Leftovers From Around the World: Bread

I have this theory that many traditional/regional dishes actually started out as leftovers or scraps, and generally include ingredients that were readily available, prepared in a routine way, to avoid waste and occasionally to save time. People didn’t always have such easy access to food–or to lots of cooking implements–as we do now, so were perhaps more anxious to use everything. Let’s start with bread, a very basic foodstuff in the West.

picture of half-sliced loaf of bread

Think about it: What’s a (traditional Italian) pizza if not a scrawny piece of bread dough stretched out a bit, baked with a few tidbits of this and that thrown on? I’m sure I read somewhere that tarte flambe (French pizza, baked flat but served rolled up) was traditionally made with scraps on bread-baking day in Alsace–at the end of the day, in the dying embers of the communal oven. Over time, favourite combinations of toppings got named and, like other regional dishes, became prescriptive recipes to future generations or the otherwise uninitiated.

So what else fits my theory–just in terms of bread?

French toast? Stale bread soaked in an egg and milk mixture, fried. (From France, obviously, although they call it ‘pain perdu’ which means ‘lost bread’.)

Bread and butter pudding? Stale bread, but this time buttered with milk and egg poured over, and baked. (From the UK.)

Croutons for salad? Stale bread again, sliced/broken/smashed up and dried/baked/fried with herbs. (French.)

Bread stuffing? Essentially croutons, moistened with stock, dressed up with various additional ingredients, depending on circumstances (winter veg, nuts, oysters…), stuffed in the cavity of a bird, fish or rolled joint and roasted with it. (American, especially for Thanksgiving. … Definitely traditional in the USA but possibly not originally American. A quick internet search was inconclusive.)

Surely this was our ancestors, making the most of their bread!

These are just a few mainly European examples of how to use leftover bread or scraps of bread dough. I’m sure you can think of others.  Please share, and say where they originate!

I'm an American living in the UK, combining rural Mid-west ideas about food with a suburban coastal British reality. It's fun!

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Kitchen Economy, Leftovers
One comment on “Leftovers From Around the World: Bread
  1. Sara Inverso says:

    Anything that uses dried bread crumbs as a thickener like soups, meatloaf, hamburger, etc.. Also, anything rolled in bread crumbs like a lot of deep fried items.

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s Creative Economy in the Kitchen about?
Sharing a lifetime of experience of kitchen challenges. Respecting food and making the most of what's available. Read more on my About page.
Search the site by category

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

March 2015
Image of versatile blogger award
Blogging U.

© Julia Davis-Coombs and Creative Economy in the Kitchen, 2014-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia Davis-Coombs and Creative Economy in the Kitchen with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Honey Homestead

My quest to grow 3 beehives into financial independence & the homestead that followed

Frustrated Nomad

always dreaming, sometimes doing...

Dining with Donald

Donald on Dining in and Out.

organised castle

A simple, sustainable life

%d bloggers like this: