Toque

From Academic Kids

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TheLangtryToque.jpg
The ‘Langtry’ toque

A toque (pronounced /tok/) is a type of hat with a narrow brim or no brim at all. They were popular from the 13th to the 16th century in Europe, especially France.

A toque blanche is a tall, starched, white, pleated hat worn by chefs, although the blanche is nearly always dropped. The term literally means "white hat" in French and may have come from the old Spanish toca. The many folds on a chef's toque are believed to signify the many ways that an egg can be cooked. Many toques have exactly 100 pleats.

The toque most likely originated as the result of the gradual evolution of head coverings worn by cooks throughout the centuries. Their roots are sometimes traced to the casque a meche (stocking cap) worn by French chefs of the eighteenth century. The color of the casque a meche denoted the rank of the wearer. Boucher, the personal chef of the French statesman Talleyrand, was the first to insist on white toques for sanitary reasons. The modern toque is popularily believed to have originated with the famous French chefs Antoine Carême and Auguste Escoffier.

The spelling (pronounced /tuk/) is often used for the tuque, an originally French-Canadian woolen hat worn in winter. This "fashion" originated when coureurs des bois kept their woollen nightcaps on for warmth during cold winter days. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary regards the two words as being etymologically unrelated, with the "toque" spelling for this type of hat being as a result of assimilation.

See also: toque (rhythm) for the rhythm associated with a specific orisha in the Santería religion.

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