Monday, September 23, 2013

Got Bread?

A story today on National Public Radio today about bread got me to thinking about a post I’ve wanted to do for some time now -- about bread.

This campaign slogan is plastered on billboards and inscribed on bread bags in 130 cities around France. Rough translation: "Hi there, did ya pick up the bread?"
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It seems that the French bakers’ lobby has launched a campaign urging French people to eat more bread. Imagine that! A country known for its baguettes, croissants and other scrumptious bread products – and the French people just aren’t eating it any more – at least in the amounts they once did. Read the story here.

What has caused this decline in bread consumption? According to the NPR report, many French people don’t eat a sit-down lunch any more; people, especially the young and those who live in cities, eat sandwiches or skip lunch and snack.

Imagine that! Having access to all that wonderful bread and choosing not to eat it!

I have gone through periods, especially after travels to other countries, and even other cities in the U.S., when I’ve longed to replicate the breads found there. The crunchy exterior of baguettes:

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heavenly croissants:

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and pain au chocolate. 
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Ah, heavenly tastes!

I’ve delved into breadmaking myself at times, with mixed results. Now I just try and seek out artisan loaves becoming more common now in shops near where I live. But they are few and far between.

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Publix supermarkets do a pretty good job of producing French baguettes and the long skinny French loaves. The Atlanta Bread Company also has good breads, and I like to eat there when I'm in town and bring home some of their delightful pastries.


A loaf from Publix. This is a very good bread.
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Pastry counter at Atlanta Bread Company; bread in the cases in the background.
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I love good bread and could almost exist on it and nothing else!

Here are a few fun bread facts I found (Credit)

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  • Wonder Bread was first sold (in the U.S.) in 1921, and later became one of the first to be sold pre-sliced, being marketed  nationwide in 1930. This led to the popular phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread", upholding a paragon of American innovation. (Just a personal opinion of mine, but pre-sliced white bread packaged in cellophane represents all that's wrong with bread in this country.)
  • Bread is probably the one food eaten by people of every race, culture and religion.
  • It takes 9 seconds to harvest enough wheat to make about 70 loaves of bread.
  • The "pocket" in pita bread is made by steam. The steam puffs up the dough and, as the bread cools and flattens, a pocket is left in the middle.
  • Each American consumes, on average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
  • An average slice of packaged bread contains only 1 gram of fat and 75 to 80 calories.
  • A family of four could live 10 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat.
  • One bushel of wheat will produce 73 one‐pound loaves of bread.
  • Breaking bread is a universal sign of peace.
  • In 1997, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 36.5 billion loaves of bread, or enough to provide each person on earth with 6 loaves of bread.
  • Farmers receive approximately 5 cents (or less) from each loaf of bread sold.
  • Napoleon gave a common bread its name when he demanded a loaf of dark rye bread for his horse during the Prussian campaign. "Pain pour Nicole," he ordered, which meant "Bread for Nicole," his horse. To Germanic ears, the request sounded like "pumpernickel," which is the term we still use today.
  • Bread is inexpensive, relatively speaking. At an average cost of about $2 a loaf, bread is a strong nutrition value for the dollar.
  • Folklore: Hushpuppies are pieces of fried cornmeal batter which are a great southern tradition. Years ago, pieces of the fried batter were fed to hungry dogs that begged for food. After the scraps were given to the dogs, the owner would say "Now hush, puppy."
  • Fortune cookies are not a Chinese invention. They were invented in 1916 by George Jung, a Los Angeles noodle maker.
  • The sandwich is named for the Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718‐92), for whom sandwiches were made so that he could stay at the gambling table without interruptions for meals.
  • 3,000,000 - the number of cases of pellagra, a nutrient deficiency disease, recorded before the enrichment of grain foods in the 1940s. Today, cases are nearly nonexistent in the United States.
  • 1,500 - the number of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches the average American student will have consumed upon graduation from high school. (Source: Great Food Almanac)
  • 925.5 Million - the pounds of snack crackers sold in 1997. (Source: Snack Food Association)
  • 193 - the number of sandwiches the average American eats a year, with ham sandwiches as the all‐time favorite. (Source: NPD Group)
  • 53 - the number of pounds of bread the average American consumes.
  • 45 - the percentage of Americans who mistakenly believe that bread is fattening. (Source: Gallup)
  • 0 - the number of studies published by Robert Atkins, M.D., (Atkins' New Diet Revolution); Michael Eades, M.D. and Mary Eades, M.D. (Protein Power); Barry Sears, Ph.D. (The Zone) or Richard Heller, Ph.D. and Rachael Heller, Ph.D. (The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet) that shows high‐protein, low‐carbohydrate diets are safe and effective.
Do you eat lots of bread or bread products? Which are your favorites?






14 comments:

  1. i enjoy good bread, too, and not white/sliced. good bread is getting easier to find in the grocery stores. i'm not having any trouble keeping up my end of that per capita bread consumption ;)

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    1. Nor am I! It's my favorite food group! :)

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  2. I love bread and eat most varieties (too many to name) with the exception of really hearty whole wheat that gives me serious indigestion and really intense sour dough. My favorites are french baguettes and perhaps pita-type breads. I had to laugh about pumperknickel : ) Happy Monday Sanda...

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    1. Happy Tuesday to you, Mona. I think I could live on bread alone!

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  3. I don't eat lots of it for the obvious reasons, but I could easily eat more. I do like the new breads which have things like sundried tomatoes, cheese, dates and walnuts in them, it is making my mouth water just thinking about them.

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    1. Oh yes, love those types with the added ingredients you mention.

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  4. Sanda, you are making me hungry! Yes, I love bread, but have to ration myself strictly because I can easily eat too much. Don't like white sliced bread, and to me it lacks nutrition. I prefer a wholemeal, rye, or a sour dough bread. But when in Paris, definitely baguette and croissant!

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    1. Yum, wishing I had a baguette right now!

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  5. Bread might be my favorite category of food. One of the locally famous bread makers (Acme Bread) has their bakery about 4 blocks from our house. Walking by in the early morning with that bread baking smell pouring out is dangerous!

    Darla

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    1. Lucky you! The smell of bread baking is one of the best smells there is, along with brewing coffee!

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  6. I don´t see dark rye bread in the pictures above. It is the healthiest and in the long run, the one you don´t get tired of.
    White bread might taste good, but there is no nutrition in it, so I avoid buying it.

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  7. Hmm. I just typed a response but it disappeared. Hope it doesn't show up twice. But what I said was that rye is a very good bread and I like to use it for sandwiches. And yes, it's very nutritious. I think rye with caraway is somewhat of an acquired taste. And you are so right about white having no nutritional value.

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  8. Love bread and the smell makes it even better! Love the pumpernickle story..one of my favorites as well as dark eyes for sandwiches. Also love hard crispy loaves with your cheese mixture inside! Starving right now!

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    1. Looking at bread photos makes me hungry too!! Ah, that cheese mixture is so good on hard crust french bread!

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