It's said that the French dish pain perdu inspired the French toast, both of which feature similar ingredients and methods of preparation, but the French didn’t create the latter.
The earliest record of a dish resembling French toast was discovered in a 4th-century Roman cookbook by Marcus Gabius Apicius called "Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome."
The recipe in the book, aliter dulcia (meaning "another sweet dish"), depicts crustless white bread pieces being soaked in milk and beaten egg, fried in oil, and doused with honey.
In the 14th century, the English cookbook "Forme of Cury" described "payn fondue" as bread soaked in wine, fried in grease, and sweetened with dry fruits, spices, and sugar.
That tells us how it spread throughout Europe. By 1615, "panperdy" was printed in "The English Huswife" cookbook, described as sliced bread soaked in eggs, spices, sugar, and salt.
Interestingly, a version of French toast in a 1660 cookbook called "The Accomplisht Cook" uses no eggs at all but instead calls for soaking bread in wine, sugar, and orange juice.
As for the term "French toast," innkeeper and Albany resident Joseph French introduced it in 1724 as "French's toast," but a grammatical error deleted the apostrophe and the "s."