Le pain perdu, literally “lost bread”, is a dish made of sliced hard or stale bread soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk, and fried in butter. In Switzerland, it is often called croûte dorée and in Quebec pain doré, obviously for the golden color of the dish once it’s baked!
So why do English-speaking people call it “French toast”? Although the recipe dates back to the Roman Empire, according to a legend, it would have been created in 1724 by Joseph French. Despite a successful career as an innkeeper in Albany (N.Y.), the amateur chef never really learned how to write. And for this reason, the dish has been called “French toast” instead of “French’s toast”.