Things About the Midwest That Continue to Mystify This Midwest Native, an ongoing series:

Tuesday is my day between bouts of teaching and, consequently, the day dedicated to the most frivolous activities I can contemplate, viz. "going to the grocery store" and "reading, but not for class" (I also read for class, obviously). In my attempt at the former, I decided I wanted a loaf of actual bread, capable of being sliced (by me) so as to support the heavier-than-average filling I had in mind. Being of sound mind and trained in these matters by Zingerman's, I wanted a crusty bread as well. Accomplishing this task took a visit to two different grocery stores, which combined to have one loaf of bread that met this not-exacting standard (the terrible Kroger by our house in Durham has multiple options every day).

Stranger to me than this was the presence, nay, prevalence, of a type of bread I am certain I have never even heard of before: Vienna Bread.* Loaves and loaves of it, whose chief characteristics, so Wikipedia informs me,** are the complete absence of serious crust and overall sweetness; commence all relevant jokes about the Midwest and What's Wrong With America.

*Zingerman's doesn't sell it, so it can be safely dismissed as Not Real Bread.

**Wikipedia's description is priceless: "The Vienna process in part used high milling of Hungarian grain, cereal press-yeast for leavening, and care and thought in the production process." Care and thought(!) as opposed to all those careless, slapped-together breads. A better exhibition of the faults of Wikipedia I couldn't imagine.

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