Which part of France invented the French toast
10 French things that are not French at all
Bread, berets, breakfast food - many things come to mind when someone mentions France. However, as it turns out, most of the things you think are French weren't made up in France.
In fact, most "French" things aren't nearly as if they were originally French. Take off your beret, put down the French toast and get ready to be shocked by the French things that don't exist.
10 french kisses
It is accepted as a fact that French kissing is French. After all, it's spot on in the name. But experts agree that French kissing is not a French tradition at all. The kiss is mentioned for the first time in literature Kama Sutra, a famous book written before France existed as a nation. The kiss itself dates from at least the fifth century BC.
Some owe Alexander the Great for spreading awareness of the "French" kiss as he conquered India and added it to his vast empire. What is now known as France was part of the Roman Empire when the Kiss came to the region. The Romans in particular enjoyed the kiss and gave it to the French.
The French got the French kiss recognition from Americans who visited the country in the 18th and 19th centuries. Women were more affectionate here than in America, which was largely founded by religious peoples who believed in kissing as the sole behavior in the bedroom.
American male travelers soon spread the word that women would get a "French kiss" when visiting the country. The name caught on and now, despite its ancient origins, the kiss is associated with France.
9 French toast
All of those Sunday breakfasts were a lie. The delicious syrup-coated bread dish you know as French toast is not French at all. In fact, the recipe is so old that it was eaten before France even existed.
The ancient Romans, who lived in the early fifth century, regularly ate French toast. Their recipe was to soak bread in milk and then fry it in butter or oil, as is still cooked today.
Legend has it that the modern twist on the recipe was added by an innkeeper in Albany, New York named Joseph French. He started making French toast for customers in 1724, and the dish quickly caught on. The version of French toast eaten today isn't named for the country, but for Joseph French - although the name is admittedly quite confusing.
8 The French manicure
Fancy manicures have been around for almost as long as fashion itself. Richer people have cared for their nails for 5,000 years, making French manicures a relatively new nail trend. And when the look was invented in 1927, it was first worn outside of France.
The “French” manicure was developed by the famous Hollywood beautician Max Factor when he invented two new nail colors. One was a creamy shade of pink that matched the natural color of unpainted nails. The second was a pure white that contrasted perfectly with the other polish when painted just on the tips of the nails.
The white tipped pink nail manicure was popular for years before it was classified as French in the '70s when Jeff Pink used a style similar to Max Factor to create a natural nail look. He was asked to repeat the process on the Paris fashion tracks and the trend quickly continued as a "French" manicure. The look has since been associated with French fashion, although it was originally invented far away in California.
7 The French horn
Two men who were certainly not French are mainly referred to with the invention of the French horn. The instrument was not invented or modified in France, but the intricate design led the English to refer to it as the "French" horn. The name stuck.
Horns were mainly invented for hunting and were not used in musical compositions until the 1500s. When the traditional horns were modified with large, flared ends, the nickname "French" horn was used in the 17th century.
For the design used today, however, it was Heinrich Stoelzel and Friedrich Bluhmel. They invented the valves that give the French horn its distinctive sound. The double horn, the design with more modern French horns, was designed by Edmund Gumpert and Fritz Kruspe. No man was French. More than any other nation, Germany is responsible for today's “French” horn.
6 The French braid
The history of French braids goes back to before France existed ... before the nations really existed. French braids are as old as ancient Greek culture (where women were depicted with braid styles in art) or even ancient Africa (where rock art depicts French braid styles that are 6,000 years old).
Braids were worn by Celtic warriors when Europe was still carved into tribes, and Sung dynasty women wore them as a popular style of the day in ancient China.
French braids are one of the oldest and most widely used hairstyles. Why are they called French for so long? It all happened in the United States in 1871 with a short story published in Arthur's Home Magazine. In the story, a man asks his wife to wear her hair in "that new French braid". French braid design has been associated with France ever since.
5 The beret
The beret is such an iconic French symbol that you can hardly tell the hat apart from the nation. Here's the catch: the beret wasn't invented in France. Biblical legend has it that the beret was invented by none other than Noah himself out of flood fame after discovering trampled wool near his sheepfold.
The wool was felted, which Noah cut into a circular shape and wore on his head.The beret was worn at least in ancient Greece (around 1500 BC) and was the most popular hat for men in the Middle Ages.
The hat's origin may be dark, but there is no question that French shepherds popularized the look. Shepherds who worked in the fields around the French Pyrenees wore wool hats to keep warm on the cold nights of the 17th and 17th centuries.
French artists who live in the Left Bank area of Paris popularized the look again in the 1800s and 1900s when they were the hipsters of their time. It was then that the beret became an iconic symbol of French artists, and thus also of the French people.
The French were the first to use berets in the military, which is why the style is associated with the nation. French soldiers were already wearing berets in the 19th century. Today, U.S. soldiers and military personnel around the world wear berets to mark specific ranks and regiments.
4 french fries
No, french fries are not French either. They were actually invented in Belgium, but "Belgian fries" don't roll off your tongue that easily. Belgian lore says that potatoes were fried there in the 1600s, which made it a popular treat. The villagers began slicing and frying potatoes the way they had sliced and fried their fish.
Although french fries are a staple food these days, most Americans didn't really know about them until World War I.
However, some Americans learned about french fries long before the First World War. Thomas Jefferson served as the American minister in France in the 1700s and particularly valued French food. In France he tried french fries and took the recipe home with him. The fried potatoes were even mentioned in an American cookbook from the early 1820s, but didn't find US eaters until World War I.
3 French dressing
Photo credit: artfuldishes.com
French dressing as it is known in America is nothing like the salad dressing you get in France. In France, salads are cooked with oil and vinegar (vinaigrette). The tomato-based preparation known as "French Dressing" is most likely an American invention and its origins are shrouded in mystery.
Salad dressings became popular in America in the 19th century, and many early entrepreneurs began packaging and selling their own dressing recipes. The Campbell Soup Company was one of the companies that got involved in salad dressing early on. They published recipes for the salad dressing - with Campbell's soup, of course - before WWII. Maybe they added the tomato to French dressing first, which made it completely American from now on.
However, one of their early recipes calls for Campbell's tomato soup, a taste that has become the standard of what Americans call French dressing. Tomato-based salad dressings are in no way traditional French cuisine.
2 French twist
There is nothing French about the French variant other than the name. This twisted hairstyle actually comes from ancient Greek fashion. Women in ancient Greece wore their hair in many intricate hairstyles. In France, the French twist was known as Chignon du cou. It's a lot easier to say "French Twist" that's how the hairstyle became famous.
The French twist was particularly popular in the late Victorian era in the 1890s. The chic look may have contributed to its name. In Great Britain and America at the time, many things were ascribed to France that were not actually French inventions.
1 The croissant
The croissant. It's one of the first things people think of when they think of France. It is so typically French that the croissant is practically used as a symbol of the country. But these rich, flaky, crescent-shaped pastries aren't French. Not at all.
It wasn't that long ago that croissants were hard to find in France, although it's pretty hard to believe today. In the 19th century, they were only available in specialized Viennese bakeries that were only found in the more expensive neighborhoods of Paris. By the 1800s, it was known even among the French that this shortbread was a foreign delicacy that was difficult to find.
The croissant comes from Austria, where it is known as croissant. This is a crescent-shaped pastry with lots of butter or lard, sometimes sprinkled with sugar and almonds, and is clearly the forerunner of today's croissant.
According to Austrian legend, the delicacy was invented in Vienna around 1683, first baked to celebrate a victory over the Ottomans. However, that is not true. The Kipfel, the grandfather of today's croissant, already existed in 1227. It was presented to Duke Leopold along with other Christmas presents from Viennese bakers. There were crescent-shaped baked goods before that.
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