With all the excitment around Victory Gardens, including the Obamas putting in a vegetable garden at the White House for the first time since the 1930s, why not inject “Victory Ovens” into the public forum?
The pitch should be simple: “American consumers have been eating fake bread for over 30 years. Its time to take back the ovens.”
Since the early 1970s, bread-like food products, which had been required to be labeled “imitation” prior to a change in legislation, have been competing directly with Real Bread in the nearly $17 billion bread product market. Here is an example of what Sara Lee is offering consumers, according to Michael Pollan in his latest book “In Defense of Food” (pages 150-154).
Here’s the complete ingredients list for Sara Lee’s Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread (Wait a minute – isn’t “Whole Grain White Bread” a contradiction in terms? Evidently not any more.)
Enriched bleached flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, whole grains [whole wheat flour, brown rice flour (rice flour, rice bran)], high fructose corn syrup [hello!], whey, wheat gluten, yeast, cellulose. Contains 2% or less of each of the following: honey, calcium sulfate, vegetable oil (soybean and/or cottonseed oils), salt, butter (cream, salt), dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, ascorbic acid, enzymes, axodicarbonamide), guar gum, calcium propionate (preservatives), distilled vinegar, yeast nutrients (monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), corn starch, natural flavor, beta carotene (color), vitamin D3, soy lecithin, soy flour.
Check out Cooking Up A Story blog for its primer on decoding bread labels.
Then there is the “Victory Oven” (home-baked) version, in this case King Arthur Flour’s Classic Sandwich Bread. This white bread recipe doesn’t try to confuse people with “whole grain” claims, but does offer substituting 100% white whole wheat flour for “added whole-grain goodness.” The basic ingredients include:
Unbleached flour (or whole wheat flour); milk; water; butter, margarine or vegetable oil; sugar; salt; yeast
Seems like a pretty straightforward decision. And for those people that don’t have the time or inclination to spend time in the kitchen baking bread (the smell alone is incentive in our home), there are likely many small bakers in your community baking real bread every day.
I choose REAL BREAD!
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