast" can be traced Ancient Roman times. Apicius simply calls it "Another sweet dish." Linguistic evidence confirms the connection, as one of the original French names for this dish is "Pain a la Romaine," or Roman bread. Culinary evidence confirms "French toast" was not just a food of the poor. Recipes printed in ancient and medieval texts employed white bread (the very finest, most expensive bread available at the time) with the crusts cut off. In many cases, expensive spices and almond milk were listed as ingredients. This is not something a poor, hungry person would have eaten. It is also important to note that until very recently, cook books were not written for the "average" person. Only the noble, wealthy, and religious leaders were taught to read. The recipes contained in them reflect the meals of the upper classes. In France the dish is also called "pain perdu!"
"...what amounts to French toast seems to have been popular throughout [medieval] Europe. But everyone seems to have has his own name for the dish: Maestro Martino and some English authors called it "suppe dorate" and "soupys yn dorye" respectively, while French writers favored "tostees dorees," reserving the word "soupe" for slices of bread soaked in the potage (which gives rise to the expression "trempe comme une soupe," the French equivalent of "soaked to the skin"). Eventually, as we know, the world "soup" would come to mean the actual liquid in which these soupes were soaked. Other English sources surprisingly call this dish "payn purdeu," clearly the same as today's French name, "pain perdu." And of course the modern English term is "French toast": what goes around comes around. In England and in Italy, these golden brown bread slices were served with game meats and with peacocks and other grand birds. We do not know exactly how they were used in France even though there are several otherwise undefined menu references to venaison aux soupes,
"game meat with sippets." In any event, we have once again thrown in our lot with Maestro Martino, because his recipe is the most polished of them all, using rose water where no one else thought to do so. Still, some of the English recipe are not without delicacy, specifying that the butter for frying the toast should be clarified (gently boiled to separate out its impurities, which prevents burning) and that the bread would be soaked not in whole eggs but in beaten egg yolks that have been put through a sieve to make them perfectly smooth and creamy."---The Medieval Kitchen, Recipes from France and Italy, Odilie Redon et al, [University of Chicago Press:Chicago] 1998 (p.207) Maestro Martino's recipe.
More History
First made at a roadside tavern not far from the city of Albany in 1724, there are few dishes more truly American than the breakfast favorite known as "French toast". So American is the dish that very few can understand why it is not called "American toast", "Albany Toast" or even "New York State toast". The confusion comes about because the owner of the tavern at which the dish was invented had a very poor knowledge of grammar. When Joseph French decided to name the dish after himself he should have written his invention as "French's toast" (that is to say, the toast of French). Because he did not know how to use the possessive apostrophe, however, the dish appeared on his menu simply as "French toast". In short, the dish has nothing whatever to do with French culinary history but in the two hundred and seventy years that have intervened, no one has taken the time to correct the grammatical error. From further back in time another tells, French toast isn't French. It comes from a Roman cookbook, dating back to 1000 or 2000 B.C., and titled "Apicius on Cooking."
To date, historians know of three different people named Marcus Aurelius Apicius. Which one of them is the "real" Apicius is uncertain. The most famous, though, is the one who (posthumously) wrote a cookbook. Historical accounts are somewhat sketchy, but the Apicius we are talking about was born 25 BC and lived until 37 AD, during the reign of the emperors Augustus and Tiberius. He was the first to inspire a book on high-class Roman cuisine, the "De re coquinaria" or "On Cooked and Baked Things" which was published in the 4th century and consisted of a collection of Apicius' recipes. His other work is the preceding "De condituris" ("On Condiments"), a book on sauces which was absorbed into "De re coquinaria". The latter is one of the oldest cookbooks existing to date.
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Marcus liked living the high life and strove to always find more exotic or just plain weird concoctions, such as nightingale tongue, pickled pig's brains or (I kid you not) stuffed sterile sow's womb. By Seneca the Younger's account, his tragic end was caused by the realization that in the end his fortune only consisted of a mere 10 million sesterces (making him by today's exchange rates still only a paltry multi-millionare), which led to him taking his own life by poisoning.

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5 comments:

imac said...

Nice combination, flowers and food, you can have the flowers and I'll have the yummy food.

Brill post.

DeeMom said...

Come on down I can serve an army if I need to, BUT bring FLOWERS! ;)

Ida said...

Beautiful flowers! :)))
And a solid breakfast. ;)
Yummi.

Have a nice week.

Alyssa said...

That breakfast looks good enough to eat off the computer screen! I'd have to take a nap after that delicious meal. I loved the French toast history lesson - very interesting.

Old Wom Tigley said...

'D' you never cease to amaze... what a great post this is... and I thank you for the music link.. another place for me to while away the hours now listening to great tuns and songs.

Cheers 'D' you're a star