Sliced Bread

After a cup of coffee and Morning Pages, I came up from my basement office, showered, shaved, dressed for work. Breakfast I keep pretty light. A piece of toast with butter. This morning, I grabbed the bread from the fridge and thought about sliced bread.

You know the old saying, right? The best thing since sliced bread. A bit of searching reminds me that machine-sliced bread came about in 1928. Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the machine. The saying came later.

I grew up with sliced bread. It didn't occurr to me to slice bread for a sandwich. Ridiculous, that. We had a weird, cheap bread knife, its serrated edge like a dull bow saw that tore the hell out of even the hard Italian bread we brought home for spaghetti dinners. Thank goodness for sliced bread.

This morning, I took the loaf from the fridge. The community center at which I work gets donations of bread, likely day-old. There's more than we can give away, so I grab a loaf each week. This morning I set the loaf on a cutting board and took hold of the good bread knife my wife gave me years ago. Its edge is fine and sharp enough to cut bread (and tomatoes) clean and thin as I like.

This morning I cut a thick slice — I was hungry — popped it in the toaster, wiped the knife clean and put it away, and uncovered the butter dish. Slicing bread was a moment's work. Using the knife was a joy like using any good tool. I waited for the toaster and thought about how slicing my own bread is just so much better than sliced bread.

Convenience is such a myth.