Food for Thought: The Story Behind Melba Toast
We munch and crunch, guzzle and gobble and savour their tastiness. But where exactly did these delicious foods and drinks get their name from?
There are so many dishes and drinks out there with a title attached to them but did you ever wonder about the origin of their names?
This week we’re bringing you the story behind the heavenly Melba toast.
Melba toast is a scrumptious, crisp, thinly sliced type of toast that’s often served with soup or topped with pâté or melted cheese.
Its origin dates back to 1897 and was named after Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba whose real name was Helen Porter Mitchell.
The singer was concerned about health and her figure and needed a staple food in her diet. She found that the toast at the hotel where she was staying was too thick.
The special toast was created for her by chef Auguste Escoffier, it is said that then hotel proprietor César Ritz named the toast in her honour after a conversation with the chef.
Not only did Escoffier come up with this iconic toast but he also created the Peach Melba for the singer (see image below).
The difference between the average slice of toast and Melba is that the bread is lightly toasted under a grill, that toast is then sliced again and the thin slices are returned to the grill with the untoasted sides facing the heat source.
Melba toast is much thinner than regular toast.
The toast was popularized in 1925 by the Mayo Brothers who prescribed the toast as part of the “Eighteen Day Reducing Diet” to actress Ethel Barrymore.