Even if you are a baby boomer, you probably never heard of Otto Rohwedder, but you likely remember Wonder Bread. Rohwedder, an engineer by training, didn't create Wonder Bread, but his invention made it possible.
Otto Frederick Rohwedder (1880-1960) designed the first commercial-use machine that sliced and wrapped entire loaves of bread. The first package of sliced bread was sold by the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri on July 7, 1928. Although it fell apart after six months of heavy use, Rohwedder's second sliced-bread machine debuted in late 1928 at Korn's Bakery, in Rohwedder's hometown of Davenport, Iowa.
The public came to love the convenience of sliced bread, and by 1929 Rohwedder's Mac-Roh Company was feverishly meeting the demand for bread-slicing machines. By the following year, the Continental Baking Company was selling sliced bread under the Wonder Bread label. Having achieved success, Mr. Rohwedder reflected on his invention in the June 1930 issue of the Atlanta-based bakery trade journal, New South Baker: "I have seen enough bakers benefit in a big way from Sliced Bread to know that the same results can be obtained by any baker anywhere if he goes about the matter correctly. A good loaf, a proper presentation of Sliced Bread to the grocers and a truthful, clean advertising program based upon successful experiences and the baker can build his business far beyond what he could do without Sliced Bread...We are continuing our experimental and developmental work confident in the belief that the real possibilities of Sliced Bread have scarcely been scratched."
He changed the world with his simple invention. And it's his fault it is so easy to eat too much bread. Think about how the world conspires to get us to eat bread. Your favorite restaurants bring it to you BEFORE the meal; it's hot, fresh, and just waiting to be devoured. Some guy by the name of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, made it easy for us to take it with us. It's a conspiracy, I tell you!
According to Wikipedia, "The history of bread goes back at least 30,000 years. The first bread produced was probably cooked versions of a grain-paste, made from roasted and ground cereal grains and water, and may have been developed by accidental cooking or deliberate experimentation with water and grain flour.
The importance of bread in the formation of early human societies cannot be overstated. From the western half of Asia, where wheat was domesticated, cultivation spread north and west, to Europe and North Africa, and enabled humans to become farmers rather than hunters and foragers. This in turn led to the formation of towns, as opposed to the nomadic lifestyle, and gave rise to more and more sophisticated forms of societal organization. Similar developments occurred in eastern Asia, centered on rice, and in the Americas with maize."
The holidays took their toll on my waistline, so when I decided on February 1, 2016 to drop ten pounds off my "Bread Basket," I wrote in my journal, "NO Bread FEB!" It was a tough decision, yet one I knew I had to commit to. Bread is my Achilles heel, my wellness Kryptonite, and my fondest childhood memory of Mum's homemade bread fresh from the oven and smothered in butter and jam.
So why is it so hard to turn down? One reason is, "Good habit are hard to form, but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with." History is filled with bread in its doctrine and philosophy:
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." -John Muir
"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." -Mother Teresa
"A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou." -Omar Khayyam
"The sky is the daily bread of the eyes." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If you're broke, you don't want to rap about being broke; you gonna rap about hustling and getting that bread." -Rapper Juicy J
It's even in our prayers, "Give us this day, our daily bread..."
And then there is the phrase "Our new product is better than sliced bread!"
One of my favorite movies is Nora Ephron's classic film, Michael, played brilliantly by an overweight John Travolta as the Archangel Michael. When he comes downstairs for the first time, Andy McDowell's character says with great affection, "It smells like baked goods!" THAT is the allure of bread; it smells so good!
Would you like to drop ten or twenty pounds over the next 21-35 days? Simple, just do three things:
- STOP eating bread for 30 days!
- Cut your portions in half!
- Walk, swim, spin, or play basketball! Commit to doing something you like for the next month.
By the way, weigh yourself first and measure your waist. You need to have a goal. You need to ask yourself "how much and by when?" Then list the reasons why you want this goal.
It's only been 22 days, but I am now wearing my favorite jeans (you know, the "skinny jeans" you have stuffed away in the corner of your closet) that don't make my butt look fat. Moreover, there is no better feeling than to drill a hole in your favorite belt. It does something to our self-worth and self-esteem when someone comments on how great we look.
Maybe I'll start saying a different prayer in the morning: "Give us this day our daily KALE!" That might help my waistline. Middle age is, after all, when your broad mind and narrow waist trade places. Now hand me that big bowl of broccoli!