Give Us This Day..

...our daily bread...

OK, confession time. I am a tired, beaten-down mother. Once I was a young, principled mother, and my oldest children only ever ate wholemeal bread. Sometimes home made. No matter how much they whined. At some point the whining wore me down, and now I buy white. sliced. plastic-wrapped. so-called. sandwich. loaf. I don't eat it myself, because I don't consider it real bread, but I feed it to the children. 

So, yes, Bad Mummy. Feel free to click over to a blog where the mummy isn't killing the children by inches with empty carbohydrates.

We need better bread. And we need bread without plastic bags, because those bags aren't going to be recycled, or end up anywhere but landfill. I'm not entirely sure how the children are going to deal with this. But I will try. We started a couple of nights ago. For six months Posy has been going to a dance class nearby, and for six months we have been planning to walk there and home together. Every week for SIX months there has been some extenuating circumstance which meant we have driven - inclement weather, pressing engagements before, after or during class. But this week, we walked. It was lovely and sunny going, dark and delightfully spooky coming home. We walked by the gourmet deli down the road, and bought their last half-loaf of locally baked wholemeal. It was wrapped up in tissue paper, and Posy surreptitiously gouged out handfuls to eat on the way home. Her first wholemeal bread experience for quite some time. She loved it. Perhaps because it was dark, we were walking, she was being 'naughty', we were giggling. She also ate a bit next day for breakfast before she went back to plastic slice.

Then yesterday my mum sent an email answering my question about food packaging when she was young. This bit made me so happy:

I remember when I was young we bought bread from the deli with just a piece of tissue paper around it, 2 opposite corners brought to the top and secured with sticky tape. This meant that when it was a half loaf you could ‘straighten’ the open end where the loaf had been broken (not cut) in half, eating it as you walked home.

I am loving that my mum and my daughter get the same wonderful childhood memories sixty years apart. 


Heather said…
How sweet.

I sometimes buy white bread, too. My husband and I prefer a whole grain bread, but my kids only like white. My mother forced me to eat only darker wheat bread when I was growing up and I hated it. I think that is why I give in.

I know your kids like to bake. Maybe they could learn how to make bread for the family. There was a period of time when I made all of our bread from scratch. It wasn't that hard once I got the hang of it. It also tastes a million times better than the stuff in the plastic bags, too.
Anonymous said…
Well, I'm torn, Jo. Torn. Do I celebrate your wonderful mother-daughter moment. Or do I shoot you from the healthy, green, virtuous mummy, pedestal that I have you on?

As I decide I will confide my own secret tales of white bread. Growing up my mother bought a range of interesting breads - rye, wholemeal, pumpernickel, multigrain. I would occasionally eat some of the rye or multigrain but existed on the white bread. Heaven to me at primary school was strawberry jam on whitebread. My mother would never give me this, so I would order it from the canteen. Only recently, ie when I started my blog, did I abandon my white bread consumption, preference, addiction - call it what you will. Now I don't like my lunch with white unless it is with smoked salmon or egg.

I still buy the bland white bread in plastic because I have one son who will eat nothing else. My other son takes after his father, and won't touch the bland stuff.

So, have hope. In 30 years your child may change. Until then just lie to us. I know you are grain-like in every other way!
We mostly do whole wheat bread, but it's that sort of fake-y not-really-whole-wheat whole wheat. Whole wheat for people who'd rather eat white. And sometimes, particularly in tomato sandwich season, we do white. And my younger son, Will, eats tons of Kraft mac & cheese. That's my confession.

On the other hand, my kids eat lots of homegrown lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers and zucchini.

On the other hand, they often eat storebought cookies. So there's the crap carbs plus the packaging.

On the other hand ... no, no more hands! We're doing the best we can. We'll try to do better. Don't beat yourself up too much. Celebrate the wonderful walk and the bakery bread and hope you can do that more often.

I will try to make more whole wheat--real whole wheat--bread this summer. And I will try not to eat it all myself five minutes after it comes out of the oven.

Jo said…
Oh, it makes me feel good to see these real mum confessions. I guess the only direction is up when I am starting at such a baseline!
Although my girls are great bakers, they are not keen on making bread dough. I quite like the process of mixing and kneading, but haven't got into a routine, so only manage it every few weeks. I do make all our pizza bases, with 3 cups white, 1 cup wholemeal, so the children have slightly wholemeal pizzas without knowing it!
The only downside of bakery bread is - the expense. My kids eat so much bread, and the bakery bread costs twice as much. On the other hand (it's catching Frances!) it's also more filling. And I'd rather support a local baker than a giant supermarket..
Anonymous said…
I've recently developed an allergy to wheat unless it has been soured first. I've been making bread for a while cos I love the taste of homemade but we've been on the sourdough bandwagon for quite a while now as I can eat it without problems and I get to damn the man by not buying yeast ;) I've been there done that with white bread and bought bread too, I just started my homemade journey with bread. I also own a Thermomix which makes bread making MUCH easier.
SarahN said…
I love that the local deli wrapped it 'old' (or French normal) style! That delighted me, and the spooky walk home! To be honest, I can't remember the last time, I, Sarah, bought a loaf of bread alone. I buy some sometimes with the BF to make croutons. And my parents still buy it - so if I'm with them at the time. A while ago I tried to be gluten free, and the only thing that's stuck is the no bread purchasing. Though I do sneak some toast when I drop in at the parents (and I think it's usually white, though the olive sourdough is amazing!)... so I just fail at GF
Jo said…
I'm sure you are super healthy and thin eating so little bread. I think we probably eat too much, but I find it difficult to do school lunches without bread, which is more of a failure of imagination than anything.. at least maybe we can do bread without plastic, and I will release my inner French housewife. I even have a string bag somewhere..
Jo said…
Jessie, I would love to start making sourdough bread.. it is on my to-do list (which is growing..).
Anonymous said…
I'm a bit of a bread fiend and I'll confess I still love white bread even as a (supposed) grownup. I eat wholemeal because it's good for me but would always pick white over wholemeal. However granary trumps everything for me, even white bread and it did so even when I was wee.

I remember my Mum threatening to stop sending me on errands to buy bread from the local baker because it came back nibbled and once almost half finished!

I know its not the same and probably a bit of a sin to confess but I was given a breadmaker by my motherinlaw. For a year I sneered at it and never used it but we now use it all the time. We set it overnight and wake up to fresh bread. Heavan

I honestly think that most kids don't eat wholemeal bread because it's actually quite manky unless it's really fresh and really high quality. By using a breadmaker I can make 1/2 and 1/2 white wholemeal which tastes scrummy. You can also get loads of lovely different flours all in paper packaging which goes to line my compost caddy and keeps my compost heap green/brown balance in check.

It's obviously not as good as buying fresh or making my own but I think it's more achievable on a daily basis. I can support local bakers as a special treat when I'm feeling lazy and flush.
Jo said…
Libi, I am enjoying your blog enormously, and think everyone ought to have a cat called Rasputin.
I do agree with your thoughts on wholemeal - it has to be good. I am trying to make more homemade bread - we had a breadmaker, but it died, and I am hesitant to replace it for both stuff and space reasons - but I'm glad to see you have a happy bread routine sorted. Such a good feeling, when cheap, sustainable and yummy all come together!
Anonymous said…
lol. Probably time to 'fess up. I have never made bread by hand. My husboybandfriend used to occasionally but I'm an impatient bugger. Now days we are just too lazy (sorry I mean busy ;0 )
I am in awe of all the bakers on this comment thread.

(thank you for your kind comments Rasputin is certainly one of a kind in many ways. I kinda hoped he would get an extra set of 9 lives from his namesake. working so far.)
Anonymous said…
I have a tell you children (sweetly and while smiling) that you have NO problem with them continuing to eat white processed are going to start knitting the bags into hats. These hats will be in school colours...the children will be expected to wear them to school sports days to keep the sun off their heads...then you offer them the alternative of bakery bread in a paper bag with more nutrition and a bag that can cheerfully be bet is on the paper bag ;)
Jo said…
I really want to make one of those hats now. You do have a very creative approach to discipline. I bet your daughters have lots of stories to tell...

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