A Conversation for A Brief History of Toast
MadMaxTwo Started conversation Feb 25, 2007
I have done a bit of research on the subject (although I was focusing on the toast as in, well, a toast in honor of someone), and I could not unearth any evidence that the term "toast" used to refer to toasted bread dates from the Roman times.
In Latin, the past participle "tostus" was, in fact, used extensively, but I couldn't find a single reference to toasted bread; instead, it was used to mean "singed" or "burned", referring to any number of other things. Pliny, in particular, used it quite often, but never in reference to toasted bread.
Late Latin, so-called "vulgar Latin", transformed the past participle into a newly minted verb, "tostare". In Medieval French, this became "toster", which the Normans brought to England. It apparently came to mean "burnt bread" in the Middle English times; as far as I am aware (here I am indebted to an online author, whose page I am unable to find right now), the first mention of the term was in the 1390 cookbook entitled The Forme Of Cury, to be found here: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/8102
For the etymology, try pretty much any online dictionary, or:
For the Latin texts, try the Perseus project, which probably contains every single major text by now; try the various forms of "tostum":
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