Toast Of The Town

In round one of the NBA Playoffs, Portland Trailblazer guard Damian Lillard made a game winning, series clinching, buzzer beater to defeat the Houston Rockets (video above).

Thanks to his clutch shooting and exciting play, Lillard has become one of the best young players in the NBA. Following his incredible game winner, one restaurant even named a sandwich after him, calling it the Damian Grillard.

The same article that reports of the new sandwich also calls Lillard “the toast of the town” in Portland.

I am not sure if they meant it as some type of sandwich pun, but that line got my attention. I’ve always thought “toast of the town” was a funny expression. Don’t get me wrong, I love toast, but why is that the food item of choice to portray someone who is widely admired? Things like pizza or ice cream are much better than toast, so why isn’t the phrase “the pizza of the town” or “the ice cream of the town.”

That is what I would like to know in today’s Wonder Why Wednesday.

Where Does The Phrase Toast Of The Town Come From?

According to The Phrase Finder, the saying originated in the 18th century from exclusively male drinking clubs. In those clubs, the “toast” was the woman who was “regarded as the reigning belle of the season.” The men flavored and heated their wine with hot spiced toast and drank to the “toast of the town.”

So there you have it, “toast of the town” has little to do with actual toast. I guess it makes sense that such an odd phrase would come from a bunch of drunk guys.