A History Of Sliced Bread: The Best Thing Since Itself

By | July 6, 2020

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A loaf of sliced white bread. (Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)

We have probably all heard the phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread," but it doesn't ring terribly true today. Nearly all of our bread comes sliced now, so we don't think of it as particularly amazing or novel. In truth, however, sliced bread is a relatively new innovation in the long history of bread.

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Loaves of bread were sold unsliced. (cooktube.in)

One Of Our Oldest Foods

Archaeological evidence suggests that humans have been making some types of bread for more than 30,000 years. This makes bread one of the oldest prepared food items in the world, but back then, it didn't look like the neat, uniform sandwich bricks that we love today. Loaves of bread were made using a much wider variety of grains in a variety of shapes, and they were "broken" rather than sliced. Bits of the bread were ripped from the loaf, literally breaking it into pieces. Hence, a dinner guest was said to be "breaking bread" with you.