All food comes from somewhere, and while you may not think about the origin of omelettes late at night, it certainly will help come trivia night. Even if you’re not the type for that sort of game night, food tastes better when you appreciate its origins as well as what goes into making it.
Being that omelettes are a popular breakfast food and seems to be one around the world, where did it start? Who came up with that delicious idea for the world to enjoy most mornings? Sure, there are a lot of varients on it now, that’s what happens when things travel the world.
So, let’s get into what we know about the origin of omelettes before talking about how they’ve changed in different places. It’s kind of amazing that this delicious meal has so many types floating around the planet, but we’ll get to those too.
Who Made the Omelet?
Since the word “omelet” is French, no one could blame you for thinking that is where the dish began. The word is derived from ‘alumete’ and was first used in the 14th century to describe what we now call the omelet. What’s kind of fun, if you’re a language nerd, is that ‘omelete’ wasn’t used till the Cuisine Bourgeoisie was published in the late 1700s. To further back up the French origins of omelettes, there is a tale about Napoleon and his army:
The emperor Bonaparte was traveling with his army through a small town where a local innkeeper made omelettes. When Napoleon tried one, he was so enthralled with it that he had the town gather all the eggs and create one big omelet for his army. No one is sure if this event actually took place, but the town where it was said to happen celebrates every year. If you’re ever interested in checking it out for yourself, take a gander at Bessieres, France. That’s where they make the giant omelette for the whole town every year.
It’s true that France is the most likely candidate for the origin of omelettes, doesn’t Rome predate France? The Romans prepared ‘ovemele’, which had honey and eggs. Beyond the Romans, the Persians also had a version of the omelet too. Perhaps, like pyramids, it occurred to the ancients to whip up some eggs and dairy then fold it for breakfast.
Till Doctor Brown returns from his time-traveling excursions, we may never know for sure.
The Many Omelets
With the origin of omelettes covered, to the extent known, let’s move on to how they’ve manifested around the world. Here is a quick overview of the way omelets are made in other cultures:
- Spain: The omelettes here are prepared with potatoes, or patatas, that have been sliced and sauteed in oil. Along with the potatoes are ginger, onion, and bell peppers, cooked before being thrown into the beaten eggs. While in Europe and America the omelet is folded, in Spain they are prepared kind of like a cake, cut into wedges to serve. \
- Japan: Here omelettes come in a rectangular shape rather than cake or folded and look intimidating to cook. If you look at the recipe, the shape is misleading as it’s pretty easy to prepare. The eggs are whisked with sugar, water, and rice vinegar before being cooked and rolled up. Each roll is a thin layer of omelet and when cut into pieces is serviced with some dips.
There are many more variations, but let’s get to the one most people look for…
American vs. European Omelets
While the origin of omelettes may not be such a simple answer, the difference between American and European omelettes is. The eggs just have different textures due to cooking.
In America, the omelet is cooked to be more crispy on either side and in Europe, they’re soft and more fluffy. Don’t think runny, because they aren’t undercooked. They’re more like creamy clouds, a very soft texture. If you’re more than a little curious about this difference or any others, take a look here:
You may have expected radical differences between the two, like Japanese omelettes vs American, but the European style is quite similar to ours.
Just Eat It
Since you found this little cranny of the internet, it’s safe to assume you wanted to know the origin of omelettes. Even if it was just to prove friends wrong at a trivia night or trying to stump them in some game or other. Well, now you know the few potential origins as well as the differences in how omelets are made in a few different cultures.
The most important thing to take away from this article though…
eat the omelets! They’re delicious!