Fresh Thoughts Blog

29 August 2007

A Happy Farewell to Wonder Bread

Posted by Chef Paul under: Information .


Gone are the days of Wonder Bread in California. A staple in my home from the time I was very young until I was a teen. I toured one of the bakeries off the 5 Fwy. in Santa Ana when I was in grade school. As a child I made my first signature dish the “Buchanan Bologna Broil” in the early 70’s. It was one piece of Wonder white bread with Heinz or Hunt’s Tomato Catsup smeared all over it, a piece of Farmer John Bologna (we called Baloney), some Kraft Parmesan Cheese sprinkled on top and the whole thing placed under the broiler until the cheese melted and the grease pooled out of the boloney as it curled into a cup shape under the heat. We poured the grease out but we ate it nice and warm… and we were happy.

The other day I heard the Wonder Bread plants were closing in Southern California. Thank God, I thought…The last thing kids need today is more high glycemic value starches. Any highly refined white flour food product is not a part of a healthy diet for today’s kids and I am happy to see it go the way of the Pet Rock and other useless items.

I am a little biased since I teach 4th graders the benefits of the Farmers Market and the perils of high fructose corn syrup and sodas that are worse for you than colored sugar water. Sure I did it, I ate it, my mother didn’t know better, we had convenience foods and ate many a frozen dinner, along with Tang and Space Food Sticks.

Only in the last 10 years have we come to realize the importance of reading food labels and realizing actually what we were putting our bodies for sustenance.  Farmers markets have become all the rage and eating local is important, damn important. Local food shed is a concept of eating foods produced within 200 miles of the place you live. Low impact, whole grain, in season foods of choice…those are damn good for you and the environment.

We can’t do it everyday, all the time, but we can all make the effort…it is our choice. I love to buy my melons, multi-colored carrots, and heirloom potatoes from Alex Weiser at my local farmers market. Phillip from Ha’s apple farm has the best Fuji apples from Tehachapi along with pear and other such fruits in season. Roland Tamai has some of the best corn, Romano Beans, and Tomatoes. These are real people, real releationships, I can talk to them, I get to know them, and my soul is better for using their produce instead of the mass marketed, cold storage, mediocare products that come from the general market place.

Wonder Bread had left the building, the city, and hopefully the state. They can take Hostess and Twinkies, and Coconut covered Pink puffs of Marshmello fluff with them because now we know our bodies and our kids need more substantial things for good health. Don’t get me wrong…we can have an occasional ice cream, convenience food, or candy bar…but let’s make it more infrequent than the days of my childhood.

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