Bread, 1948


"Sometime after WWII in 1947 or 1948, there were no grocery stores. No such thing as a Publix or Wal-Mart. The closest thing was an A&P, so everything was bought from a local dry goods store. The bread products were pretty slim pickings. Wonder bread and Roman Meal were the only choices. If you really wanted good bread, you bought homemade or made it yourself.

Dry goods included things like Post Toasties, clothes, coal oil, fuel for cars and engines, lunch meat, and canned goods. Bananas were laid out in big tin coffins from South America, full of shredded papers and sometimes, really big spiders. You could buy Evening in Paris cologne and Tangee lipstick which turned different colors on different people.

My mom, Grandma Lucille would put us in the car, a 40s Ford, and we’d drive out into a more rural area than where we lived and stop at a house that looked like it had no lights. Lots of people didn’t have electricity in the country in the 40s and even in the 50s.

My mother would go inside and buy homemade bread from this lady. The bread would still be warm; fresh from a wood burning stove and a wood fired oven. I’ve never had bread like it since. White bread. Shaped like a big loaf and twice the size of a loaf of bread today. Truly tremendous sized pieces of bread."

I think I'll bake some bread. Here's a recipe I found for Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread that sounds mouth-watering. And Dad's a big fan of toast so maybe a loaf of Whole Wheat Bread with Walnuts and Cranberries. A slice of that slathered with fresh creamy butter ought to satisfy any bread-lover's cravings.

Dad told me about the butter they used too. "We’d slather it with our own homemade butter. We had a dairy farm with twenty or thirty cows. My mom made butter and sold it. You milked each cow individually so you had a small herd in order to keep up with the milking. We didn't have automation and milked cows twice a day, morning and night. Then we put the milk big milk cans and sold it to the dairyman. The milk is then sold to the consumer or made into cream or butter. Did you know that milk is sold by the pound to dairies? How many pounds the cow produces, not the gallons. One gallon is about eight pounds."

I didn't know that. Did you?

Jenny DeWitt

Website design, strategy, and implementation for all.