Andrea here. The end-of-year holidays are upon us. And wherever and however family and friends gather, that usually means food. Lots of it! Sumptuous sweets abound (did someone say chocolate?) along with all manner of savory dishes and appetizers to tickle the tastebuds. But whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, one constant that always seems to be on the table, complementing both simple repasts and fancy feasts, is bread, the classic staff of life.
Now, as I happened to see an article this week saying that the classic French baguette had just been given UNESCO World Heritage status, and given that history and bread is a truly scrumptuous combination, I thought it might be fun to take a quick peek at the history of the baguette.
The bread has a simple but sublime elegance. It’s made of four ingredients—flour, water salt and yeast. Stick-shaped loaves were around in the early 18th century, but the baguette as we know it began to take shape around the time of the French Revolution. Bread, or rather the lack of a decent loaf, helped spark the uprising, and after the Republicans seized power, one of the new government’s decrees said, “There will no longer be a bread of wheat for the rich and a bread of bran for the poor. All bakers will be held, under the penalty of imprisonment, to make only one type of bread: The Bread of Equality.”