When people go on a diet, bread is usually the first thing to go. The biggest rule for “eating out on a diet” is to say no to the bread basket at a restaurant. You are told to replace your morning toast with sweet potato “toast”. (It is not toast).
Yet it is becoming more and more apparent that it is only a certain type of bread. Artisan sourdough and wheat-free and taste-free rye bread are totally fine. Warburtons sliced bread? The devil. Makes sense? Not really. In reality, this is almost a class issue; despite being basically the same in nutritional content and ingredients, sourdough is just seen to be more accepted than your shop bought white loaf. Apparently paying £4 for your loaf of bread as opposed to a £1 packaged version makes you immune to the gluten-and-carb-fuelled diseases, when in reality there is hardly any difference. Not to mention that these diseases do not exist unless you’re a coeliac of course.
Perhaps it also has something to do with aesthetics; for the Instagram onslaught and with a need for everything to look picture perfect, a crusty slice of freshly baked bread perhaps makes a better photo than a squishy bleached white yet much tastier slice. (This is definitely my opinion but i’m willing to fight you on this. Squishy bread tastes way better than the cardboard, ahem I mean sourdough, that scrapes the side of your mouth and takes a million years to swallow. It absorbs all of the flavours better and can be eaten easily with two hands caveman style. Take THAT Paleo). Despite the fact that cheaper loaves usually come in a perfect square, this is a sign of its overt stance as a packaged commodity, as opposed to the slightly wonky *insert ancient all-healing grain here* baked loaves.
It is the same with the holy-grail avocado toast. Bang another piece of bread on the top and you have yourself a sandwich my friend. BUT I here you roar, SANDWICHES ARE BAD. Sandwiches are the sign of all that is wrong with our ready-made, meal deal-friendly obese world. However, open out the sandwich and arrange all of the fillings in a neat pile that is perfect for a flat lay photo, and you’re suddenly health food guru extraordinaire. Do you see where i’m going with this?
I am not exempt from my own anger. I too have been a slave for the sourdough, and I am still partial to a slice of german rye bread. I realise that is a contradiction to my taste-free comment, but allow me a little artistic licence. This post is also aimed at myself, as I am trying to break free from the shackles of the diet industry that have bound me for so long. There was a time when the only day of the year, yes ONE day, I would allow myself white bread would be Christmas morning, with a sausage and egg sandwich on thick white bread and lashings of butter. Of course, this year will be minus the sausage, but I don’t want to reserve one of the greatest things in the world for one day a year. There is no comfort food quite like a cup of tea and toast and one of my earliest memories is asking my mum for ‘hot tuttery boast’ as a small child.
So, do me a favour. Treat yourself to a squishy buttery sandwich. Spend a little less on your loaf this week and see how you feel. And, most importantly, do not cut out bread altogether. If the only bread you want is the slightly safer spelt bread then fine. Our mate Jesus did not declare “I am the bread of life” for nothing.