Soldiers (food)

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Toast soldiers.JPG
Toast soldiers
Type Toast
Place of origin United Kingdom
Cookbook: Soldiers  Media: Soldiers

A soldier is a thin strip of toast; the strips that a slice is cut into are reminiscent of soldiers on parade. The toast is sliced in this manner so that it can be dipped into a soft boiled egg that has had the top of its shell removed. Many people also enjoy "marmite soldiers" in the UK or "vegemite soldiers" in Australia which follow the same principle and are spread with Marmite or Vegemite respectively.

The name soldier actually derives from an abstraction from "shoulders" and refers to the classical way of serving the egg in the centre with the toast on either side, looking much like a head with shoulders.[1] Over the years it became linked to the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty."

In 2005 The Daily Telegraph reported the invention of a device for cutting bread into soldiers.[2] Shaped cutters to produce soldiers shaped like human soldiers are also available.[3]


The specific term "eggs with soldiers" dates only from the 1960s, the earlier term "boiled egg with shoulders" appears in the 1855 cookbook Soyer's Shilling Cookery for the People. The modern phrase first appeared in print in 1966 in Nicolas Freeling's novel The Dresden Green (where it is used to eat soup). It seems likely that it was either popularised or invented in 1965 in a series of TV Commercials for eggs starring Tony Hancock and Patricia Hayes.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Soyer's Shilling Cookery for the People, Soyer, A.
  2. ^ Derbyshire, David (14 October 2005). "Boiled egg fan finds the way to make perfect toast soldiers". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Example on sale at Amazon
  4. ^ consulted 16/6/2016