Wondering About Wonder Bread

image by Diane Witman via Word It

Yes, Wonder Bread is still around.

It’s an iconic brand; a slice of genuine Americana. It exists somewhere between comfort food and ironic pop artifact in our collective nostalgia.

Bleached and puffy, spongy and glutenous, Wonder Bread has long been celebrated for its texture and elasticity. A lunch box favorite, generations of mothers have appreciated the resilience of the smooth, glassine-like surface of each slice, never tearing as peanut butter or mayonnaise is applied. Schoolchildren have always enjoyed squishing and imaginatively molding the bread, reducing each dough-conditioned, texturized slice to to just a few marble-sized bits, a full loaf to a baseball-sized wad.

We aren’t a white bread nation anymore.

Our choices have increased exponentially since the early days of Wonder Bread. Supermarkets routinely carry baguettes, ciabatta, bagels, tortillas, and pita. In-store bakeries overwhelm shoppers with yeasty, fresh-baked fragrances that tempt us away from the pre-packaged breads. We are choosing whole grains not just for health but because our tastes have changed. We like crusts.

It is tough to argue Wonder Bread’s gastronomic virtues beyond vestigial nostalgia.

Do you know anyone who buys Wonder Bread?

Sales are down, plants are closing, and delivery routes have been abandoned. In this, Wonder Bread’s 90th anniversary year, the company struggles to emerge from its recent bankruptcy. It’s relying on growth from a new line of natural and whole grain bread products rather than the flagship Wonder Bread brand.

But don’t count Wonder Bread out just yet. After all, it survived the Great Depression and the Atkins Diet.

The greatest thing since Wonder Bread.

Did you know…

Wonder Bread was the country’s first commercially produced pre-sliced bread?

The bag’s twistie tie tells you what day of the week  the loaf was baked?

BLUE: Monday
GREEN: Tuesday
ORANGE: Wednesday
RED: Thursday
WHITE: Friday
YELLOW: Saturday

An iPhone app? Yup, it’s the Wonder-izer Sandwich Builder, and it’s going to rock your PB&J.

If you haven’t yet had your fill, check out What’s New With Toast?

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3 Responses to Wondering About Wonder Bread

  1. Janice says:

    There are some places that lost bakeries and delivery routes after the bankruptcy. The west coast was especially affected- Southern California has not a loaf.

  2. I have to admit, I loved Wonder Bread when I was a kid. PB&J on Wonder Bread was an American classic. We have friends from India who recently became citizens and as a congrats joke gift we put together a basket of Americana food horrors – Bud, Twinkies, Velveeta, Mickey Mouse, Spam, etc. We really wanted to include Wonder Bread but couldn’t find it!

  3. When I commuted from Denver to Boulder for law school, every day on my way back I got a nose full of wonder bread scent passing in front of the factory! I have never bought one and (hope) I never ate it (keep in mind I’ve only been in the US 9 years). I wondered too who buys it.

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