Stop hating on our floury friend, yo. Here are the seven reasons you should be loving bread
A little question that’s been bugging me for a while: how did we end up in a world where a 'burger' is wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun? Or that a 'naked' burrito exists? Or that someone invented a recipe for carb-free 'bread' that’s actually just eggs and cream cheese (and called it an 'oopsie' roll to insult us further)?
This is not a world I want live in. I want no part of this regime. So why have we decided bread is from Satan’s lunchbox?
As the GBBO peeps got stuck into their kneading last night on the show, I’m glad that Paul, Mary and co are being unabashed about their love for bread. Bread needs some serious public displays of affection. Saying you’re fond of a loaf shouldn’t be akin to logging on to a specialist forum and revealing a fetish that's darker than the crevices of Paul Hollywood's larder – which is sometimes how it feels.
It’s something that cook Gizzi Erskine recently hit on with her new cookery book – this idea that we need to declare ourselves gluten intolerant because it’s the en vogue thing to utter after your Instagrammed #traindirtyeatclean gym session. She said: “Very, very few people are actually gluten intolerant. I’ve worked with people with real dairy or gluten intolerance and it’s horrific! For God’s sake, if you can eat wheat, eat wheat! Because it’s horrendous when you really can’t eat it.” Yep – she’s right.
In the spirit of my new mantra – no wheat, no eat – here’s exactly what’s so great about the white stuff.
Bread mops up a hangover
It literally does, you know. When’s the last time you fell on the wrong side of “Just a quick one, then” and woke up desperate to gnaw on a cucumber? Answer: never. NEVER. You can fight against this all you like, but you know nothing is going to sate you like the pillowy puff of a deep-pan pizza or the comforting hug of some sliced white bread wrapped around some fried bacon. Bread is your friend. Bread will make it all better.
Bread is a conduit to greatness
Ham? Goes great on bread. Banana? Goes great on bread. Avocado? Goes great on bread. Marmite… you get the idea. There is nothing short of toxic waste that won’t taste better given a bready boost to it. And if it was toasted, I’d probably give that a go, too. Oooh! Which brings me on to the next point.
It turns into toast
Stop for a minute and think about toast. In particular, a huge, honking slice of sourdough that's a little chargrilled on the outside, with butter oozing through those plump little holes of dough, slathered with some of Bonne Maman’s finest. There have been works of art and scientific studies dedicated to toast, so everyone’s essentially in agreement: toast is the best. Toast is the essence of bread.
Bread makes sandwiches
Likewise sandwiches. Sandwiches are double the essence of bread. If the Earl of Sandwich was around right now (spoiler: he’s dead), I would kiss his bald little head for having the monster brain wave of sticking left over Sunday roast meat between two slices of bread. What an utter don. It’s a sin he’s not on the back of a £20 note or something.
Bread smells good
Ever lived by a bakery? No, of course you haven't – because you would never be able to leave the house and get the bus to work if you had the sweet, sweet smell of baking bread wafting over you forever. Like gazing into Medusa’s eyes and turning into stone, if you inhale that bready scent emitting from a tempting bakery, that’s you, done for. Frozen for all eternity. Or until you crack and buy a loaf or 10.
Bread is a global language
Well, not technically. I’m pretty sure the word for ‘bread’ in Turkmenistan isn’t ‘bread’. But wherever you choose to roam in this great wide world, know this: there’s a meal of bread that you can always enjoy for just a few pennies. From baguettes and croissant to soda farls, naan or ciabattas, bread will never leave you sobbing on a cold beach as you've spent all your last euros on an overpriced ice-cream. It's affordable. And will actually stop you feeling hungry (for a while).
That moment in a restaurant when a bread basket appears next to you: What is this feeling? Is it the purest form of unparalleled joy, as unlimited posh baked goods, still warm from the oven and with some fancy French butter to slather all over it, is yours for the taking? You bet your kilo-bag of self-raising flour, it is. Ignore the rest of the menu – this is all you really need for dinner. And the rest of your life.