Posted on February 28th, 2011
Bread — quite possibly the quintessential food the world over, one of the most fundamental parts of the diet of people on every part of the globe. It is believed the ancient Egyptians were the first bakers, the first loaf possibly discovered when some porridge got left out too long. Wild yeast in the air or on the grain itself caused it to ferment, and when Akbar accidentally dropped the sludge onto a stone in the fire, voila — primitive bread. Granted, the story is a bit far-fetched, but incredible shit happens every day. From there sprang a range of flatbreads, from Middle Eastern pita, Indian paratha and roti, Ethiopian injera, Central American tortillas, all the way to Italy with their big mustaches and pizzas and focaccia. Once the mysteries of yeast became better understood, bread popped up and became something you could make a sandwich on, instead of just a “wrap”. Leave it to the smaller-mustachioed French to elevate bread to maybe its most refined form, the crispety-crunchety baguette. We ‘mericans contributed Wonderbread. Yay, us!
The very word “bread” is synonymous with sustenance, providence. What other food is so weighted with symbolism? Pudding? Corn chips? No. Bread fills in as Jesus meat in the Catholic church. “Loaves and fishes” is some sort of parable. ”…a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou” — what more do you need? Nothing! Maybe condoms.
But wait! Haven’t you heard? Bread is BAD. Bread has gluten, and for that reason you should not eat it. Why is gluten so terrible? I don’t know, and I don’t care. Maybe because it sounds like glue? People are afraid bread will make their intestines stick together? Whatever the fuck, it is absurd. Now, I grant that there are maybe 9 people out there suffering from celiac disease, which is possibly not entirely pyschosomatic and causes real physical hardship in the presence of my dear friend Mr. Gluten. But the vast majority of the abstainers are whiners, health-trend bandwagon-jumpers, hypochondriacs, and wackjobs. When the lo-carb craze hit, bakeries saw business plummet 15% as a direct result of yet another retarded diet concept. Bakers clambered to high ground and waited for the waters of idiocy to subside, never imagining what absurd fear would rise from the sludge in its wake.
I’ve seen the best minds of my generation pass up a plate of piping hot biscuits. Sheer lunacy. Tell the people rioting in the streets for want of bread — in Paris (1725), in Richmond VA (1863), in Mozambique (last month) that really, they should be grateful, because the staff of life is actually bad for you. Go ahead, tell the starving mob. I’ll wait.
Bread is your birthright as a human being. Claim it, with butter.