30th April 1942. Brown or White?
Andrew Boorde physician to Henry VIII decried the consumption of bread in his ‘Dyetary of Helth’ (sic) of 1542): ‘Bread made of wheat maketh man fat, especially when the bread is made of new wheat. Evil bakers will put wheat and barley together…
Bread made of these aforesaid corns may fill the gut, but shall never do good to man, no more than bread made of beans and pease will do. Hot bread is unwholesome to any man, for it doth lie in the stomach like a sponge…. old or stale bread doth dry up the blood…and is evil and tardy of digestion; wherefore is no surfeit so evil as the surfeit of eating naughty bread’.
Bread was still an issue in wartime when Today in 1942 the Burton Observer, in the midst of rationing and control of the national diet said, ‘the compulsory changeover from white to wheatmeal bread recalls local memories for in 1906 or 1907, Sir Oswald Mosley sought to popularise old-fashioned meal farmhouse bread as a substitute for white’.
The constituents of the loaf have always been important as Edward I in a law reflecting the dislike of brown bread said, ‘no bread shall be coated with bran or made of bran’.
In the 20thc none was more associated with this than the 4th Baronet, Sir Oswald Mosley of Rolleston, near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, who said that wholemeal bread was eaten when he was a boy and in order to popularise the standard loaf he rebuilt a bakery in the village.
In his pamphlet ’Bread’, Sir Oswald expressed the belief that the fashion of eating white bread was causing physical degeneracy and pointed out that the stone flour mills of his boyhood left the valuable seed germ of the wheat to be baked and though the loaf was brownish, he believed it was the best the nation ate.
The subject apart from being taken up by the local and national papers, was mentioned in Parliament and the Standard Bread movement was developed. A local mill, Greensmith’s produced flour for the bread and championed it on their invoices: ‘as recommended by Sir Oswald Mosley’.
One of the newspapers who took up Mosley’s message was Northcliffe’s Daily Mail in 1911 who said he wanted an article on Bread everyday of that year. The problem was consumers preferred a white loaf to wholemeal which was associated with poverty.
One of the complaints against modern white bread is that about 80% consumed today is made by the 1961 Chorleywood Process, which by using more yeast and the enzyme Amylase, enables a cheaper wheat to be used, but makes a softer and longer lasting loaf.
(1) Oswald 4th Bart was father to the Blackshirt another Oswald.
MetroPressLtd(GB) The sale-room.com/Pic of advert.
Daily Mail is you bread making you ill? Alex Renton 28.7.2014/Pics.
burton-on-trent.org/ Local History.