The Regional Reason Omelet(te) Has Two Different Spellings

Have you ever noticed how some restaurants and publications spell the word omelet as omelette? You're not alone, and there is a good reason for the difference in spelling. As with all classic culinary terms, "omelette" is the original French word for the savory egg dish. Omelette is the preferred European version of the word, while in the west, we simply call it "omelet." 

Although France is attributed with the omelette's creation (both the word and the egg dish), the omelet has been traced to the early 1500s to the Spaniards and Aztecs and is thought to have been invented during the Persian Empire. Different regions not only determine the spelling of the word omelet — the way they cook omelets is also different. A classical French omelet is different from the American version; the former is thinner and focuses on the egg as the centerpiece of the dish, while the American version uses an array of toppings to fill theirs, resulting in a larger, thicker final product.

Even today, the word is spelled differently in Europe and America, but the pronunciation is more or less the same.

Omelet vs. omelette

The word "omelette" first appeared in the French classic "Cuisine Bourgeois" written by François Menon. The origin of the word traces its roots to a 1400s iteration, alemele, which means, "blade of a knife or sword", referencing the shape of the cooked omelet. Although the omelet has been around since the Persian Empire, this classic French cookbook put the word on the map along with other French culinary techniques. When the dish moved west, the colonialists simply dropped the "te," as they did in many other words, and the term has since been commonly accepted as "omelet".

We know that this egg dish had been around for some time before making its way into classic French cookbooks. In fact, the Romans also had their own version that can be traced back to a Roman collection of recipes called the "Apicius". After Menon introduced the word in his book, Napoleon Bonaparte put omelets on the map when he traveled through the south of France. There, an innkeeper fed him an omelet for breakfast and he was so impressed that he had the chefs make a huge omelet for his army. While this may just be a myth, the people of Bessieres, France, celebrate this tradition every year at Easter.