The Quick 7: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Sliced bread is the best thing since... umm... wow, I really don't know how to finish that sentence. Because sliced bread was first sold in 1928, a vast majority of us probably have no idea what it's like to go to a store and not be able to buy pre-sliced bread. I mean, it sounds like such a silly thing, but if you're anything like me, you mangle the crap out of a lovely, freshly-baked loaf of bread when you try to slice it. And whereas a loaf is typically 12 or more slices, my hack job will garner you about six slices of asymmetrical bread weeping crumbs like it's Sally Field at the Oscars.

Um. I digress. Today we say Happy 81st Birthday to a simple yet life-changing invention by sharing a few facts about it.

slicer1. We have Iowan Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport to thank for the convenience of reaching into a bag and pulling out a single slice of bread. It took him 13 years to perfect the contraption, which sliced the bread and then wrapped it in waxed paper and held the slices together with pins. One of his machines was sold to the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri, which is where the first sliced loaf was sold on July 7, 1928. That's not him in the picture, by the way, it's just his slicer.

2. Not as many people seem to recognize Gustav Papendick, who invented the thing that keeps the sliced bread in form long enough to get it neatly into a bread wrapper. And I suppose "Best Thing Since The Tray that Used to Go in the Bottom of Bread Wrappers a Long Time Ago" is sort of a handful to say, and not really as catchy. Papendick improved upon Rohwedder's wrapping method, which left the slices in a sloppy pile. Papendick's design kept the slices neat and orderly by using a tray in the bottom of the bread wrapper.

3. "The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread" was actually an ad campaign by Wonder Bread from the 1930s. You have to admit that it's an impressive slogan that has wormed its way into vernacular not even remotely related to bread even three quarters of a century later.

CHILLICOTHE4. Or did those two invent sliced bread as we know it today? The Battle Creek, Michigan, Visitor and Convention Bureau claim that they sold the first loaf of sliced bread. C'mon, guys, you have cereal - let Missouri have bread. There are enough grains for everyone. Anyway, if you think Chillicothe, Missouri, is taking Battle Creek's claim lying down, you're wrong. "When pressed recently, Battle Creek's Historians were unable to produce proof," the town's website smirks.

5. Maybe some of you do remember buying a loaf of unsliced bread at the grocery store (without any other option): during WWII, a ban was placed on sliced bread in order to preserve plastic. What? Well, because pre-slicing the bread exposed the soft inside to the air, the Food Administrator decreed that the plastic wrapping of sliced bread must be thicker than the wrapping of unsliced bread in order to keep the slices from prematurely drying out. So to save on plastic, no pre-sliced bread was sold for about three months in 1943. The public raised such a stink about how much time they were wasting slicing bread, the ban was lifted almost as soon as it was put into effect.

6. When sliced bread was first sold, an ad ran in the Chillicothe newspaper explained how to use the newfangled product in four easy steps. First you had to open - not tear - the package, then remove the pins holding the slices together, then remove the slices of bread, and finally, fold the package back down just so in order to preserve freshness. Who knew it could be so complicated?

7. At least one other town can legitimately claim to be the home of "Sliced Bread" - Middletown, Connecticut. That's where NASCAR driver Joey "Sliced Bread" Logano is from. He got his nickname because, obviously, he's the greatest thing since. How else would you get a nickname like "Sliced Bread"?

So, what do you think is the greatest thing since sliced bread? Share in the comments!

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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