Okay, so I am joining the “Brief” team and certainly surpassing it, Surpassing it because I have no excuse for not having much to write about except that I had nothing to do on the long weekend and decided to take advantage of that. No emergency calls, o showings, nothing much going on except really nice weather that I dragged myself out in (hence the photo) and chores around the house that I did not do. Well, I did laundry, so I guess that counts. But really, someone needs to dust around here and since the magical dusting pixies seem to be on strike or snowed in that didn’t happen. I did also go grocery shopping at my favorite local store, the Beverly Hills Market. It’s a small grocery store that’s family owned and has a little bit of everything: there’s elder housing upstairs so it stocks very reasonable produce and staples and it also has things like pricey champers on the high-end. So if you want to have fresh sushi, Dom Perignon and ring-dings for that eclectic dinner party, this is the place. I had a hankering for some deviled ham on plastic white bread and they were right there to provide.
I posted some of this to FacePlace and a lively conversation ensued about bread. The brand I bought (Bimbo) I had never heard of, but it was perfect. Spongy white pap in little squares, perfect for little sandwiches. I would imaging that with the crusts cut off and lightly toasted it would be perfect for little tea sandwiches- thinly sliced cucumber or watercress or shaved ham with a bare swipe of mayo.
Some of the discussion was Breads We Grew Up With. Wonder bread seems to be the default for Americans of a certain age. As a matter of fact I have friends who grew up in Beverly Hills in the 50’s who still fondly remember when there was the Wonder Bread bakery just East of City Hall in the “industrial triangle” area I called home for decades.
My parents were 70’s sorts, and it was impossible to live in Northampton without having some of the earthy-crunchy vibe run off. While they didn’t join the local co-op or go full on Cyra McFadden, we did get healthier foods in the 70’s, the easiest which was bread. I don’t remember us ever having Wonder Bread, even then it had a reputation as being slightly naff. Along the same lines was a more local version called Sunbeam, which may have had more fiber, which is like saying 1% milk is more fat than skim- I am sure it was factually correct but at that point, did it matter? We would beg for Sunbeam (knowing Wonder Bread was out of the question) but mostly we had Pepperidge Farms.
If you grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, especially if you did so in New England, you will remember two TV commercials: Pepperidge Farm and Prince Spaghetti. The latter was famous for it’s series of “Tuesday (Duh! Wednesday! See the comments) is Prince Spaghetti Day” ads with a local Mom bellowing over the North End of Boston for Anthony to come to dinner, while the former had an older gent in various settings nattering on about some product or another, always finishing with “Pep’rige Faaahm remebaahhs” in his exaggerated down east accent.
We bought both.
The other weird local down east thing that was sold but I don’t remember us having, was canned brown bread. You read that right folks. A can of bread, From B&M, the baked beans people. It was a molasses-rich brown bread cooked in and sold in the can. Apparently it was one of those things that was all the rage in the 50’s and 60’s as an appetizer- you’d slice off a round, spread it with cream cheese and olive, cut it into quarters and voila, instant appetizer. I’ve never seen it since and am not sure I need to investigate, but if you have please chime in.
Okay, that’s enough of my off topic rambling. Do you have any local favorites you’d like to share? Childhood brands you no longer see and miss (or don’t?) Let us know in the comments and I will talk about something smelly next time.
Images: interwebs, my iPhone, YouTube.
Ah yes, Wonder bread. Fluffernutters and toasted cheese sandwiches made with Velveeta. My mom developed digestive problems in the early 70s and the doc recommended whole wheat bread. Back than, there was only Roman Meal cracked wheat, so she started baking whole wheat bread and it was our family bread from then on. It made fantastic toast. There was an Amishman who drove his buggy through the neighborhood on Saturdays, selling eggs and the highest, fluffiest loaves of white bread you’ve ever seen, that was a delicious treat. And my mom bought brown bread in a can to make appetizers for parties. Thanks for the memories!
Roman Meal- such memories. They had in the 70’s pre-made unbaked bread for sale. Already proofed. You would just pop it in a loaf pan and bake away and presto! Home-made fresh bread! I don’t think it really caught on commercially, but it did start a brief family vogue for baking bread.
I do remember that my Mom practically had to put the oven-fresh cooling bread in another county to keep us kids from eating it hot from the oven.
I bake sourdough, sometimes twice a week! Easiest bread in the world to make & scrummy. The only bread I can digest without having “digestive” problems
I know a lot of people took up bread baking during the pandemic. I wonder how many kept up with it? I honestly don’t think there’s a better smell- some real estate stagers would put a loaf in the oven just to have the kitchen smell irresistible during open houses.
What a great topic, Tom! Growing up our family ate loaves of soft wheat bread called Roman Meal. Nowadays, we eat a virtually identical product called Nature’s Own. We also ate, and still eat, Arnold’s Jewish Rye, and occasionally a loaf of pumpernickel. My mom, who grew up on the north shore of Boston, loved that canned brown bread, and she’d serve it with a meal of baked beans and hot dogs once in a while! It was very sweet and moist due to all that molasses. We shunned Wonder bread and it’s gummy, pasty nothingness. That was verboten in our house. I make my cucumber sandwiches with rye bread, cream cheese, dried dill, and cukes. So yummy!
Roman Meal! That was the one I could not remember! That was our default wheat bread for years. (practically the only one you could get) and I can see the rye we would get in my head but cannot remember the name for the life of me. Arnold? They had a commercials too: “Makes a nice sandwich”
When I was growing up, the B & M canned brown bread was a staple “treat” in our house. We could buy it at the Acme Market (Northeast chain grocer-still in business). I never had it with olives, as it was considered a sweet in our house. My mother would cut rounds of it and spread them liberally with Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. I just found some on Amazon ($9.99 for a can of nostalgia). It tastes exactly as I remember-kind of weird but a nice nibble with a cup of tea.
I also fondly remember Carnation Instant Breakfast. I was a fussy, sickly kid and big, “healthy” breakfasts, which were de rigueur when I was growing up, made me cry and gag. My grandmother discovered Instant Breakfast and I’d have a big glass of that before school. It tasted good (several flavors-vanilla, strawberry and chocolate), there were no morning tears or tantrums, and only 1 dish to wash. Win/win.
Oh, Carnation Instant Breakfast! Loved that! I hated eating a big breakfast and the package read “breakfast” right on it, so despite being dessert flavored I could have it. Now I want to order some.
I did see that the brown bread was $9.99 at Amazon. No thanks. Supposedly one of the local chains has it for about a 1/3rd of that so maybe I will check it out.
Bagels! I am from Montreal, and as a kid the choices were white and black, aka sesame seed or poppy seed. After I moved to the West Coast I considered any other flavour a travesty. Until I tried a pumpkin one, and I ate my words, and the new bagel.
We had the Bagel Deli open up in the 70’s (which my mothers friends pronounced “dell-EYE” and they had several kinds. They were an immediate hit. When I moved to NYC I switched to bialys.
Thanks for the memories — I remember those commercials. We ate Wonder Bread as kids and I remember being amused because in those grade school (?) science experiments about mold where you put bread in a jar, the Wonder was always the last to go green — I guess it doesn’t even feed mold spores very well. I’ve had Bimbo out of curiosity (how could I resist?) and thought it was all right but if I’m going on a bread binge (it does happen) I’ll want a crusty boule or a really good baguette, warm crusty bread with butter is a favorite treat. And I have had that brown bread in a can but I cannot for the life of me remember why or when! Probably something I bought out of sheer curiosity at some point … button up your overcoat for that weather.
I bought the bimbo out of curiosity not thinking that it was about a mile and a half of white pap plastic bread and I really only wanted a few slices. Oh well, I guess it will stay “fresh” a while..
In the mid-70s my mother got health food on the brain. Much less red meat, whole wheat bread, carob rather than chocolate. It was interesting and left an impression. The things I miss include Entemann’s chocolate chip cookies and chocolate covered donuts and Pepperidge Farm cookies. Oh, and chocolate dip ice cream cones from the vans in NYC and Dairy Queen. Sigh…
That is exactly what happened with my Mom. Suddenly everything had to be sprouted or whole grain. And no more dairy queen either. We had a place that would dip the soft serve into chocolate to give it a hard shell. Heaven.
We always see Bimbo when we’re in Spain or the Canaries. It’s very sweet for us Brits.
We didn’t have sliced bread growing up, but mum bought local bakery bread from the corner shop. Yep we had to slice it ourselves. When we went to Nan’s on Sunday afternoon she used to cut the top crust off a loaf from her local bakery, slather it with Lurpak butter & give half each to me & my brother. No sweets just crust & butter.
I do like a thick sliced Warburton’s loaf to make bacon butties. Lots of skinny rashers of streaky, done til crisp & the bread dipped in the bacon fat. Ahhhh…… nectar
Yes, the Bimbo is fairly sweet, but believe it or not you can get sweeter stuff here. There’s Kings Hawaiian which Guy Fieri shills for, which is sweeter than cake. Not my thing at all. But those bacon butties read right up my alley..
We used to have a Wonderbread bakery here in Hartford years ago and you could smell the bread baking as you drove past it on the highway with the windows down. Loved that smell!
And yep. Remember those commercials but coulda swore that Wednesday was Prince spaghetti day?
Brown bread in a can. Lol! We had it occasionally growing up but only on franks and beans night.
Ahh the memories. Thanks!
Of course you’re right- it’s even in the commercial I posted! In my defense I wrote this on a computer without speakers so I had no audio for the commercial. And I haven’t seen it in maybe 40 years. But will happily make both days spaghetti day!
Franks and beans- my mom made beans from scratch. So delish. But I still enjoy a can of baked beans. I may have to go find some brown bread as well, since we are in for a frigid 3-day storm that will drop temps down into the 30’s and could dust the Hollywood Hills with snow.
I miss Wil Wright’s ice cream sundaes with the baby almond on top. And the best chocolate chip cookies were made by VandeKamps!
I got to LA just too late for Wil Wrights but I have friends who still talk about it.
Bimbo is Mexican Wonder Bread – my Latin family ate Bimbo (because they lived in an Hispanic neighborhood) and my reg’lar Murrican side ate Wonder. No matter the name they both have a squickton of sugar and absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever.
Hostess moved its production to Mexico, when Interstate Brands sold it to Equity investors (I actually know all this without having to look it up because (insert my old friend Shrug)… I remember when Hostess Cupcakes came on cardboard, wrapped in cellophane – and cost 12cents for two. I loved them. Then they made Hostess Fingers, which were nothing more than Hostess Cupcakes shaped like Twinkies (though a tad smaller). I adored them.
M&M had Wafer Bars (the precursor to KitKat – they came in a weirdly ‘off’ gold and black box. I remember gorging on those things (like those photos of cats nearly comatose from eating cicadas)……
No bread, though. I ate too much chocolate to be interested in bread.
I never even heard of Bimbo until it showed up this weekend at the BH market. But it’s good. Since I have Jif I might need some marshmallow fluff..
You DO need marshmallow fluff! And possibly raspberry jam. That was my favorite after school snack.
I love raspberry jam! My mom used to make it. I buy Bonne Maman, which isn’t part of the Bimbo/JIF/fluffernutter junkfest ethos.
Right there with you re Hostess. Snowballs were my favorite.
I would’ve loved Snowballs, A, were it not for that pesky coconut!
I was more into Suzy Q’s which aren’t made anymore I believe..
Suzy Q’s!!! INORITE? I haven’t seen them in ages, alas.
Su.Zy.Q!!! how I did love you so! They were, for some weird reason, a less-sweet version of all the other chocolate/creme Hostess offerings… which makes no sense at all – but there ya have it.
Oohh I love those. Love coconut. There’s a semi-Costco store (with no membership fee) that has boxes of hostess sometimes. I’ve never seen sno balls. But I did buy a box of twinkies about a year ago and satisfied that craving until about 2132 I think..
Tom (I know you were around during the Spy Mag years, even though still in diapers, I’m sure) – do you remember Spy doing the Twinkie Test, where they dropped one from a 10-story (or so) window (It survived) and drowned one in a pail of water (ditto on the survival). Apparently Twinkies, along with cockroaches, will survive the nuclear apocalypse!
Snowballs were my favorite too! Every package had 1 white one and 1 pink one.
Oh you are so jogging my memory! The pink ones! Then the red dye scare and suddenly nothing could be pink.
One year for a Christmas party I made meringues and used paste coloring to make 1/2 of them pink and 1/2 of them lime green. They were surprisingly popular, I suppose since they had no gluten and were bite sized. I liked them because they were a snap to make tons of.
HA! Our breads obviously had different names Tom.
The only one I remember for being special was Bornhoffen, it was light rye or seeded and DELICIOUS! As teens we loved it so much a loaf could disappear in an evening. It was a bit expensive so we only got it occasionally.
I loved rye bread growing up and still do. It was pretty avant-garde in wonder bread world- we didn’t even have bagels until the 70’s
I remember Sunbeam. But we bought Merita. What a fun post! You made me think of Breads of My Childhood. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Tom.
Thanks! Food memories are some of the best ones we can have, I think.