Monday, May 15, 2017

Before Nutrition

 I remember my grandmother telling about her shame at school in Mangum, Oklahoma when she had to take “dirty bread” out of her lunch pail. Even back then my forward-thinking great-grandmother Lucy Wilson had already figured out the benefits of whole wheat bread.
And I like to think my mother approved of watermelon for breakfast because of its antioxidants and amino acids. (In reality, a grumpy kid in the blazing hot Virginia summer mornings could have been a factor.)
But John Gray’s recent post at Going Gently about his sheep and their love of white bread triggered a couple of memories from the 1950s food pyramid.
It’s been years since I’ve had one, but every now and then I’m tempted to pick up the ingredients for a baloney sandwich: spongy white bread, Miracle Whip, and the ultimate illicit pleasure, a big pack of baloney.
Granted, your peanut butter and jelly sandwich was usually bleeding grape jelly through one side by the time you opened your metal lunch box in the cafeteria, but the bread itself was great for wadding into grey balls and flicking at your neighbor.
And in spite of my mother’s offerings of a crunchy peeled white turnip or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins for a snack, just as common as an after-school treat at our house was white bread spread with margarine and a generous sprinkling of white sugar.


  1. Ouch! This was before nutrition. However, I remember eating some of this stuff. Especially the baloney.

  2. My brothers and I learned early that no-one would swap their lunch for our liverwurst sandwiches.
    I am grateful (usually) for the varied diet I grew up with, but liverwurst remains an ugly memory. And yes, white bread and sugar was a treat.

  3. I remember those white-bread sandwiches with the leaching grape jelly! We used to get those at summer camp. My mom would never buy Wonder bread, though. She said it was nasty.

  4. *snap* we sometimes had the bread and sugar too, but always with butter. Margarine was unheard of in our house. Sometimes the sugar was brown sugar and we would roll up the bread and call it cinnamon sticks.

  5. Oh, I remember wadding up white bread into missiles in the lunchroom. You brought back some memories I had completely forgotten. Yes, the days before we learned better. :-)

  6. My grandmother was so way ahead of her time nutritionally. I don't know where she got her information but 70 years ago, she was right up there with today as to what would make us healthy. I grew up on whole wheat bread and thought white bread was pasty which I guess why it made good flicking balls:)

  7. Oh Marty, I can not imagine eating a baloney sandwich with Miracle Whip! We fry the piece of baloney on both sides then put it on bread with plenty of mustard. Back then we used white bread but now it's whole wheat. About wadding up balls of white bread...Daddy used to take us fishing. He would stop at the store and buy a fresh loaf of bread to fish with. You could wad up a little ball and it would actually stay on the hook, and catch bream.


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