Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, January 21, 2013

Let Them Eat . . . Bread


My daughter and son-in-law were sitting at the breakfast table.
Over delicious French toast, they were discussing their grocery list.
The subject of bread came up.
And the best places to get the least-expensive.
“Oh, we never buy our bread at the regular grocery,” my daughter said. “That’s far too expensive!”
“Yes,” my son-in-law agreed. “We always get ours in packages of three loaves for $6.00. It’s much, much cheaper.”
I stared at him.
Okay. I admit it.
It has been some time since I actually ‘purchased’ bread.
We’re a homemade kind of family.
So it was quite a shock to hear someone describe a two-dollar loaf of bread as inexpensive.
Yes. I’m deplorably, woefully behind the times.
Perhaps because I spend so much of my day in the past.
Moving on . . .
As the discussion went on, I suddenly remembered the first time I saw my Mom purchase bread.
(She was a homemade kind of person, too.)
We were in the Red and White grocery store in Milk River.
Mom had a cart and was getting important things done.
I was perusing the candy aisle.
Also important.
Mom passed me on her way to the dairy case.
“Diane, could you please run over to the bakery aisle and see what the price of bread is?”
I tore my eyes away from the tempting display of chocolate bars and made some quick mental calculations.
Hmm. Was there time to run to the bakery and get back before Mom again walked past the candy on her way to the checkout?
 I should mention, here, that the Red and White, though one of Milk River’s two modern grocery stores, could hardly be described as ‘large’.
There were, maybe, six aisles.
With the bakery being two aisles away.
I could do it if I scurried.
“Okay!” 
I scurried.
There was a large sign tacked up at the end of the row.
‘Bread – 8 Loaves for a Dollar’.
I sprinted back, just in time to see Mom grab a couple of cartons of milk.
“It says eight for a dollar!” I hollered.
Mom looked at me. “Okay,” she said. “Grab eight, then.”
Sigh.
I made the twelve-foot dash once more and, with a bit of finesse, managed to grab the ends of eight plastic bags.
Then I manoeuvered them into Mom’s cart.
Whew.
Mom started toward the front of the store.
It was now or never.
“Mom? Can I have a chocolate bar?”
Chocolate bars were ten cents.
Surely she could spend ten cents on a chocolate bar if she could spend a dollar on . . .
“Sorry, dear, we can’t afford it today.”
Stupid bread.

15 comments:

  1. I haven't made bread in years and now I'm getting the urge....rats.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I remember the first time my mom bought bread too. She had gone to work because my dad broke his back when a tree fell on him. She didn't have time to make our bread anymore, but it was still expensive to buy it so she would only buy the day old bread that was on sale and freeze it. I've hated bread that's been frozen ever since. :) Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my goodness! And what a memory!!! :-) thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  3. Love reading your memories Diane. I realized I am totally clueless on what the price of bread was at the store when I was growing up.
    * * *
    My late in life husband bought me a bread machine to bake bread. I loved it and used it several times weekly as my schedule would permit. I was working at the time, so I didn't mind the outlay of money for ingredients/supplies to make/bake the bread. I don't recall that it was exactly any type of 'money saving' deal, but the bread just tasted sooooo gooood. Too good as in fact, we both ate way too much compared to what we would have eaten of the 'store bought' bread.
    * * *
    Oh, we are now blessed here in Wisconsin with the extremely cold air right now. I still have that bread machine and your post here gives me that tingling feeling of how good some of that bread would be, warm and slathered with lil butter that would melt right away on it. AHHHHHHHHH.
    * * *
    Thanks for sharing another lovely posting. Blessings to you and yours. I'm your friend @grammakaye on twitter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmmm. And now your so wonderful description has given me a hankering! Where's my bread machine!

      Delete
  4. I remember those little grocery stores, you knew all the cashiers and the store manager... today your rarely get to know anyone, everything is sooo big.:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. It was wonderful! Going through the check out and having the clerk carry on a conversation with you and/or your parents because she knows the whole family. Sigh.

      Delete
  5. When I was old enough to notice the price of things, bread here in South Australia was one shilling per loaf. It was unsliced and unwrapped and the storekeeper would wrap it in a sheet of tissue paper to be carried home. A few years later the bread came wrapped in waxed paper and it was two shillings for a sliced loaf and one shilling and sixpence for the unsliced one. We always got the unsliced one.
    I've tried to make my own bread, but I'm just hopeless at it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I would love that! Fresh bread wrapped in tissue! It's odd. The only two things I can make are bread. And pie. Everything else, watch out!!! :-)

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. And I can usually make trouble, too . . .

      Delete
    4. Which talent you passed on to your children and grandchildren...

      Delete
  6. I can't recall the price of bread beyond last week, which is probably a good thing because I sense that it's getting more and more expensive based on that memory alone ... but you took me back to the little family-owned grocery where my parents did their weekly grocery shopping - three aisles, the meat man with the missing two fingers (!) and his roll of butcher paper to one side, and string, to tie up the package, hanging from above ... we knew where everything was in that store, and the owner & sons were so nice ... thank you for that trip back in time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny, that is my goal and purpose - to encourage people to remember sweet times from their own childhood. Thank you! You've made my day!!!

      Delete

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