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best thing since what?

The other day I cut a slice of bread for a sandwich before I remembered that we had delicious leftovers that I could bring for lunch instead. I grumbled as I put all the bread back in its bag, annoyed that it would be a little staler than it should have been thanks to being exposed to air on two sides. It wasn't until a little later that it occurred to me that, at some point in my life, I only ate bread that came from the store already sliced; and furthermore that many people are even now in that sad situation themselves. Not us: even the second-rate, non-homemade bread we get from the food pantry tends to be leftover faux-artisanal loaves from Panera which are also resolutely unsliced. In fact, I think I may be able to say that in his nearly four years of life Harvey hasn't eaten pre-sliced bread more than a handful of times.

Not that there's anything wrong with pre-sliced bread, necessarily. Were I a rich person going on a picnic and stopping at the bakery for a loaf of bread I might request that the bakery boy slice it for me, for convenience sake, which would take away nothing its quality. But it does seem to be the case that bread that comes from the store already sliced is more likely to be not good. As much as I used to love Home Pride in my college days, but lately I don't feel the need for so many ingredients in my bread:

Wheat Flour Enriched (Flour, Barley Malt, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron] , Wheat Flour Enriched (Flour, Barley Malt, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron], Vitamin B [Niacin], Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid [Vitamin aB]), Water, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Yeast, Wheat Bran, Wheat Gluten, Wheat Flour Whole, Molasses, Contains 22% or less Salt, Soybean(s) Oil, Butter, Honey, Whey, Calcium Sulphate (Sulfate), Dough Conditioner(s) (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Dioxide), Polysorbate 60, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ammonium Phosphate, Soy Flour, Datem, Enzyme(s), Ethoxylated Mono-And Diglycerides, Mono and Diglycerides, Yeast Nutrients (Ammonium Sulfate)

In the blog post linked to above (no, I don't have any idea who the author is; his blog was just high on the Google rankings for a search on "Home Pride") as objection is raised in the comments to dealing with bread that comes to the table unsliced. I'll admit that it did take me a long time to feel really comfortable cutting bread; many a slice in the years between 2004 and 2008 came out decidedly uneven. But it's still all food, and no one should complain too much about a piece of bread being too thick. And in any case, today I can turn out as skinny a piece of bread as you'd ever like to see, so clearly practice is all.

So no, sliced bread is not the greatest thing. Voting is now open for a replacement saying.

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