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From Humble Beginnings, Comes Garlic Bread (and We’re Grateful)

From Humble Beginnings, Comes Garlic Bread (and We’re Grateful)

by | Feb 28, 2023

You like Garlic bread, right? Who doesn’t. Garlic bread has become an ever-present side to many meals the whole world over, and not only Italian dishes. For example, garlic bread is often served with Indian dishes, soups, chicken, and even seafood, with numerous toppings and variations seasoned to match the accompanying cuisine.

Origins of Garlic Bread

What Is Garlic Bread?

Garlic bread is essentially bread that’s topped with butter or olive oil, garlic, herbs (such as oregano, basil, or chives), and sometimes cheese, and then is toasted. Practically anyone can make it using any kind of bread (even American white bread). The most delicious garlic breads, though, tend to be those made using French bread, baguette, or the original Italian bruschetta.

Garlic bread was brought to America by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Originally made from bruschetta, the lack of olive oil in the United States at the time meant that more plentiful butter was substituted.

Some people like their garlic bread soft, while others like it crunchy or toasted. Either way is delicious.

There may also be some health benefits to garlic bread. Garlic, one of its main ingredients, naturally, contains many vitamins and minerals, including manganese, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, calcium, beta-carotene, and Vitamin C.

The Origins of Garlic Bread

So where did this globally popular main dish accompaniment come from?

Garlic bread dates to pre-Roman days in Tuscany, Italy. For anyone counting, that’s a long time ago, more than 2,000 years in fact. Back then, garlic bread was considered a poor Roman’s meal, often made from days-old bread that needed strong seasoning (such as garlic) to cover for its age (and potential moldiness).

Soon, however, its tastiness (and the fact that garlic was considered a cure-all and aphrodisiac) made garlic bread more and more popular with Romans of all kinds, including soldiers who took to eating it while they marched. It’s possible that garlic bread even made its way to the dining tables of even the most influential of Romans, possibly even Caesar (though no one knows for sure).

Eventually, Garlic bread made its way to America’s eastern shores via Italian immigrants. Its popularity then moved westward after World War II where cheese became a common topping. Texas toast, anyone?

Today, at Tommy’s Pizza and Subs, our traditional garlic bread is one of our most popular sides – though we suspect some of our customers just order it as a standalone meal, it’s that yummy!

Bring Family and Friends Together with Tommy’s

From family dining, takeout and delivery, to custom events and fine catering, Tommy’s serves a wide range of delicious foods made from freshest ingredients. We’ve been doing so for more than 30 years and want to be your favorite place for pizza and other authentic Italian menu items, like garlic bread.

You can check out our menu and order online or by phone (619-499-5273) or stop by our restaurant on Magnolia Avenue in Santee, California. We also offer daily specials, and Tommy’s now delivers in the El Cajon/Santee, California area Thursday through Sunday.

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