The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Monday, March 12, 2012

Aaron Bobrow-Strain, professor of politics at Whitman College and now author of White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf, talks about his new book and what our choices of bread say about us and about our communities.

The Ward Bakery was considered the country's biggest and best bread bakery when it opened in 1910. The building was torn down for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. A photo of the bakery is here.  


Aaron Bobrow-Strain

Comments [14]

nyginko from ny10025

Correction, please?
Amy and Aaron! I mistakenly though well motivated attributed the name of ADAM to the author. Thanks, ...

Mar. 12 2012 01:12 PM
nyginko from ny10025

Amy and Adam, thanks so much for your talk about b r e a d ! ! !

Ciesse, I wish we would have more effective labelling practises here! Just this week, after finishing my last slice of my own made bread, I brought home a "whole wheat" baked by a local artisanal bakery. But there were also many different kinds of seeds in this w.w. bread I discovered when I got home. It is a good bread, but the vendor didn't know what was in it and simply said, "whole wheat."
Also I'd like to ask the author, Adam, what did happen to Dr. Graham's efforts in the early 1900s to mill whole grain flours and sell whole grain breads and crackers? Now the company sells graham crackers that are no longer made with the original whole grain graham flour! Although Kalustyan's on Lower Lex. does sell Dr. Graham's original style flour!
And please if you care look at the chapter on bread in Aveline Kushi's cook book. After reading it several times I came to understand what is it that makes spontaneously arising yeast doughs so good for us. Though I admit it took me a long long time to think that I could step aside from the whirlwind of life here and do it myself. And I am doing it.

Mar. 12 2012 12:32 PM
Ann Moore

Bread has been called "the staff of life" since forever--and for a reason. Well made, with the fundamental ingredients, it still deserves that label. It's not bread that makes us fat and clogs our arteries, but the other stuff we are eating in fattening quantities that don't meet the dietary qualifications of a good slice, or loaf, of bread.

Mar. 12 2012 12:11 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

That's why I never buy "whole grain"

Mar. 12 2012 12:01 PM
kay from brooklyn

I did it well, took it on my head to the neighborhood public oven, stumbled on the way, the bread/dough fell on the street, neighbors picked it up, said It's ok. gonna be coked; don't worry. k

Mar. 12 2012 12:00 PM
Kevin from Spanish Harlem

Hey, I just want to say, Amy Eddings, you are great! Great job today & always! I always love when you're on WNYC! One of my most fave, unflappable WNYC correspondents! And as a social worker, I truly appreciate your skilled interview style and excellent questions! Cheers!

Mar. 12 2012 11:58 AM

German bread adheres to strict standards for its contents and nomenclature. American breads on the other hand contain a long list of inscrutable ingredients and "whole grain" can mean everything BUT whole grain. Comments?

Mar. 12 2012 11:57 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It's just a wonder how Wonder Bread was able to get away with probably the most false advertizing propaganda in commercial history, "Wonder Bread builds bodies in 12 ways." Nothing could be more opposite to the truth.

Mar. 12 2012 11:56 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I ate lots of white bread as a kid, now I only buy whole wheat.

Mar. 12 2012 11:54 AM
kay from brooklyn

I recall making "my" first bread, in Rabat. Mommy was really ill, and coached me; I think I was 6, then; Flour, yeast, a pinch of salt; knead welle; let it rise, knead again; let it rise........

Mar. 12 2012 11:53 AM
Betsy from nyc

I have the worst memory of Wonder bread! My mother would sometimes make me a hamburger and use wonderbread instead of a bun when she ran out!!! I'm still traumatized. I'm a fan of the Arnold, double fiber bread these days. Tastes great, no HFCS, and 6g of fiber per slice!

Mar. 12 2012 11:52 AM
Andrea Noren from Adelphia, NJ

Although as a very young child my mother used Wonder Bread, we quickly moved to whole wheat bread when it became available at the local stores. I baked bread for my daughter through her early childhood, as we all preferred home baked bread. I have a loaf of Anadama bread rising right now - didn't know about the segment - just a happy coincidence.

Mar. 12 2012 11:51 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I reject bread, period! Bread makes you fat. Carbohydrates make you fat.

Mar. 12 2012 11:50 AM
Julie from 11211

My main criteria for buying bread is that it has as few ingredients as possible. I see vinegar, corn syrup, honey - all disgusting! Give me yeast flour and water!

Mar. 12 2012 11:49 AM

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