February 15, 2003
Eggy Bread

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online wants to rename all foodstuffs named after the French. Here is her latest note on the subject:

Reader Josh Mercer sends this: "OR MAYBE VICTORY FRIES: Chips might not take off as a substitute for fries, unless we re-name potato chips as potato crisps. What might work better is what we did during WWI. We renamed frankfurters to be Victory dogs, which then became hot dogs. Think about it: French bread = Victory bread, French toast = Victory toast, French fries = Victory fries, etc."

There is already a better and more accurate name for French toast. My late grandmother always said that "there's nothing French about it", that it's a Scottish invention, and that the proper name is 'eggy bread'. The first point is certainly true: I once served some excellent eggy bread to a Frenchman, who found it totally unfamiliar and mildly disgusting. (She also liked to say that marmalade made with Scotch -- yes, there is such a thing -- is "a terrible waste of good Scotch and a terrible waste of good marmalade".)

Posted by Dr. Weevil at February 15, 2003 11:20 PM

Fried potatoes works just fine for me. No need to give it another name. Or just plain "fries".

I am, by the way, among the world's greatest fry cooks. At home, I mean. Never cooked for anyone for money. My mother is in town, and specifically asked me for "Chicken McMeryl," which is my version of small strips of chicken, breaded and fried. Nothing like the crap McD's sells you.

Mine was great, by the way.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish on February 16, 2003 11:26 PM

Instead of Victory Fries, how about Vichy Fries? As for the Eggy Bread, I've recently tried a wonderful dessert from that part of the UK. Deep Fried Twinkie... Mmmmmm!

Posted by: Cybrludite on February 16, 2003 11:53 PM

"how about Vichy Fries?"

Petain Potatoes?

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein on February 17, 2003 11:26 AM

French vanilla ice cream: Vanilla-bean ice cream
French bread: Crusty bread
French fries: Fries
French toast: Battered toast
French braid: Topsytwist
French kiss: Tongue kiss
French Stewart: Whiny Geek Stewart
Franco-American: Americanned Foods
French-cut Bikini: Hip-cut bikini
Brussels Sprouts: Snotweeds/Snotballs

Just wait until Spain stabs us in the back. We'll need to rename Spanish Fly into... Mexican Fly?

Posted by: Laurence Simon on February 17, 2003 02:13 PM

Meryl - got any recipes? I have yet to find a really good recipe for fried chicken. Sounds silly, but I just can't seem to get one that's got that 'finger-licking-good' umph to it. heh.

Posted by: amy on February 17, 2003 03:41 PM

I know that this is intended in jest, yet the connotations are somewhat disturbing.

In the wave of hyperpatriotism over US entry into World War I, Americans went after anything smacking of Germany. Sauerkraut became Victory Cabbage, and Americans of German descent who had retained Germanic monikers were advised to change them to "good American names."

While I'm as fed up w/ the French as the next person, I think that renaming foodstuffs and other items that happen to have the word "France" or "French" in them does little, other than make us appear remarkably petty and sophomoric.

At the end of the day, far better to eat French fries, engage in French kissing, and make French toast, all the while enjoying the fact that we made a mockery of French leadership of EU through deft diplomacy and a mockery of French oil companies by cutting them out of the new protectorate of Iraq.

"Don't get mad, get ahead."

Just a thought....

Posted by: Dean on February 19, 2003 02:58 AM


This is a bit embarrassing, but I had been recommending my mother's recipe for Oven Chicken for years when someone pointed out that she got it off the back of the Bisquick box. (Not that she ever claimed it was original: I just never thought to ask where she got it.)

Highly recommended: The chicken bakes as it fries, so it's guaranteed to be done through, you don't have to watch it, and there's no spattering. (Well, not on you, just on the inside of the oven.) Using Bisquick instead of flour makes it much fluffier and crunchier. And using butter for the shortening makes it really good even cold. Just look on the back of the Bisquick box.

Disclaimer: I am not now and never have been an employee or stockholder of whatever company makes Bisquick.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on February 24, 2003 04:10 PM

Your grandfather spoke sooth. We call it eggy bread in my family. My father's from Fife. And one does not put cinnamon on it unless one wishes to be known far and wide as a wee soft nancy boy poofter!

Posted by: David Gillies on February 24, 2003 06:31 PM

Your grandmother spoke sooth. We call it eggy bread in my family. My father's from Fife. And one does not put cinnamon on it unless one wishes to be known far and wide as a wee soft nancy boy poofter!

Posted by: David Gillies on February 24, 2003 06:32 PM

First comment slipped past my proofreader.

Posted by: David Gillies on February 24, 2003 06:33 PM

I don't put cinnamon on it, I put a bit of cinnamon, a dash of salt, and either vanilla or rum in the milk and egg mixture before soaking. What I put on it when it's done is butter and either maple syrup or orange marmalade or raspberry jam.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on February 24, 2003 08:43 PM

What a coincidence! My son David Born 2/24 date of David Gillies message Where is family from ?NY?Nova Scotia /Scotland? Nancy Gillies

Posted by: n gillies on February 28, 2003 10:07 AM

I would like to put you Americans straight. I am a Brit, and although I'm not very fond of the French, you simply cannot go about wanting to change French bread to "Victory" bread. For one thing it just makes you Americans look rather stupid, and just gives us other countries yet another reason to make fun of you. Besides, French bread is french. You cannot rename it with a ridiculously stereotypical American name. Whilst I detest France's notion that they invented the pancake(not your little pancakes, which by the way are Scottish. You might call our pancakes crepes, which is the foolish French name), I cannot stoop to their level. Anyway, French food, although I hate to admit it, is rather good. If you rename their food, you'll be just be destroying the only admirable things they have left in this world.

P.S. This is to Dr. Weevil, and any other fool;s who mistook French toast for eggy bread(by the way, I don't care if my insulting way of speaking makes you Yanks dislike me, it just gives us here another reason to not like you). French toast is simply a slice of bread, buttered on both sides, and then fried in a hot pan. To make eggy bread, it surprisingly needs some egg. You mix some eggs in a bowl with some milk, and then you either soak the bread with the egg mixture, or you coat the sides with it. Then the bread is fried in a pan with a little oil. I hope I've made my point.

P.S. (again) I have to admit that I don't know whether French fries are French or American. When you go to France, and order some "pomme frites", they certainly look and taste the same as your American fries, a poor substitute for our British chips. I think that's all I have to say.

Posted by: Black Niggle on January 6, 2004 12:39 PM

My totally insane girlfriend calls eggy bread, "fishermans toast".

Is she nuts or what?

Posted by: Leggy on January 9, 2004 06:04 PM