The 16th Century Origins Of Quiche Lorraine

Lorraine is a picturesque region of northwestern France that is bordered by Belgium and Germany and, of course, home to its namesake quiche (via French Moments). However, when most people think of egg-based tart, they probably think of it as a fairly modern invention. On the contrary, quiche Lorraine has recorded origins all the way back from the 16th century during the Renaissance period in Europe (via CRNTL). Its culinary journey is proof that this period in history was a time of change, not just for the world of art and innovation for which it was known, but for food as well. 

New innovations in cooking started to evolve during this period, sugar became a major ingredient and the beginning of a distinction between savory dishes and desserts that came at the end of the meal (via LeFoodist).  In this North Western region of France, the humble savory quiche was born. It wasn't the first time eggs and cream had been brought together. Custards have been around since at least Ancient Roman times and the Quiche Lorraine — with its addition of pastry and bacon — is a variation that has been perfected over time (via Ocala StarBanner). 

In fact, the first Quiche Lorraine were different from what we're familiar with today and, while the dish definitely has a French name, it's technically not a French invention.

Is quiche German or French?

In continents like Europe, borders were often contested, and wars were fought and won or lost (via World Economic Forum). It's easy to see how cities and regions running along the borders would one day be German, another day French, and so on. Back in the 1500s, the region now known as Lorraine was under German rule and was known as Lothringen — a name that sounds like it could belong in Tolkien's Middle Earth.

When the now world-famous quiche began gaining notoriety, it was originally known as a dish for the lower classes (via National Today). According to Food Reference, the name comes from the German word for cake – 'kuchen'. This later evolved into 'kische' and finally 'quiche'. A similar dish known as Zwiebelkuchen can be found in Germany, translated as "onion cake," this dish originated in the Black Forest region of the country, which borders France.  I Like Germany reports that this dish is traditionally prepared in the fall because onions grow in abundance at this time of year. It contains similar ingredients to quiche and is also baked in an oven. 

Whatever the origin of quiche, it's now enjoyed in many countries and has become so popular that there's even a National Quiche Day on May 20 but you can enjoy it anytime you want. If you're unsure how to start or are just looking for a great recipe, here's a Quiche Lorraine recipe from Mashed.