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Score one for wheat

It's like the Washington Generals winning the title:

In July, one of the longest losing streaks in the history of culinary combat finally came to end. According to the Nielsen Company, 52-week dollar sales of packaged wheat bread topped those of white bread for the first time in U.S. supermarkets.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 16, 2010; 10:29 AM ET
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In dollar sales. Big bags of white mush bread are pretty cheap.

Posted by: bdballard | August 16, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Good point bdallard, but it's still good news. Growing up we started out buying white bread, but then slowly moved to "wheat" bread and then to whole wheat. We followed the same pattern with milk, going from 2% to 1% to non-fat. I honsetly don't see the appeal of white bread anymore.

Posted by: MosBen | August 16, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse


This is totally OT, but I wanted to ask if you ever read The Plum Line:

I've been commenting a lot over there recently, and I'm having some difficulty convincing most of them that I'm not a rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth rightwing troll. I'd like to know what I'm doing wrong.

Other than the occasional typo where I said that all of Islam was a member of Al Qaeda. I meant to say "definitely NOT" but, well, that was my fault. But I think the context should have indicated what I meant. ;)

But other than typographically sticking my foot in my mouth, if you had any ideas . . . I would like to start an actual dialog, but I'm clearly doing it wrong. And, frankly, issues just recently, I actually agree with the liberals more than I generally have here--I oppose the gz Muslim center opposition, agreed 100% with the Obama speech, etc. Still, because I say I vote against Democrats (which they keep changing to voting for Republicans), I'm a crazy, unserious troll. Maybe they have a point; I dunno. At this point, I'd trust your analysis on that more than I would my own.

Come by and visit sometime. I think you'd have some good things to say on some of the issues, too.

That being said, whitebread with butter has always been and remains totally awesome.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Correction: Anything with butter is awesome, and don't make that mistake again.

As for the Plumline, ugh!! You're trying to debate 'people' who probably think Hillary Clinton is too right wing for their liking. My advice is this: resist the urge to comment.

Posted by: novalifter | August 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

bdballard's point is a good one. Still, the article says that white bread sales declined 7%, and that's a pretty steep decline.

But it also helps to bear in mind that an awful lot of our white bread intake is now being served up every day by fast food outlets and cheap restaurants, in the form of humburger buns, submarine sandwiches, pizza crusts, etc.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 16, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, I've never been there, but I'll check it out. Before I've even seen it though, I think it's a good opportunity to point out that one of the things I, and I think many of us regulars, like about Ezra's site is that he does a much better than average job of attracting and fostering a space where actual debate can happen. He doesn't respond to every criticism, but he does take critical comments from time to time and argue out his position with them. And I also think it's just his approach to politics and policy that attracts people who are interested in talking about things a bit more subtantively.

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I visited DailyKos. Kos is an important member of the blogosphere and he probably has had a net positive effect in mobilizing Dem voters and influencing the way liberal issues are talked about, but that place is just no fun to be.

So, it's possible that this Plumline place is just full of crazies that don't really want to talk about substance and there's nothing you can do about it. I'll report back when I know more.

On bread, I have to say, mentioning bread and butter got my mouth watering, but it's been so long since I had it on white bread that I'm not sure if I even remember what it's like. This leads me to believe that butter is the primary awesome aspect of that combo.

That actually reminded me of something Michael Pollan talks about: changing your relationship with food. It's not that I am making the decision to eat wheat bread anymore, it's that I don't even want white bread so it's not a hard decision to make. I only wish I could do that with, say, cake.

Posted by: MosBen | August 16, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Also, for wheat:

Whole wheat Eggo Waffles taste way better than the original.

Posted by: eggnogfool | August 16, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

This discussion suffers from terminological confusion. White bread is "wheat" bread, being made from flour milled from wheat.

Posted by: thehersch | August 16, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Very unlikely -- just scan your average supermarket bread section. It has lots of "wheat" and "multigrain" breads, but they are mostly white bread (the giveaway is the use of "wheat flour" instead of "whole wheat flour" int he ingredients list) dressed up with molasses and sprinklings of oats and other grains that can be called "whole".

Bottom line, what does the statitsics gathering group (Nielsen?) define as "wheat bread"? The linked article ledes with a mention of "whole wheat" bread, but the later statistics refer only to "wheat" bread.

What this statistic likely shows is that people want to eat healthier, but are unwilling to spend the couple weeks it takes to get used to true whole wheat bread. Like the sugary whole milk yogurts and hi-cal "lite: TV dinners, the various faux "wheat" breads cater to consumers' desires to fool themselves.

And p.s., is that stat counting all the white bread that gets sold in the fresh baked goods sections, you know, the "batards" and all the other stuff marketed as high tone because of their European shapes and names?

Reg Gilbert

Posted by: reggilbert | August 16, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I checked out, and commented in, the post about the New York Post headline re "mosque" at Ground Zero. There were a few people that seemed so crazed that they were impossible to to talk to (Ethan), but by and large they seemed fairly open to discussion, just really really strident. It's not the most conducive environment to back and forth discussion between right and left, but it's not a raving insane asylum that I've seen in other forums on both the left and the right.

I do sympathize with the more reasonable of the people over there who nonetheless insist on calling Republicans "retarded" or somesuch. While I don't think it helps anyone to resort to that sort of name calling I think we're at a particularly low point in terms of responsible opposition from the Republican party. Many of the positions or arguments made by elected officials or tea partiers are at best inchoherent, with far too many being simply not factually based.

This "mosque" issue is a perfect example. It's not that they oppose the community center that bothers me, though I might be bothered a little if that were the only issue; it's that the opposition is so inchoherent and cravenly political.

Posted by: MosBen | August 16, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@novalifter: "As for the Plumline, ugh!! You're trying to debate 'people' who probably think Hillary Clinton is too right wing for their liking. My advice is this: resist the urge to comment."

Now, come on. "People" in quotes? Be sweet.

That being said, I've had cogent and civil conversations with 9/11 truthers. If a 9/11 truther can have a pleasant conversation and open a dialog, so can someone to the left of Hillary Clinton.

And, so can I. There is a temptation to be extra snarky and say some things just to tick people off in that kind of environment, and I'm trying to train myself not to do that. It's not easy! ;)

But thanks, I've been commenting there for several weeks. A lot of them say they think I'm a troll, but it's interesting--they don't spend a lot of time calling out actual trolls. So, I think maybe it's projection. Or wishful thinking.

And, yes, anything with butter is awesome. But whitebread is still awesome. Not anything against wheatbread, either.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

@MosBen: " I think we're at a particularly low point in terms of responsible opposition from the Republican party. "

Fair enough. See, I just needed a loyal opposition voice to put it in perspective. The response I tended to get is "You're delusional! And a bigot!" When a, "Well, just look how the Republicans are conducting themselves" actual makes me say. "Well, yes, now that you put it *that* way."

I really think both sides tend to alienate a lot of people. I understand why political compromise is difficult, but in discussion forums, there is no legislation being voted on. It would see a safe place to honestly ponder and try on opposition ideas, because we're making no commitment to agree or change our minds. I understand why politicians might not do that, but us folks just talkin'? I get it, but I don't, I guess is the best way to put it.

Really, thanks for coming by. I worried after I said that that it sounded like I was asking you to come defend me, which--while always lovely--wasn't it. I was just looking for a little perspective.

"This 'mosque' issue is a perfect example. It's not that they oppose the community center that bothers me, though I might be bothered a little if that were the only issue; it's that the opposition is so inchoherent and cravenly political."

Agreed. I'm really disappointed on my side, which seems to be a straight forward first amendment and states rights issue. Making exceptions to the constitution because of how people who don't live in NYC feel about a community center . . . just smacks too much of Animal Farm. And I'm used to feeling that way about what I consider to be liberal hypocrisies. It is, I confess, a little disturbing to see it on my side.

Anyway, thanks again. Hope to see you around there in the future.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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