By William Rubel
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Additional info for Bread: A Global History
In eighteenth-century France this became a problem for the ancien régime because it was sometimes difficult for the government to supply Paris with sufficient wheat to feed the population’s increasing appetite for white bread given the loss of grain volume inherent in the production of white flour. More recently, the increasing affluence of Russia, the former Soviet Union and its former client states is matched with a decline in the consumption of rye breads, demonstrating that rising affluence and the rejection of rye is a dynamic still working today.
Horse-bread fills the belly; there are references in eighteenth-century English comic theatre to eating horse-bread when going through bad times. 2 lb) a day for a few days to get a sense of what it actually felt like for this bread to be your staple food. In one of the first modern English-language cookbooks, The English Housewife (1615), Gervase Markham provides a rare glimpse of bread recipes for an English estate and an almost unique example of a recipe for a bread intended for low-status farm workers, in his language the hind servants.
The story of bread as food is a much less interesting story than the story of bread as a social marker. The nutritional analysis of bread is fundamentally reductionist; it flattens differences between loaves. An example: in the Anglo-American bread culture of today a soft plastic-wrapped industrially produced white bread that one takes off a grocery shelf and puts into one’s shopping basket is culturally distinct from a white crusty artisan-produced loaf that is pulled off a shelf by a clerk in a bakery, put into a paper bag and then handed to you over a counter.
Bread: A Global History by William Rubel