The Wonder (Bread) of it all
August 29, 2007 § Leave a comment
An article in today’s Union Tribune reported that an icon from my childhood, Wonder Bread, will no longer be available in Southern California. The article brought back fond food memories from my childhood [insert flashback music here]. Wonder Bread was what I was raised on (nope, couldn’t get me to eat that wheat thing with “stuff” in it). Boy, you know you’re getting old when you start reminiscing about childhood icons. Although it’s been well over (cough cough) 30 years since I last had a slice, I can still remember the soft texture, taste , and the wonderful aroma of fresh bread when you first open the bag. But what I loved best about Wonder Bread was that it was good with everything or nothing at all. Actually, I think I tried it once with corn puffs and that wasn’t so good.
There were 2 preparations that stand out the most. The first one was just Wonder Bread by itself, toasted just enough where the outside is light golden and the inside still soft but warm. No butter, no jam, nothing. Just eat it like that. I’m wondering now if this was the start of my love for baked bread? I mean, let’s think about it, crusty (or artisan, if you will) bread where the crust is flaky and the inside is soft and delicious.
The second preparation, and my favorite, is with rousong, or shredded dried pork. It’s also known as pork sung/song. Rousong is usually something I would have with rice porridge for breakfast on the weekend (can eat that all the time). I would also have it on rice but preferred it with porridge. But the rousong sandwich was something I came up as an after school snack I could make for myself.
There were 2 ways to have a rousong Wonder Bread sandwich, toasted and not toasted. If toasted, the bread should only be toasted to just as it’s starting to turn light golden (as described above). This was good for smashing the sandwich down to keep the rousong in it. How much rousong depends on your taste. I liked to pile on as much as I could until it was spilling over the sides. You have to smash it down to try to keep all the rousong from spilling out. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow without Wonder Bread, there’s just no way not to spill some out the sides and on yourself while eating the sandwich.
The second method was untoasted bread. I think I ate this version the most. You can really smash the pieces of bread together and since Wonder Bread was so soft, it would almost form a seal around the edges. Ah…the simpler things in life.
If this sounds odd to you, let me assure you that I’m not the only one who has enjoyed this odd food. You can see an example of a rousong sandwich on Chow Times, as well as other dishes I’ve mentioned.
Just for old time sake and probably my last rousong sandwich ever, I popped over to 99 Ranch Market to get some rousong (and some water dumplings ingredients). Now I need to snag a bag of Wonder Bread (white, of course) before they disappear from the shelves.