The White Bread Rap
A Short and Personal Look at World History
My high school text started with the Etruscans. Some archaeologist found a golden spoon, so the Etruscans ate with golden spoons, right? —– Nooo! —– How about the poor Etruscans? And while we’re at it, who ate the white bread?
OK? And now we come to the Classical world: lead, right? Who didn’t mind a little lead poisoning as long as it made them feel special? At least the rich Patricians, but think about those poor slaves and Plebeians who spent their days picking the lightest wheat berries out of the grain supply so that their fat Senators could eat white bread. Did the poor working people get to eat with that soft, toothy heavy metal? Nooo! They had to use wood and they had to eat the dark bread, too.
You’ve gotten my point by now, so let’s skip ahead to Dickensian England. Ebenezer Scrooge ate with a silver spoon, right? And Bob Cratchett? Wood, of course. And who ate the white bread?
Now, Colonial times and the rise of the middle class: employment, wages, travel, the beginnings of freedom and the iron spoon. What’s a little bad taste if it means you’re not poor anymore? And everybody wants white bread, of course. Somebody’s probably figuring out how to bleach flour about now.
OK —– Napoleon —– get this!! You are a guest at the table of the “Little Emperor” —– very special —– you must be somebody! And your spoon is made of the rarest metal on earth! That’s right —– aluminum. Just discovered —– wow! And what’s a little battery mouth and early onset Alzheimer’s as long as it separates you from the hoi polloi, who, of course, were using wooden spoons and eating the dark bread.
Yes, brothers and sisters! The rich have inconvenienced and sickened themselves since forever just to know they are not poor.
—– and next —–
the 20th century! Stainless steel and Wonder Bread —– hurray! —– we were all rich!!
Those spoons were stamped out by machine, had square edges, were not sharp enough (Oneida didn’t want any law suits), cold with ice cream, hot with soups —– almost as conductive as gold and silver and much harder. But…..we did begin to learn something about bread. The “whole wheat” movement began in the 50s.
where my personal eating spoons are warm with ice cream, cool with soup, soft in the mouth, healthy, and so sharp that there will be no juicy puddle in the bottom of your melon rind.
—– So —–
Eat with wood —– be rich, be poor. Feel special or not, and rejoice. After all, you’re eating whatever bread you want!