ATG Quirkies: Reliving the Wonder Years of Wonder Bread

by | May 27, 2021 | 0 comments


Reliving the Wonder Years of Wonder Bread is written by Allison Miller and it appears in JSTOR Daily.

via Wikimedia Commons

“As it celebrates its centennial, the sense of wonder that puts the “wonder” in Wonder Bread has not gone stale. First out of the oven in Indianapolis on May 21, 1921, the beloved white fluff encased in soft crusts has been festooned with balloons of blue, red, and yellow from the beginning. During the Great Depression, it was one of the first brands to start coming pre-sliced. And as journalist Shax Riegler discovered, it was even featured in the futuristic Food Zone of the 1939 World’s Fair (along with a jewel-studded-avocado diorama and a nifty rotating platform that milked fifty cows in a matter of minutes).

But as every jealous (jelly?) loaf of brown bread can tell you, the nutritional value of white bread pales in comparison. In response to widespread nutrition-deficiency diseases during the privations of World War II, the bleached flour in Wonder and other brands of white bread started coming fortified with lots of real good stuff. Vitamins! Minerals! Many other kid-friendly foods at the sugar party were also enriched, like Hawaiian Punch (which began as an ice cream syrup). But added nutrients in cheap foods worked, helping to wipe out diseases like beriberi and pellagra…”

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