I’ve been a professional chef for over thirty years and being a chef means that you have the opportunities to cook and eat some amazing food! I will eat anything (except prawns, crab and lobster, which I suddenly became allergic to, six years ago, after a lifetime of eating them without any problem). I still cook them by smell and memory, but I miss eating crab claws – terribly!
We have two kids and they certainly don’t eat everything that I’d like them to. They’re very typical to most children, when it comes to food and they can be cautious to trying new things. I know that will change when they’re a little older, and that’s ok!
I started my first job at aged 13, in a local bakery and restaurant here in Donegal Town, working after school and summer holidays and I worked there for five years. It was this experience that helped form the basis for my wanting to become a chef.
There’s been a lot of debate recently about which type of bread, if any, is best for you and I now just want throw my two cents worth of opinion into this pot!
I believe that (like any other food) it’s not really about what you eat, its more about how much of it you eat! Bread is a good source of carbohydrate for growth, as well as vitamins and is generally low in fat and sugar.
When it comes to bread and sandwiches in our house, we eat wholemeal brown, white or treacle soda bread, Indian meal (maize) bread, pancakes, sourdough and sliced white bread. We bake our own bread, mostly white soda bread or wholemeal brown bread, regularly.
Most of the time our kids will go for wholemeal soda bread or sliced pan white bread. They will eat the sliced pan either plain, as a sandwich, toasted, or dipped in egg and fried as french toast. They spread it with butter, honey, marmalade, chocolate spread, peanut butter or strawberry jam – and sometimes a combination of several of these!
And although I personally prefer the taste and the texture of a sourdough bread, there is nothing wrong with a white sliced pan although it does get some pretty bad press. Most of the negative argument against it is because the sliced pan is made in mass production units, from refined flour with the addition of enzymes, stabilisers and preservatives which extend its shelf life. The flour is normally re-fortified with B vitamins (thiamine and niacin) and minerals (iron and calcium), which are necessary for growing children.
Unfortified flours like T55, that are preferred for making slow fermented breads, also have enzymes (alpha and beta amylases) added, to help the natural lactobacilli bacteria break the starches in the flour down into more easily fermentable sugars for the yeasts to feed on, which creates carbon dioxide, which gives the bread it’s rise. It’s actually these increased levels of reducing sugars that lead to the formation in the baking process of products similar to maillard reactions (a bit like like caramelisation or the searing of a steak) which intensify the bread’s flavour and crust colour, making sourdough for example, taste so good.
The quality of white sliced bread certainly does vary but at the end of the day, a white sliced pan isn’t trying to pretend that its anything other than what it is – a simple, cheap, sliced white bread.
My point is that there’s room for all kinds of bread. Not everyone wants to (or can) bake, not everyone has time to bake, not everyone has access to a local small bakery and not everyone likes sourdough, but people are free to make their own choices.
Put simply, it is actually okay to eat ordinary sliced bread!
And that’s simply my opinion.