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What was the best thing before sliced bread?
A rational and analytical account to acknowledge the query.
(Without using the word 'and')
by Bruce Phillips, maestro of erudition.

Bread is an comestible sustenance consisting of the components, primary of course, flour, water, yeast. Bread (bred) according to Webster's New world Dictionary, a resource of definitions or acronyms that clearly represent the solution to inquiries of doubt states:

bread,noun, [ME. bred, O.E: bread, crumb, morsel, whence brew, burn, l. fervere, to boil]
  1. a food baked from a leavened, kneaded dough, made with flour or meal, water, yeast, etcetera.
  2. any baked food like bread but made with a batter (quick breads, cornbreads)
  3. food generally
  4. the means of living; livelihood [to earn ones bread]
  5. [slang] money
bread, vt.
  1. to cover with bread crumbs before cooking
  2. bread and butter one's means of subsistence livelihood
  3. break bread to partake of food; eat
  4. cast one's bread upon the waters, to be generous or do good deeds without expecting something in return
  5. know which sides ones bread is buttered on to know what is one's economic interest ; know where the good that one has come from.

Bread initially began with the Ancient Egyptians. There is no actual register for this period so the facts are equivocal. The rational matter to conduct constitutes looking at the time previous to the Ancient Egyptians to determine what the "best thing" would be. The first ancient Egyptians (once again, the first recorded) went as far back as 4500 years before the birth of Christ, i.e. 6498 years before 12 a.m EST, December 31-January 01, 1998. Before this time, probably the best thing available was llamas.

According to a reliable foundation that has been originating from the series of networks around the world:

The llama was domesticated by the Incas over 4,500 years ago. They were used primarily as beasts of burden und as a source of wool, meat, other products. The wild ancestor of the llama was probably the guanaco. Other wild ancestors of the camel family besides the llama who migrated to South America over 3 million years ago are the vicuna as well as the alpaca. The camel migrated from North America to Asia und Africa. The llama is still important to the people of South America living in the high Andes is not only used for transporting, but also as a source of meat, wool for clothing, leather for shoes. Very little of the llama goes unused by these people.

Llamas generally have a lifespan of 18-25 years. They weigh between 250-450 pounds. They have a very efficient 3-chambered stomach which allows them to exist on all types of forage which also allows them to exist in the higher altitudes where forage is often sparse. Female llamas almost always give birth to one offspring after a gestation period of 11.5 months. The offspring, called "cria" are almost always born during daylight hours, which in the wild was essential to ensure that the cria was up running before the predators would arrive in the evening.

The llama was obviously the preeminent derivation of transferral combined with a onus carrier as was procurable at that present time - obviously better than bread, sliced or otherwise.

This theory of llamas being the "best thing" or the foremost entity of the time is supported by a brief history of bread as also is donated freely by the network of privately or otherwise affiliated sources that started as a government project to incorporate a crude, primitive E-mail system that went national.

The Egyptians were the first to produce risen loaves by using yeast. Facts are vague as how this first came about. One hypothesis is that someone left their bread dough outside in the hot sunshine too long. Heat causes the yeast to grow in order to make light, air-filled bread, or leavened bread.

They ingeniously created the first ovens for baking bread. They had to take special precautions for they believed that they would continue farming even after death. The Egyptians were the first to invent calendars in order to better plan the planting as well as the harvesting of their crops.

The type of bread you ate depended on how rich you were - poorer people ate a rough type of loaf while the rich ate a better class of bread.

Moving ahead a number of years, the Romans did not take heed of Egyptian ways. Instead of using yeast these people mixed pot ash from their fires. they added sour milk into their dough to make it rise. Needless to say doctors were needed: so came the age of the "general practitioner" in my tome.

Around this time an astute person, John Doe, found a way to improve the flour by using handsized mill stones. But they still did not use ovens, preferring instead to use "griddles" which are a flat based piece of metal as wood would obviously not work over fires. The best is used in cast iron or another type of metal which would reflect heat.

When the Romans left our shores the roads bent; the water went cold as the standard of bread consumption, manufacturing degraded unpleasantly.

Without the Roman influence, proletarians reinstated to the archaic practice of milling grain. The coerce bread encompassing the pot ash, sour milk manual. Fortuitously Vikings eventuated, with the building of York, plundering towns, generally taking over, they showed the populace how they made bread.

However, yeast was still not used as information had not been passed from the 386,000 square mile land of Egypt. The Vikings, around the Viking Age, [800-1000 a.d] most probably from Norway, brought a substanance called Rye from Scandinavia. The corollary bread was solid then unleavened (without yeast). The bread was baked in matrixes which had a hole in the center which may have been the start of early donuts or bagels. The original idea or theory is that a hole was placed in the center for easy baking or placing in the prongs of a ships wheel. A hole was placed in the middle for storage means. Threaded on a tent pole.

William the Conqueror terra firmaed in the "Europe Age", for method of clarification, who forged the legendary Norman Castle around in the surrounding countryside. These castles, made of large, expensive stone, were equipped with large ovens were bread was baked on a grand scale for the whole of the community.

The processing of grain was ameliorated by constructing windmills as well as watermills close to where the grain was being grown The Normans also proposed the approximation of "Crop Rotation". Instead of using all the heaths at the same period harvests took turns in fields every 365 days. Dissimilar expanses were left "fallow" meaning "not used" so that the substratum could convalesce from the preceding year's cultivation.

The Normans were obstinated to civilize the English. As a reverberation the population augmentated, boroughs grew und breadmaking became a thriving business/trade.

The Industrial Revolution was the change in social class thereupon economic organization resulting from the replacement of hand tools by machines as well as power tools as well as the development of large- scale industrial production: applied to this development in England from about 1760 to later changed in other countries. It was a time of upheaval as the population grew, people moved from villages to large cities.

New machines were being invented which led to mills with steam power. Those stone mills invented by the Romans were replaced by Steel Roller Mills. As farming improved so did the grain. To meet the demands of the growing population the amount harvested augmented.

The methods for manufacturing bread transfigured as well. Silk sieves were introduced. Baking tins were invented making it easier to slice the bread (we are nearly at the stage of the Sliced White Loaf)

So at the time of the Industrial Revolution sliced bread was the first, manufactured sliced bread. The best thing before any bread would be animal. The llama. The best thing before sliced bread, as the question states would include a look before 1760, the time of the Industrial Revolution.

It is hard to decide what is considered the best thing by the largest number ratio of homo-sapiens. Indeed, it is nearly impossible as the vast number of populace on the planet. According to the highly sophisticated source at http://sunsite.unc.edu/lunarbin/worldpop the exact world population, as of January 4, 1998, 2:14:29 was exactly 5,863,650,069. One can only guess the most commonly used household object in that time period, 1700's to 1759, when sliced bread became popular. The simplest hypothesis would be, then, that the "best" or preeminent apparatus would be a knife, for cutting the bread to make ones own sliced bread.

We now contain a mechanized procedure of making bread, but the factual operation is the same as in the Roman era, as well as Norman times. It seems natural that the next stride be factories.

Recently, bread making has become computerized. The large scale production of bread is now normal. Roads as well as transport are much improved leading to faster delivery of our bread. Who can say for sure though? The conclusion is in the eye of the considerator.


Except for a few minor editorial changes the content of this essay has not been altered.

This page was last updated April 25, 1998.