As an executive coach who consistently encourages her clients to limit email in service of greater focus and productivity, my first reaction to the recent news that French employees will be required to disconnect from email and smartphones after work hours, was a vision of comedian Mike Meyers. Yes, my vivid image was of Meyers in his famous Saturday Night Live skit “Coffee Talk with Linda Richman,” offering that “French toast is neither French nor toasted. Discuss.”

According to Wikipedia, the earliest known reference to French toast is in the Apicius, a Latin cookbook from the 4th or 5th century. In fact, long before the French applied their own appellation of “pain perdu” (which translates to “lost bread”) to stale bread soaked in milk and egg and then fried, they called it “pain a la Romaine,” i.e., Roman bread. Similarly, although France is the latest entity to announce some version of a formal ban on email, they certainly did not invent the idea.

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