As the food debate continues from coast to coast, in the U.S. and beyond, and parents are faced with the ever-present challenge of providing a balanced diet for our kids, carbs in general have come under intense scrutiny. I have even sat across from the nurse at the pediatrician’s office and answered the question “Are you a whole grain family?” with a solid ‘yes’, all the while supressing a smirk. Yet, the sandwich reigns king in the lunchboxes of American children, and so we are faced with the need for bread, bread, and more bread.
How many of us remember our moms dutifully cutting the crusts off of these lunch time staples? I have long since snubbed the habit for my own children, claiming they can either eat or leave behind the crust, always preferring to see them eat that whole-grain goodness. (Side note: does anyone know if the crust is in fact healthier or richer in grains than the rest of the loaf?) I prided myself on at least not giving in to this indulgence, preferring to consider myself above the catering moms who promote pickiness in kids, even thinking I was more like our European counterparts, whom I’ve always considered one food notch above Americans ourselves.
Then this week, our friends from France arrived. We are all excited to request our favorite French recipes from Séverine! As she was helping to make our picnic lunch the other day, and I was crossing my fingers that my kids would opt for ham and cheese versus PB&J, she asked if she should “cut the crusts off the bread?” “Of course not!” I proudly replied, “We don’t do that.” She explained that in France, they now sell in every grocery store sandwich bread without crust. Decrustified before use. Sans croûte. I was shocked! What happened to the crusty deliciousness of un sandwich au jambon on une baguette avec du beurre??
Rest assured: there is no risk of a baguette shortage in France anytime soon. But, les mamans et papas français seem to have caught on to this crust cutting culture and have adapted with pre-made crustless sandwich bread. Séverine did admit she thought it “came from America,” (especially since the brand is ‘Harry’s’ – a decidedly American sounding name) and I was at least able to hold to my defense of the crust and tell her it is not.
What do you think about crustless bread? Is it just another way of allowing kids to resist maturation of their taste buds, or is it really the “best thing since sliced bread?” Do you cut the crusts off the bread, and would you buy crustless sandwich loaves? Or perhaps you have already seen such a creature in our American stores?