Little bits of 2017: Part II Rachel Laudan on the rise and fall of white bread

Changes in food fads and fashions are endlessly fascinating. Often, they’re related to status, as technological advances make formerly elite foods available to the masses. And then, of course, the elites have to find new foods to set themselves apart, sometimes adopting with glee foods hoi polloi were only too glad to abandon. That certainly seems to be the case for bread. Where once the whitest, lightest loaves were the preserve of nobility, nowadays the nobles flock to wholewheat, artisanal loaves.

Rachel’s Laudan’s book Cuisine and Empire examines many of the links between food and status. In this extract from our chat earlier this year, we talked about white bread’s reversal of fortune.



  1. The original episode: Food and status.
  2. Linked from there too, Rachel Laudan’s post Why did our ancestors prefer white bread to wholegrains?

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