What food was the result of cooks needing to be quick about their cooking?
Although no bread was recorded as being called a baguette (French for “wand” or “stick”) before 1920, long loaves of crusty wheat bread have been typical in France since the era of Louis XIV, when they often reached lengths of a yard or two and were quite wide. One origin story of the modern slender shape claims that Napoleon Bonaparte passed a law decreeing that bread for his soldiers should be made in long slim loaves of exact measurements to fit into a special pocket on their uniforms. Another points to a growing interest in bread that didn’t need to be cut with a knife. For some time, a loaf of bread was regulated by weight, so in order to make it thin enough to be easily torn, it ended up being long and slender. A final theory gives credit to a 1920 French law forbidding bakers from working between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. With less time to prepare the traditional, often round, loaf or boule (hence bakers in French are called boulangers) before the morning rush, bakers turned to the baguette, likely because its thin form allowed it to cook fast. The bakers loved it because it went stale quickly and the customers would come back for more later in the day!