Today in History: Pre-sliced Bread Ban and Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

Sliced bread from the grocery in Montana is different and I don’t mean in a good way. It’s not as soft and fresh as I am accustomed to buying in the south. Perhaps it is because there aren’t any commercial bakeries in town or maybe it is a regional preference of westerners to prefer stale bread. I simply cannot answer that for sure.

At the end of this post I will give you my Commander’s Palace Bread Pudding Recipe with Whiskey Sauce. It is a delectable way to use up day old bread.

But first, let me share this bizarre “Today in Strangeness” fact with you. 

 

I love the quality of Wheat Montana and recommend the wholesome goodness of their wheat flour.

 

Pre-Sliced Bread Ban

It was January 18,1943, when the U.S. government put a ban on pre-sliced bread. It was devised as a conservation measure during World War II. Evidently, it had something to do with the rationing of waxed paper.

The ban was ordered by Claude R. Wickard who was the Food Administrator at the time. It was thought that the pre-sliced bread ban would counteract a 10 cent price increase in flour that the Office of Price Administration  had authorized. What? Would someone please explain that one?

According to the New York Times, officials explained  “the ready-sliced loaf must have a heavier wrapping than an un-sliced one, if it is not to dry out”. Putting sliced bread in plastic bags was unheard of at the time and bread was wrapped in waxed paper and then later in cellophane. I do not know what they intended to wrap the un-sliced bread in that was lighter than waxed paper. 

The pre-sliced bread ban did not bode well with everyone. One disgruntled housewife wrote a letter that was published January 26, 1943 in the New York Times. It read:

I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast – two pieces for each one-that’s ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece.  Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry.

Whew! Here is where I picture “Lucy” catching burnt toast.

The pre-sliced bread ban was lifted on March 8 (David’s birthday and also Mardi Gras Day 2011).  Wickard decided the savings wasn’t as much as expected.  Also, the War Production Board said there was enough waxed paper to wrap sliced bread for 4 months. Thank goodness!

Many thanks to my husband David for sharing this information with me which he got from his Coastzone newsletter. The facts are from Wikipedia and you can read more about it here.


Now for the mouth watering bread pudding recipe, I promised to include. I altered the Commander’s Palace recipe that I got from Commander’s Kitchen (cookbook can be purchased through Amazon –Commander’s Kitchen: Take Home the True Taste of New Orleans with More Than 150 Recipes from Commander’s Palace Restaurant) by excluding raisins (David and E don’t like them). Also, I do not make it as a souffle and therefore omit meringue.

 
                                                 

Commander’s Palace Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, Marlene Style

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 cups cubed stale bread
What you will need for the whiskey sauce:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (I use Rum flavoring, to taste, instead of the bourbon)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ square pan. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Beat in eggs until smooth, then work in the heavy cream.  Add the vanilla, then the bread cubes. Allow bread to soak up the custard. Bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes or until the pudding has a golden color and is firm to the touch. It’s done when a toothpick inserted into pudding comes out clean.

For the whiskey sauce: Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk corn starch and water together, and add to cream while whisking. Bring to a boil, whisk and let simmer for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the mixture on the bottom. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar and bourbon or rum flavoring. Taste to make sure the sauce is nice and thick, is sweet and has a good flavor. Serve warm over bread pudding.

Bon Apetit!

 

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