Toad in the Hole vs. One-Eyed Jack: What’s the History?

According to Wikipedia, Toad in the Hole isn’t at all what I thought it was. 🤨 Various and sundry websites on this side of the Atlantic led me to believe the delectable egg and toast dish I make is this British delight called “Toad in a Hole.” Turns out, the traditional historic dish is sausages in a Yorkshire pudding. And it appears the delectable egg/toast breakfast delight my family loves is having an identity crisis – probably since its inception. 😂 In today’s post, I’m going to share a little history on Toad in the Hole vs. One-Eyed Jack.

Toad in the Hole vs. One-Eyed Jack: What's the History? | Culinary Craftiness

A Little History

Firstly, batter pudding, most notably Yorkshire, became widespread in the mid-1700s. There are several articles detailing the history of Toad in a Hole, so I’ll not go into it here. As I researched, I came across this recipe for it that sounds easy to make for those who’ve never had it and want to give it a try.

Toad in the Hole

Secondly, the first mention of anything “in a hole” was in a cookbook published in 1747 called The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse. Any kind of cheap meat was used and it was a good way to stretch leftover beef, lamb, liver, kidneys, pork, or chicken for another meal.

The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy

However, a pancake-type batter with meat in it wasn’t originally called toad in a hole. It was just called meat boiled in a crust. No one is sure exactly where the name came from.

Toad in the Hole vs. One-Eyed Jack: What's the History? | Culinary Craftiness

Pigeons in a Hole

Here’s a recipe for Pigeons in a Hole from I love reading historic recipes – and most anything, really. It’s sometimes difficult because the letter “s” looked like a tall “f.” But the way they spoke is clearly evident in the way they wrote. So different from how we speak today.

Pigeons in a Hole
Pick, draw, and wash four young pigeons, stick their legs into their belly as you do boiled pigeons. Season them with pepper, salt, and beaten mace, put into the belly of every pigeon a lump of butter the size of a walnut. Lay your pigeons in a pie dish, pour over them a batter made of three eggs, two spoonfuls of flour and a half a pint of good milk. Bake in a moderate oven and serve them to table in the same dish.”

The Experienced English Housekeeper, Elizabeth Raffald, 1769

Toad in the Hole vs. One-Eyed Jack

Thirdly, it seems some people over here in the U.S. have mistakenly thought the toast with egg dish is Toad in a Hole. It has so many names though, it’s no wonder. Other names for One-Eyed Jack include “eggs in a basket,” “eggs in a frame,” “bullseye eggs,” “egg in a hole,” “hole in one,” “pirate eye,” “gasthaus eggs,” “gashouse eggs,” “hole in one,” “one-eyed Pete,” and “popeye.” I love the hero in my book, Abandoned, named Jack, therefore that’s the name I’m sticking with from here on out. 😄

One-Eyed Jack Recipe

  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • salt & pepper

Place butter in a skillet large enough to hold two pieces of bread and the two cut out rounds. Turn the heat to med-high.

Cut circles from the bread using a 2″ biscuit cutter or drinking glass – save the circles to fry in the butter, too.

Place the bread in the melted butter and carefully crack an egg in each. Salt & pepper. Add the circle cut outs on the side wherever they’ll fit. Lower the heat if necessary.

Let the egg cook 1-2 minutes depending on how you like them best – over easy, over medium, or over hard, then carefully flip the egg/bread over. Cook for another minute, or to desired doneness.

Spread your favorite jam, jelly, or honey on the rounds.

One-Eyed Jack | Culinary Craftiness
One-Eyed Jack | Culinary Craftiness
One-Eyed Jack | Culinary Craftiness
One-Eyed Jack | Culinary Craftiness

In conclusion, I hope my little history post about Toad in the Hole vs. One-Eyed Jack cleared things up! 😁 And I hope you give this super easy dish a try because it’s surprising just how delicious it is!

Happy eating! 💕

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