This week I’m alone in our house in Menya which gives me lots of time to work–which makes me hungry–and lots of time to think–which makes me contemplative. Perfect conditions for the following revelation…

Because I have a fantastic wife, I started the week with two loaves of sandwich bread and three loaves of banana bread in the freezer. It’s more than I’ll finish, but I don’t complain about not running out of things. Today I was slicing a top and bottom for my tuna salad sandwich and the saying “The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread” came to mind. I don’t know who coined the phrase or the conditions under which it was uttered, but I would like to declare it now defunct. Perhaps sliced bread was, historically, something different than it is now, but presented with the choice between the current grocery store version of sliced bread (even the artisan varieties) and Elizabeth’s unsliced option, I would pick Elizabeth’s every time. The slicing effort is well worth the reward. Was there a time when sliced bread was as good as a homemade loaf? Maybe. Who am I to disparage the opinions of our forefathers? But now the disparity is immeasurable. If anything, sliced bread has rendered something delightful mundane. It is so difficult for me to imagine a packaged sliced loaf of bread surpassing the caliber of Elizabeth’s unsliced homemade bread I have to wonder if I’m missing the point of the saying. Is it an indicator of time rather than quality? As in “The best thing since the turn of the century?” Do enough people know when sliced bread first appeared to make it a meaningful temporal demarcation? I doubt it. If the phrase is ruined for you, as it is for me, consider this substitute: “The Best Thing Since Elizabeth’s Homemade Bread.” The only problem is how rarely you will find an occasion to use it.

2 Comments
  1. I wish my 97-year old grandmother could post on here. She talks all the time about how store bought bread was a treat that could only be afforded once in a while, while homemade bread was a commodity. This was when she was little. I cannot imagine it either, though. 🙂

    • Elizabeth

      sara, i can totally relate to your grandma! When we go out to the base and can get store bought bread it is super exciting to me! I am sure that a mom who had to bake her own bread started that expression!

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