Sunday, July 7, 2013

"The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread"

We were watching CBS Sunday Morning this a.m. when the 'Almanac' story informed us it was 85 years ago today that the Chillicothe Baking Company (Missouri) produced their first sliced bread using a machine invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa.

Sliced bread wasn't something our family saw much of when I was growing up. My mom baked almost all the bread consumed in our home. It was rare to have store-bought bread. The reason she made our bread was probably as much because she enjoyed baking as it was for economical concerns. I do remember that she bought flour in fifty pound sacks.

Mom usually baked twice a week making two or three loaves at a time. She was the only one who could slice a loaf of bread uniformly. If I tried the top of the slice would be a half-inch wide and the bottom would be an eighth of an inch or less.
I remember how much I wished we could have store-bought, pre-sliced bread for the sandwiches we took to school. I envied the other kids their perfectly sliced, soft white bread. I know I saw our homemade bread as a sign that we were poor and couldn't afford the store bread.

Once in a very great while Mom wouldn't have time to bake bread and would resort to buying it. I know I really wanted Wonder Bread ("Builds strong bodies"), but never got it. Usually it would be whatever the store brand was which was the cheapest, occasionally it would be Colonial Bread which had a bakery in Des Moines, Iowa.

Even after we were grown and gone and Mom was widowed, she still baked bread on a regular basis. She just plain liked trying out different bread recipes. For fun I pulled the Bread section out of her recipe box. The ones she has marked Good or Very Good are: 'Honey Whole Wheat Bran Bread'; a Kitchen Klatter recipe from March, 1976; 'Ruthie's Rye Bread'; 'Raisin Bread' and 'Custard Corn Bread'. A couple recipes that sound interesting: 'Sauerkraut Rye Bread' - wouldn't that be good for Reuben sandwiches - and 'Savory Bubble Cheese Bread'.
I was surprised to find a recipe card in my handwriting - it says simply 'Muffins - Yummy'. I do vaguely remember making these when I was in high school.

I didn't appreciate Mom's home-baked bread when I was a kid. I'm glad I learned how much better it was than the fluffy white stuff from the store as I got older. What I wouldn't give for some of Mom's homemade bread today! To me, her's was the greatest thing since sliced bread!

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the memories. "Kitchen Klatter", "Colonial is good bread" (Hampell's store had a sign like that on the screen door as you entered).
    When Cliff and I were riding the motorcycle through Chillicothe, there was a huge sign painted on one of the buildings that said "The Home of Sliced Bread".
    My mom didn't bake bread, but early in my marriage I baked all of ours for three or four years.