Picture it: your sophomore year of high school, you just got out of track practice, you’re starving. What is there to eat? Something with protein? Fruit, maybe? Possibly a glass of water with it? Sure, any of those I guess, but that is most certainly not what you’re gravitating towards. Instead, you’re about to embark on a 2000-calorie binge of Pepperidge Farm Hearty White sandwich bread. Most of the loaf is eaten toasted, but while waiting for that cathartic “pop” you can’t help but scarf down a slice or two raw. God, it’s just so good. Your mom comes home: “I have to go to Kroger again?” At this point you’ve already cracked into the extra loaf kept in the basement freezer. Not even the tang of freezer burn can stop you. Call it a toast bender. A bread bender. A breander.
Chances are, you too have been on a breander, but depending on how long you’ve been here in the Purple Valley, your last breander could have been many moons ago. I know you miss it. Think about it. Feel it. Taste it. Remember what it’s like to open the bag of sandwich bread with no regard for the location of the little plastic bread bag clip thing because you know you’re about to demolish the entire loaf. No shame. It can be you again. Finally.
Beloved by the mooing students of Williamstown, dining hall Whitman’s has upped their game once again by now offering sandwich bread by the slice. Just regular ass bread. No toaster. No butter. No jam. Just vibes. It has awoken a primal urge within me. One reminiscent of a spring Thursday afternoon in 2017. Once again, there’s only one thing on my mind. Eat bread.
I was under control for the first week of Whitman’s bread, simply taking a slice at lunch, enjoying it as an afternoon snack, and moving on with my day. However, it was only a matter of time before it became an itch I couldn’t scratch. It accelerated from just taking one slice, to putting two in my backpack, but then two wasn’t enough, and I found myself trying to be nonchalant about just palming a handful and quickly shoving them in my backpack. No matter how much I consumed, I always wanted more. Needed more. I began to love the way there’s always a little bit of bread stuck to the roof of your mouth after eating it, and I strategically keep it there so I could always be eating bread in secret, with my mask on. Still wasn’t enough. I started saving swipes to go to Whitman’s right before it closed to fill my backpack to the brim with all the day’s leftover bread. No food waste, I said. It’s the right thing to do, I said surrounded by Whitman’s wax paper and crumbs at 2:30 in the morning.
Now, my brain is stuck in a loop of desire. Peasant Bread. Honey Oatmeal. Bakeshop Baguette. French Bread. Whole Wheat. Seeded Italian. Country White. Sourdough. Twelve Grain. Hearty Oat. It’s all I can think about. I have deadlines that I can’t make because this reawakening of the breander has taken over my life.
My friends are beginning to notice: “You really like the Whitman’s bread huh?” Yes. I do. And it’s healthy. There is Vitamin-B in there. My girlfriend notices too, “Babe, what’s wrong? You’ve barely touched your Three Sisters Stew!” Nothing is wrong. All is right. So much bread in my backpack I’m going to eat the minute you leave. They ask about the constant crumbs on my shirt, the excess of Whitman’s bakery bags in my trash can, and why I’m suddenly so bent on buying a common room toaster.
It is a problem, I recognize that. I can’t even go 30 minutes without being in arm’s reach of a Whitman’s slice, let alone eating it. But I don’t care if it’s a problem. This is my yeasty life, and I love it. I’ve heard my friends whispering of an intervention, and I’m fully prepared to reject such a movement. They don’t understand me, but I know one of my dear readers will. I know you want to feel the magic again. Give in. Grab a slice. I will support you. Succumb to the breander. It’s for your own good.