Is Sliced Bread Really That Impressive?

“It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread” is an axiom I’ve heard many times. Not until recently did I stop to consider if sliced bread is actually all that impressive.

I specifically thought about this when I signed up for a local baker’s “bread of the week” subscription service. The Crooked Door Bakery posted this idea on Instagram in January, and I decided to give it a try for February.

Every week, I drive to a local restaurant that Crooked Door partnered with, and I pick up a big, fresh loaf of bread along with a baked sweet treat. I’ve done this for three weeks now, and the results are delicious every time.

Like most bakeries, the bread isn’t sliced…and I consider that a really good thing. When I’m ready to slice the bread, every slice is fresh.

That brings us back to sliced bread. Yes, it’s nice that I can use a knife to slice bread. But I definitely don’t want pre-sliced bread. Also, even if no one had ever invented sliced bread, I could still pretty easily tear off chunks of bread and eat it that way.

I would propose that there are many more impressive inventions, including the wheel and duct tape. Which invention would you use in placed of sliced bread for the axiom…or do you agree with it as is?

9 thoughts on “Is Sliced Bread Really That Impressive?”

  1. I think this hangs with the speed of bread consumption. How long do you do with one loaf?

    I live in a country where bread consumption is really high (Belgium, but it’s the same for France and some other countries). Bread is baked into our culture, and it’s an integral part of our day. We eat bread for breakfast, bread for lunch, and at dinner time we sometimes eat bread as a side dish. Every town or village has several traditional bakeries, and you can get 20 sorts of bread in every one of them.

    For our family of four, on a normal weekday we eat 1 to 2 large loafs of bread. As a result, the bread is always fresh, even when it is sliced. On Sunday, we like to bake our own bread and we do enjoy slicing of big chunks with a bread knife. But on weekdays, having sliced bread is indispensable. We eat 2-3 slices each for breakfast, and then 3-4 more slices are prepared and go into the lunchbox. So, that’s 25 slices of bread to spread, in the morning rush. I can’t think of the time we would have to spend to slice those all, even if we do have an electric bread slicer.

    So, in short: for occasional bread consumption, sliced bread is a superfluous luxury. For us, it’s a life saver. 🙂

  2. Great post Jamey!

    My vote is for the axion to be changed to ‘The best thing since paper’. Paper being in the broad sense, which includes cardboard… which therefore has helped in the creation of board games 🙂

  3. I always understood that axiom to be a semi-ironic phrase. Usually, it’s used for something that is only moderately impressive. So to say it’s the best thing since sliced bread is to take one fairly trivial accomplishment and compare it to another. “Sam thinks his custom Wingspan insert is the best thing since sliced bread.”

    Other Moderately trivial accomplishments you could use instead of sliced bread:
    Frozen Pizza
    Drive-thru coffee
    Hands-Free Faucets
    Robot Vaccuums

  4. Haha – I have thought about this before too Jamey. Sliced bread doesn’t seem to be that impressive on the surface, but it is handy when you go to grab a quick slice of toast in the morning or a sandwich after work in the evening. The slice sizes are uniform too which I think makes for better sandwiches.
    Another similar question that I have often wondered is why everyone doesn’t switch their retail businesses to selling hot cakes. Apparently they sell like hot cakes so it seems to me that they would be on to a winner there!
    As regards amazing inventions, I think I will throw washing machines in there. I can’t even imagine how much time the human race has been saved by not having to wash their clothes manually with a washboard every week! Just think about how much more time we now have to slice our own bread! 🙂


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