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Egg with Toast Soldiers

1124 of 1160 nominations


Egg with Toast Soldiers

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Egg with Toast Soldiers

What is the ideal width for a toast soldier? The answer, according to Mike Minton (who has just invented a new labour-saving toast-cutting device to make the perfect soldier), is 22mm. Thin enough to fit snugly into the hole at the top of your boiled egg but not so thin that when the toast is smothered in creamy egg yolk it goes soggy and leaves you with egg on your face, your lap, your best silk tie, etc. Although dipping toasted bread into your soft-boiled egg cannot be an exclusively English pastime, the nickname does seem to be a typically English whim. Why we started calling the thin dipping strips of toast “soldiers” is anybody’s guess, but astonishingly, the term does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary in its breakfast context until 1966. Anybody know what we called them before that?

Photo © ImageState / Alamy


Your comments

No-one had nominated anything beginning with E so I thought it was about time.

Natalie Aronson

So grateful to you all for clearing up this bit of mystery. I'm addicted to English literature, especially detective stories which is rife with little toasted soldiers. I'd guessed at the meaning but was never quite sure...
Toni Trees

Firstly I would like to state that egg and soliders are better with bread not toast! This is because the egg yolk seeps into the bread wonderfully.

View All Comments (6)



My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry