Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Food Memoir: My Wonder Years without Wonder Bread (Cookbook)

As a kid, I never ate white bread. We always had bread on the table but it was rye bread, Italian bread, or challah (egg bread). The only time these lips tasted white bread was if I had the rare pleasure of eating at someone else’s house or ate a hot dog or hamburger bun which is essentially a white bread bun in disguise.

When we lived on the south side, there was a Wonder Bread factory within a mile or so, and depending on which direction the wind blew, wonderful wafts of yeasty bread permeated my nostrils. I always pointed to it longingly in the grocery store but my mother shook her head no so that playful white wrapper with the colorful dots always eluded me.

By the time that I could eat what I wanted, I lost my taste for white bread.

So while the majority of the country talks about their Wonder Bread years, I wonder what all the fuss is about. Apparently, Wonder Bread is still as popular as ever or so the Web site wants you to believe. What with the push for eating more whole grains, one has to wonder. Yet Wonder Bread has expanded to include the white bread taste with whole grain nutrition. Has anyone tried that? I may have to check that out one of these days. For now, I’m a marble rye bread fan (half rye and half pumpernickel swirled together).

Wonder Bread recently released a new cookbook to celebrate its 85th anniversary. They wanted to go beyond the sandwich and ask Wonder Bread fans to share inventive ways to use Wonder Bread. Some of the recipes are a breakfast treat called a bird’s nest, bread pudding with lemon sauce, grilled PB&J, crepes suzette, blintzes, crullers, pigs in a wonder blanket and much more.

Hmmm, sounds fascinating. Do you have any Wonder Bread memories to share?

  1. In the 60’s, I grew up with Butternut Bread — the same spongy white processed bread as Wonder bread. At the time, that is what all modern mothers served their kids. People just weren’t in to fiber, whole grains, and glycemic indexes back then.

    Everything was about convenience, even then. Wonder Bread lasted a long time without getting stale (less trips to the grocery), made perfect sandwiches, and picky kids would eat it.

    As a young Girl Scout on campouts, we would put canned pie filling or pizza sauce and cheese sandwiched between two slices of buttered Wonder Bread in a cast-iron mold with handles and cook it in the coals of a fire. What fun!

    My brothers, for some reason, liked to take off the crusts and roll the soft white centers into a ball. Why????

  2. Cathy,
    I remember doing grilled cheese sandwiches like that at Girl Scout camp.

    As for boys, who understands them? We could say they have a penchant for balls or like to keep busy. They bring new meaning to play with your food, I guess.

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