Bread was invented millions of years ago by neanderthals or something. Somebody had the idea to crush wheat up and mix it with other stuff and accidentally burn it in a fire, a fire started by lightning and tyrannosaurus rexes, and then magically there was bread. And the bread was good.
In a game of What Were You Thinking, Gary and I once both answered “bread” to the question “what is the greatest invention of mankind?”
Bread feeds people and tastes good and is cheap and easy to make. The internal combustion engine is none of these things. Neither is penicillin, apparently, although I suspicion it is cheaper and easier to make than the pharmaceutical companies let on. It’s just mold! How hard can it be?
I can eat a whole loaf of french bread in one sitting.
I’ve also discovered that Annie’s, traditionally believed to be sold only at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, is in fact widely available here in Santa Cruz. My old man described me as a “crazy person” upon viewing my reaction after discovering this fact at our local fancy organic food store. Now we have eaten two tubs of it with french bread, and in fact I continue to do so at this very moment. I have had the last two mornings to myself, as Mr. Man is somewhat of a “lazybones” and generally will not rouse himself unless there is a train wreck right outside his window. I am drinking coffee and eating Annie’s and french bread.
French bread!! Could God in His infinite wisdom have ever created something so incredible? No, even on the 7th day, God merely rested. It took the French, those inexplicably skinny and healthy denizens of the land known as “France,” with their chain smoking and their funny little hats and their goddamn bicycles and their commie refusal to support George W. Bush. It took them Frenchies to invent the most sublime creation to ever walk the earth: french bread.
It’s vegan. It’s made out of like 3 things!! In this day and age, there’s not much you can say that about. Nobody needs to fancy it up with any bullshit or preservatives or wax or food coloring. Nobody needs to give it a stupid name to better market it, like “Gogurt” or “RIP AN AWESOME PRUNE.”
Nobody needs to make a commercial where an old grandma sitting in her floral-print easy chair unwraps a package of “Radical French Bread” and takes a bite and then her dentures fall out and her chair starts spinning around the room really fast while she goes “EEEEEEEE!!!!!!” and some rip-off of an already ripped-off Limp Bizkit song plays.
They don’t need to do that. Because French bread is already understood to be the single greatest thing on this earth. They don’t need to market it. Everybody knows. It would be like marketing air.
HOWEVER. During Stalin’s terrible reign in the Soviet Union, there was a rule that you could never say anything had been invented or discovered outside of the country. Penicillin and the internal combustion engine, for example, were suddenly taught to children as having been invented in Russia. My Russian Lit teacher in college said she didn’t know the Americans had fought in World War II until she emigrated to America at age 18 and thought everyone was playing a joke on her.
During that time, as Dmitri Shostakovich was once reported to have joked sotto voce to a friend: “Russia is the birthplace of elephants.”
For this reason, French bread was briefly dubbed “City Bread,” and that was all you were allowed to call it.
I guess that’s sort of like a marketing ploy.
But the people of the oppressed Soviet Union still ate their French bread! French bread by any other name certainly would smell as sweet. You could call it “dog turds,” and I would eat it by the truckload.
And now, now my friends, they are saying that bread is bad for you. That you shouldn’t eat it. That it’s high in some sort of sugar that’s bad for your immune system or something.
And you know what? They’re probably right. But here’s my point about diet and health: If you listen to your body and feed it what it wants, you’ll be okay. For example, your body does not want fruit rollups. Your brain might want it, but not your body. Your body wants broccoli. This I swear is true. And in my life I have given up or cut down on a lot of things for reasons ethical (animal products), political (non-fair-trade coffee, Nike, The Gap, Wal-Mart, my million-dollar Enron stocks), and healthful (processed soy products, soy milk, beer).
I’ve changed my life and my lifestyle. I never thought I could give up chicken nuggets, and then in 5th grade I did. I never thought I could give up cheese, and then after college I did. After that, I thought I was through. I thought I could never give up or cut down on processed soy products. But I did. I bought one pair of really hott Old Navy jeans, and then I swore off that forever, or mostly forever. Or until these jeans wear out.
I am sorry. Old Navy jeans are the only ones that make my butt look good.
See? I’m an American.
I was also being pretty ironic. You were supposed to see my statement “make my butt look good” next to a mental image of a three year old Indian girl being whipped with a leather cat-o-nine-tails and told to “sew faster! FASTER!”
A sidenote: My friends, are you continually amazed at the things human beings will do to each other for no real reason, or else just to make a buck? I am. I surely am. David Cross’ amazing bit about eating the sheet of pure shaved gold comes to mind.
To get back on track to my scathing and (I’m sure) highly anticipated point: I’ve given up a lot of things for a lot of reasons. And it wasn’t that big a deal. But in all my life, in all the things I’ve eaten, done and seen, all the things I will think about on my death bed and long for and shed a single glistening tear for the loss of, there are only two things for which I put my foot down. For which I say, here and now, “NO. IT STOPS HERE. THERE WILL BE NO SELF-DENIAL PAST THIS POINT. I WILL HEAR NO ARGUMENTS AND I WILL MAKE NO DELIBERATIONS.”
And those two things are:
They say man can not live on bread alone? I can live on bread alone.
Marie Antoinette’s advisers told her the people have no bread, and so she said ‘let them eat cake,’ and then the people revolted and cut off her head (hint hint, poor people of america)?? I would rather eat bread than cake. Also Marie Antoinette didn’t actually say that. Talk about marketing!
That was a really poor reference to make in the context of this little article extolling the virtues of bread. I only wanted to make that reference so I could subtly incite the poor people of America to revolt against their oppressors.
Remember the French Revolution? They totally cut off the heads of all the rich people. That is some deep, deeper, next level shit, you know? So much rage. And all the rich people had to do was be nicer and have just a LITTLE bit less money. But nooooooo. No, they had to live in their gold-plated mansions and rape the servant girls while outside in the streets babies were starving to death and dying of typhus. Well, you get what you pay for, that’s what I always say.
You get what you pay for.
To return to my point: BREAD. IT IS GOOD. IT IS WHAT I PAY FOR.
Conclusion: I will never fault a person for limiting their diet for a good reason. And I’m sure what they are saying about bread is true. So if you want to stop eating bread, I celebrate that. But for me, and I’m saying this sincerely–you can have my bread when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
Caveat: If a doctor told me I would die in 6 months if I didn’t stop eating bread, I would stop eating bread. Thus negating this entire entry.