Monday 25 May 2015


We Brits never really learned to value bread.
‘We’ didn’t..? I certainly did.
Had a major “baker” stopped selling bread in France, there might have been a riot. But then in France, bread has always been highly political
The French can make fashion political.
In Germany there might have been indignation. Walk around its cities, be it Bochum or Berlin, and the national bakery chains fill their windows with sumptuous displays of glossy, golden loaves that are to a British supermarket loaf what a BMW is to a Rover.
Ah, I see a pattern: “Oh, look at the continentals, so progressive, so superior to us awful Brits!”

The progressive press seems to have no trouble finding people who loathe Britain, yet unaccountably never choose to live in the countries they always hold up as superior.
Despite war, pestilence and the advent of reality TV, good bread remains central to the cuisine of those northern European nations that can actually boast a cuisine. That it isn’t in Britain says a lot about the fate of our food culture.
Yup, here we go – the idea that if we were only more like the revered continentals (who never indulge in Le Big Mac or ein Slurpee) we’d be so much better. We’d no longer be British, but then, isn’t that the point?

But wait! Haven’t we seen a revival of bakery recently? Well, it seems we have, but it’s the wrong people doing it:
Of course, in the last decade or so there has been a revival of artisan baking. When I made a series for BBC Radio 4, I met a slew of amazing people for whom baking was less of a job and more a calling. And yet little has changed in wider attitudes. Many people think nothing of parting with four quid for a pint or three for a coffee, but spending a similar sum on a loaf of properly crafted bread strikes them as outrageous profligacy, the preserve of hipsters and smug middle-class foodies.
And well they might! They don’t, after all, have the salary of a ‘Guardian’ writer, do they?

And there’s not that much wrong with plain old white bread anyway, is there? Isn’t it better than no bread at all?
Greggs is the state of the nation’s stomach. And it’s costing the NHS in excess of £20bn a year to fix the consequences of our collective diet; obesity, heart disease, diabetes. No major party had the Greggsnuts during the election campaign to talk about taking on a food industry that we are in effect subsidising through our spending on the NHS. But don’t blame Greggs. If we wanted better food and a healthier society we’d demand it.
*yawn* The usual Nanny State male generative organs we’ve come to expect.

Luckily, we have a new Tory government who won’t put up with this sort of nons…




Anonymous said...

We bake our's cheaper than shop bought, and no additives.

Uncle Badger said...

There is a special place in hell reserved for foodies. Their brand of sanctimoniousness that manages to combine xenophilia with snobbery is the telltale sign of a 'progressive' and has been, since the time of that arch-bore Elizabeth David.

It's no wonder that the BBC runs so many programmes about cooking.

Anonymous said...

IMHO Kingsmill brown bread is the finest on the planet. I don't really like white bread at all, I find it tasteless and chewy. I eat a sensible diet and take regular exercise but got diabetes anyway. Is there a moral in my story? Over to you neo-puritans.


andy5759 said...

My mum baked bread, cakes, made biscuits, and sweets too. Now that I am looking after her I don't have time to bake often, so I buy bread from a bakery. It costs a little less than twice the price of a packaged sliced loaf. Sometimes I buy fancy forrin bread with olives, sundried tomatoes or caramelized red onion. Lovely. They're the sort of loaves which I bake when I've got the time. One other thing, why do so many people assume that we have no cuisine in Britain? My mum demands good old English grub, there's no shortage of options for me to prepare a varied, tasty and wholesome diet for her. She's not sure about olives though.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX be it Bochum or Berlin, and the national bakery chains... XX

There ARE no "National bakery chains" in Germany. What is this stupid bastard been smoking?

"Backwerk" comes closest, but they are franchises, and one in Berlin will not have the same selection, or the same types of breads, as one in München or Dresden, etc.

Even when you find "the same type," it will NOT be "the same."

A Berliner Landsbrot baked in Hessen does NOT taste the same as one baked in Berlin.

Tim Almond said...

Well, that's because we're big sandwich and toast eaters. And Chorleywood process sliced bread is very good for both. Baguette sandwiches are kinda impractical.

But, I'd love to see a Guardian writer explaining why les Francais eat all this splendid food. How husbands don't take sandwiches to the office, but instead go home at lunchtime, where the wife has lunch prepared, as she isn't working full-time, and how that might be better. Yes, I'd love to see that article.

Anonymous said...

Chorleywood process sliced bread is to bread as margarine is to butter: it is labelled bread because if one judged on taste and texture one would otherwise believe it was slightly damp soluble cardboard, toasting at least adds some backbone and flavour.

Greeencoat said...

The usual Guardian package deal enabling you to sneer at ordinary people, free enterprise and simple tastes before dashing off to discuss the eternally-impending doom of 'global warming'.

JuliaM said...

"We bake our's cheaper than shop bought, and no additives."

Breadmakers are a boon!

"There is a special place in hell reserved for foodies."

One with no Himalayan pink salt...

"I don't really like white bread at all, I find it tasteless and chewy. "

It does make great toast though.

JuliaM said...

"One other thing, why do so many people assume that we have no cuisine in Britain?"

Because the progressives live to denigrate our culture in order to exalt all others.

"There ARE no "National bakery chains" in Germany. What is this stupid bastard been smoking?"

I never expect facts in a CiF article...

"Baguette sandwiches are kinda impractical."

Mini-baguettes are perfect!