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The Americans Can’t Do Bread

Actually I’d rather help to abolish prejudices and not perpetuate them, and I bridle at sweeping statements, but in this case I cannot but use the above verbiage. Well, it’s not that absolute as this fact, viz. that you can’t get any decent bread in America, is changing, too.

But in our supermarkets it is still difficult if not impossible to get bread that is firm to the bite. Even if it’s whole meal or multigrain bread it is still quite soft and you can, as I always jokingly maintain, play the accordion on it: squeeze it from the sides, and when you release the pressure, it comes back to its original size. The worst in that regard is “Texas Toast” – to my mind a kind of wishy-washy soft white cardboard – which nevertheless is a standard staple here with BBQ. But at least the ingredients in the “supermarket breads” are somewhat healthier than a few years ago.

Yesterday – and that made me finally blog about the subject of “bread”, which I had wanted to do for quite some time – we were in San Antonio at Whole Foods again, and I used that opportunity to buy some “better” bread, two rye breads actually. One was called “Prussian Rye” and reminds me of a normal “Graubrot” in Germany, the other was called “Black Forest Rye” and reminds me of a coarse “Vollkornbrot” [whole grain bread, “whole” in the sense that it contains whole unground grains]. Both varieties are not only quite delicious but also quite hearty to the bite – really something a “German palate” will relish.

Now a few pictures:

bread

Black Forest Rye

bread

Looks Really Yummy, Doesn’t It?

bread

Prussian Rye

We also got bread rolls at Whole Foods, but as we ate them immediately I don’t have any pictures. I’ll take some and blog about bread rolls some other time.

Well, here’s a bread that Mary likes, because it’s very light on calories:

bread

40-Calorie Bread

This bread is that low on calories mainly because it’s very fluffy and therefore light in weight per slice. It’s not exactly my favourite, though, becasue it’s not very substantial, even if it’s quite tasty.

Btw, I immediately used the opportunity to have two sandwiches [“Butterbrote“, which means just buttered bread with cold cuts] for my second breakfast or, so to speak, a light midday snack, one with mesquite smoked ham and one with roast beef.

That’s what it looked like on the plate:

bread

“Butterbrote”: Roast Beef on the Left and Mesquite Smoked Ham on the Right

Yummy, isn’t it?

bread

Cold Cuts & Margarine

Some remarks re cold cuts:

It’s interesting to find the note “water added” on the package. In Germany there recently have been reports that the big supermarket chains clandestinely add water to their fish to make it heavier and thus gauge the customers more as they pay by the weight. That’s also supposed to be the case with meat. Well, here in the US the customers at least are notified.

Unfortunately the sodium content is extremely high, as in nearly all processed food. One serving [2 oz] of that ham has 420 mg, which amounts to 18% of the daily recommended intake. With the roast beef it is 380 mg, or 16% respectively.

bread

My Favourite Margarine

As shown in the pictures, I prefer margarine over butter. No problem for me as I’ve been used to margarine and not butter for decades. And this margarine, which ios primarily based on vegetable oils and yoghurt, is not only healthy but also delicious.

Talking of “serving sizes” and nutritional values: there’s quite a bit of important information on the packaging, but the yardstick “serving size” varies according to the product so that it is difficult at least and well nigh impossible to easily compare the products as there is no common yardstick as in Germany, where everything is correlated to 100 grams. I really don’t know why there’s no such things as a common denominator here in the US. But no wonder in a country where there’s still no metric system but where still ounces and fluid ounces are used, and where a pound doesn’t have 500 grams but only 453. That, the imperial vs. the metric system, is something I need to blog about some time, too.

Talking of “our” supermarkets: What does “our” mean, I’m just wondering? What do I mean by that pronoun which just “flowed into my pen” [as we’d say in Germany]? Or do I nowadays, when I’m pouncing on a computer keyboard, have to say “flowed into my RAM”? Anyway: do I mean by “our” the supermarkets Mary and I customarily frequent, or have I already been Americanized that much that I’m thinking of all American supermarkets? Well, that’s something as to the subject of “language and thought” and the Sapir/Whorf hypothesis, isn’t it?

Um diesen Eintrag in Deutsch zu lesen, hier klicken.

24 responses to “The Americans Can’t Do Bread

  1. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my
    comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.

    Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  2. Oh, too bad, we don’t have Whole Foods up here. Would LOVE some of that bread! I often eat the Schwarzbrot (from World Market for example) or Broetchen, Ciabatta, Baguette (from Sprouts or even Sams Club now!!), but have not found a good place for regular bread.

    • Das ist wirklich schade, dass es bei Euch Whole Foods nicht gibt. Wir haben es in San Antonio in – für texanische Verhältnisse – erreichbarer Nähe. Und dann gibt es noch ein oder zwei richtig gute Bäckereien in SA. Gelegentlich sind wir auch in Austin. Da hat Whole Foofs eine noch wesentlich bessere Auswahl an leckerehn Broten.

  3. I so miss Texas Toast. I did recently find Texas Toast at the Walmart Neighborhood Market, which was a pleasant surprise, especially since it was exceptionally good.

  4. ich liebe beide wurstsorten. hast du auch schon mal die sorte “cracked black pepper turkey slices” probiert? die schmecken auch total gut.

    guten hunger wuenscht dir
    Sammy

    • Hi Sammy,
      Pfeffer ist nicht gerade mein Lieblingsgewürz. Daher habe ich “cracked black pepper” auch noch nicht probiert.
      Liebe Grüße aus dem südlichen Texas,
      Pit

  5. Whole Foods does have decent bread, as does Central Market. Unfortunately, the high level of pretentiousness at either place forces me to limit my visits to finely crafted hit and run missions designed to get me in the door and out as quickly as possible. I long for an actual bakery ran by folks who don’t insult my intelligence by assigning the task of saving the planet to my purchase.
    But thanks Pit, for making me crave bread!😉

    • Hi Alex,
      Thanks for taking your time to visit my blog and write a comment. 🙂
      So I made you crave for bread?! Good! 😉
      As I said in my blog, Whole Foods has good breads. But there’s also the “Daily Bread” [I think it’s called that] on Broadway. We used to buy our bread there quite frequently and will certainly go there again as they had a good selection of hearty and tasty breads. Btw, there’s an upscale H.E.B at Lincoln Heights [?] which has a better selection of breads than usual.
      Have a great Sunday,
      Pit
      P.S.: Need to check Central Market. Where is that, btw?

      • Good morning Pit!

        Central Market is on Broadway in Alamo Heights. And I will definitely check out Daily Bread.

        My Sunday was awesome, I was in the Fredericksburg area! Hope your weekend was nice🙂

        • Hi Alex,
          Thanks for the advice. We’ll certainly check that out.
          Our weekend was nice, and as I read in your blog, you had that great Hill Country trip. We’ll be there Wednesday and Thursday, on another house quest.
          Take care, and have a good one,
          Pit

  6. Is there a Central Market where you are? They have some hearty bread. I know because My Big Guy With Treats shops there and shares his bread with me sometimes. It’s good and chewy.

    • Hi Rhythm,
      Thanks for taking your time to visit my blog and for leaving a comment. 🙂 As to a Central Market: I’ve just asked Alex (from San Antonio) as she mentioned one. Thanks for your advice.
      Take care, and have a great Sunday,
      Pit

  7. The bakery at a larger grocery store, even if it’s not Whole Foods, sometimes have better bread – though I’m not sure what chains you have down there. It’s funny that you mention the serving sizes, as I was thinking about this recently – they’re different from package to package in the U.S., but at least I can easily estimate a serving size on my own with that system. “2 slices” or “25 pieces” means more to me than “100 grams”🙂

    • Hi Sam,
      Thanks for talking your time to stop by and leave a comment. Well, not our Super Walmart down here doesn’t have good bread. But in San Antonio maybe. And there are some bakeries other than Whole Foods, too.
      Best regards from southern Texas,
      Pit

  8. Guten Hunger, würde das auch mal kosten.
    LG. Wolfgang
    (Heute wieder Schnee )

  9. You have to find wholefood stores in the U.S. to get good bread. A good place is California – San Francisco had amazing varieties of bread!! Do you have Trader Joe’s in Texas? They are a chain but should offer better bread! As for the cold cuts, I adore them too, but worry about the huge amounts of salt. (Coming from the “old school” in the UK, I learnt the imperial system and much prefer it! Never got used to it when they switched to metric. We have metric here in Jamaica too but all the market vendors etc still use pounds and ounces!)

    • Hi Emma,
      Thanks for taking your time to stop by to visit my blog and leave a comment. Whole Foods does indeed have wonderful bread – the Austin store even better than the store in San Antonio. I don’t know about Trader Joe’s. I need to check.
      I agree on you re the sodium contents of the cold cuts – and all other processed food at that. It’s just horrible.
      As to imperial and metric: I prefer the metric, but would hate to see the “pint” go in the UK. That would really be the end of Great Britain, wouldn’t it?! 😉
      Best regards from southern Texas,
      Pit

  10. That was the biggest complaint from my Hungarian business partner… After eating out with him for many years and him finding good restaurants (most being German) who served good bread I’m inclined to agree…

    • Hi there,
      Thanks for taking your time to stop by to visit my blog and leave a comment. Well, the bread-situation here in the US seems to be improving. So there’s hope.
      Best regards from southern Texas,
      Pit

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