by Buck Reed
Bread: Will It Kill You?
I get it. There is a segment of the population that could be exposing themselves to a great deal of harm if they eat bread. Or more specifically, to Celiac disease, which is linked to an allergy to gluten. Bread is high in carbs and low in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and the gluten (a protein found in wheat products) in bread may cause health issues for some people.
Those who have Celiac disease must avoid gluten at all costs. Bread is often referred to as the “staff of life” because it is a very basic food that supports life, yet suddenly everyone is now of the mindset that eating bread carries a death sentence. Now, I am not a doctor, but I do have few ideas on the subject, and of course, I am not shy about sharing those thoughts.
First, most bread made in the United States is trash. Most of the ingredients are over-processed, and mass-produced bread has a lot of sugar in it. The sugar increases the shelf life, but most people outside the U.S. think our bread is more like cake.
Making good quality bread is more of an art than a science, and a baker can make a career out of perfecting the product. Everything from the quality of the ingredients to the water is taken into consideration. Even the number of slits cut into the top is well thought out.
In my opinion, if you have decided that eating bread is worth the risk, you should eat better bread wherever possible. Most grocery stores have a bakery that offers some pretty good bread.
For me, there is only so much you can do with a sandwich. I prefer my luncheon meats sliced thin and my burgers cooked medium with all the usual condiments. After that, the difference between a good sandwich and a great one is the bread. Is the bread fresh? Is it toasted properly? Does the crust possess a good chew? Eating better bread directly improves the way you eat.
Whether you are under a doctor’s order to not eat certain foods or you have decided on your own to not eat certain foods, it is my job as a chef to accommodate your choices. Like I said, I get it, but most don’t. Who ruined it? The person who wants pasta but wants to substitute linguine because they are allergic to penne! That person is crying for help.