“French Toast around the Globe! A Celebration of the Fabled Breakfast Food for National French Toast Day, November 28,” by David Galef

Nov 26th, 2023 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

French toast, also known as pain perdu, or lost pain, is a time-honored staple of frugal French housewives and househusbands (maris de maison) everywhere. It consists of stale bread that even le chien refused, lovingly bathed in egg and milk and fried in something called a poêle. It is then dusted with cinnamon and hung on the wall as decoration.

The Spanish variant of this dish, tostada francesa, or the toast of St. Frances, closely resembles the French dish but greatly resents the comparison. Tostada francesa doesn’t need any snobbish French chefs telling them how to cook, gracias.

The Mexican version, humbly called a tostada, is the same as in Madrid but with a tortilla and some decent filling. It also performs all the menial tasks that other American cuisine shuns and at half the wages.

No one ever mentions Egyptian French toast, even though it was around thousands of years before the French item.

Indian French toast does not exist but spurred loose cultural imitations in many other countries.

The Chinese version uses an egg roll batter because that’s what Americans ordering takeout on a Thursday night seem to want. What’s inside features minuscule shrimp and vegetables and something else.

Japanese Furenchi tōsuto is a perfect copy of the French version, down to the molecular level. It was, however, taken centuries ago from the Koreans.

British French toast with baked beans on top is unspeakable.

American French toast is ritually drowned in fake maple syrup that drips on your shirt with each forkful. The Canadian version is similar but with real maple syrup.

Disambiguation: À votre santé is a French toast.


David Galef has had humor published in places including the old British Punch and Spy magazine to The American Bystander, Points in Case, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Satirist, Weekly Humorist, Inside Higher Ed, and last but in no way least, Defenestration. Since almost every humorist needs a day job, he’s a professor of English and the creative writing program director at Montclair State University.

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